Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC), Asperger's syndrome, Asperger's, Asperger syndrome.

What is autism?

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

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

Asperger’s syndrome is now recognised as a form of autism, which includes a range of conditions that were previously considered separate diagnoses.

What causes autism?

The exact causes of autism are not yet fully understood, but it is believed to be a complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors.

Autism can affect people in the same family and in some cases appears to be passed down from parent to child.

Studies have identified several genes that may contribute to the disorder. However, it is important to note that autism is a complex and heterogeneous condition, and there is no single gene or group of genes that can account for all cases of autism.

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 autistic?

If you’re autistic, 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?

Woman smiling, making eye contact and holding the hand of another woman to comfort her

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.

0151 298 2999

Looking to talk to someone?

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

Caring for someone who is autistic

We support carers, friends and family too

Are you a carer for or relative of someone who is on the autism spectrum? 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 autistic people and their families to connect with others and share experiences.


Phone: 02078332299


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.


Phone: 01514823128


Ambitious Youth Network

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


Phone: 02088155444


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.




Support groups at The Brain Charity

Are you interested in setting up an autism support group, or do you already run one? Email to let us know.

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

Other charities

National Autistic Society


Phone: 02078332299


Autism Together


Phone: 01514823128


Child Autism UK


Phone: 01344882248


Autism Initiatives



Phone: 02038574340


Autism Alliance

More regional autism charities which are members of the Autism Alliance can be found at