Autism

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC), Asperger's syndrome, Asperger's, Asperger syndrome

What is autism?

Autism is a lifelong developmental condition – not an illness or disease. People who are autistic can communicate and interact differently with the world. 

Autism is a spectrum disorder, meaning it affects everyone differently.

What causes autism?

The exact cause of autism, or even whether it has a cause, is unknown. 

Because it can affect people in the same family and in some cases appears to be passed down from parent to child, it is thought to potentially be a genetic condition.

What are the symptoms of autism?

Autism affects everyone differently, but people with autism may:

  • Have difficulties with social communication and find it hard to interact with others. 
  • Struggle with social interactions, recognising or understanding how other people feel and expressing their own emotions. 
  • Experience restrictive behaviours. Autistic people may like to stick to a set routine and changes to this or unfamiliar situations can be distressing and cause anxiety.
  • Feel over-sensitivity or under-sensitivity to senses such as light, sound, taste or touch.
  • Have restricted and highly focused interests and hobbies.
  • Experience meltdowns and shutdowns when a situation becomes too overwhelming.

Autistic people often also have other conditions, such as ADHD and dyslexia. Many people with autism also experience severe anxiety.

Are you affected by autism?

If you’re affected by autism, The Brain Charity can support you.

We are the only charity in the UK to be here for every one of the more than 600 different neurological conditions in existence. Individually, many are rare, but combined, they affect 1 in 6 people.

We provide practical help on all aspects of living with autism, emotional support such as counselling, phone befriending and group therapy and social activities to people with autism and their family, friends and carers from all over the UK from our centre in Liverpool.

Looking to talk to someone?

Phone us

Contact The Brain Charity now

Our friendly Information & Advice Officers are here to help. We endeavour to respond to all enquiries within 10 working days.

0800 008 6417

Looking to talk to someone?

  • Please tell us which neurological condition you are affected by and what you need support with.

Caring for someone with autism

We support carers, friends and family too

Are you a carer for or relative of someone with autism? It’s just as important for you to look after your own physical and mental wellbeing too.

The Brain Charity provides free support for carers, friends and family of people with any form of neurological condition, including autism, from anywhere in the UK.

We also run an additional carers advocacy service for all carers in Liverpool, regardless of which type of condition the person they care for has.

You don’t need to be a formal or registered carer

We can help you even if you don’t view yourself as a formal carer or claim Carer’s Allowance. Find out some of the ways we support carers below.

Other resources

The Brain Charity's library

The Brain Charity’s library has a range of resources on autism and on many other related neurological conditions

Support groups

National Autistic Society Community

An online forum for those who are affected by autism and their families to connect with others and share experiences.

Website: community.autism.org.uk

Phone: 02078332299

Email: nas@nas.org.uk

Autism Together

A range of support group activities for those who are affected by autism that involve creative arts, the environment, health and wellbeing, performing arts and social enterprise.

Website: www.autismtogether.co.uk/cvs/

Phone: 01514823128

Email: enquiries@autismtogether.co.uk

Ambitious Youth Network

An online community for autistic young people aged 16-25 that provides an opportunity for them to connect.

Website: https://ambitious-youth-network.ambitiousaboutautism.org.uk/

Phone: 02088155444

Email: info@ambitiousaboutautism.org.uk

Merseyside Autistic Adults

Merseyside Autistic Adults is a support and social group that run regular meetings and trips out. The group is for autistic/Asperger’s adults over the age of 16. Officially diagnosed, on the waiting list to be diagnosed and self-diagnosed autistic people are all welcome.

Website: www.autism.org.uk/directory/m/merseyside-autistic-adults-wirral-liverpool

Facebook: www.facebook.com/merseysideautisticadults

Email: merseysideautisticadults@gmail.com

Support groups at The Brain Charity

Are you interested in setting up a meningitis support group, or do you already run one? Email info@thebraincharity.org.uk to let us know.

Alternatively, you can check out our list of related support groups here.

Other charities

National Autistic Society

Website: www.autism.org.uk

Phone: 02078332299

Email: nas@nas.org.uk

Autism Together

Website: www.autismtogether.co.uk

Phone: 01514823128

Email: enquiries@autismtogether.co.uk

Child Autism UK

Website: www.childautism.org.uk

Phone: 01344882248

Email: info@childautism.org.uk

Autism Initiatives

Autistica

Website: www.autistica.org.uk

Phone: 02038574340

Email: friends@autistica.org.uk

Autism Alliance members

More regional autism charities which are members of the Autism Alliance can be found at www.autism-alliance.org.uk/our-members