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What is Autism

Research suggests that 1.1% of the population or 11 in 1000 people are autistic.

By including people such as family members, carers, friends, professionals in health, social care and education, and other members of the community, the number of people affected by autism is much greater.

Autism is a lifelong condition which can be very disabling. It is a spectrum disorder, which means that everyone that has autism experiences it differently and is affected in different ways. There are some things that all autistic people will have difficulties with. These include:

  • social communication
  • social interaction
  • social imagination

Autistic people often experience sensory difficulties such as over- or under-sensitivity to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours. It is also more likely that autistic people will experience higher levels of stress than someone who does not have autism. This makes mental health problems more likely.

Many autistic people are able to live independent lives. Others may need some support to do this. It is common for autistic people to have accompanying learning disabilities and while many people can access mainstream services with reasonable adjustments, some people will require specialist support.

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Last updated: 3 November 2017

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