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What is Autism

Research suggests that 1.1% of the population or 11 in 1000 people have an autism spectrum disorder or ASD for short.

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 ASD 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 people who have ASD will have difficulties with. These include:

  • social communication
  • social interaction
  • social imagination

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

Many people with ASD are able to live independent lives. Others may need some support to do this. It is common for people with ASD 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: 21 October 2016

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