If you are searching our website, it is very likely you are a parent of, or carer for someone with Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC), or another related condition or you are researching in the professional field.
Autism is a lifelong condition that will affect the way you may experience the world around you, it affects communication and social skills and how you interact with other people.
Most people with Autism have some of the same traits but everyone is different, no two people are the same, which is why they will all need different levels of support.
Some say the that world often feels very overwhelming and can be the cause of anxiety.
One of the most common difficulties is understanding and relating to other people, which has an impact on everyday life including family life, work, school and their social life. Its often difficult for a person with Autism to interpret both verbal and non verbal language for example: Tone of voice or gestures, facial expressions, jokes, sarcasm. They also may tend to take things very literally for example they may find it hard to understand if your not saying exactly what you mean, or they think people mean exactly what they say, a common example of this is 'it's raining cat's and dogs' it's not but someone with Autism will not understand why you would say that if that's not actually happening.
Someone with ASC may have limited speech or are Pre-verbal (no speech at all) they will however probably understand a lot more of what you or me might say than they are able to express. Some may use other forms of communication which is very important, the first and foremost support should be a form of communication for anyone with ASC who is without.
Others with ASC may have very good language as in being able to talk and being able to make their needs known but may have many difficulties for example: holding a two way conversation, maybe repeating what someone has just said know as (Echolalia) sometime talking none stop about a preferred item without giving anyone else the chance to speak or not wanting to listen to the other person they are talking to, there maybe no questions asked by the person with ASC and if a question is asked then they may not understand how to answer it. Processing the information can be problematic and they may need extra time to process information which can have a really profound effect on following instructions if there are many to follow... giving plenty of time to process information is very important
Some may have great speech and can have conversations and ask questions etc every person is completely individual, it may not be obvious at all that a child/adult has ASC which sometimes gives Autism the name 'The Hidden Condition'
Someone with ASC may have difficulty navigating the social word as a whole, they may find it difficult to express their own emotions or understand the emotions of others, finding it hard to read facial expressions or understand why someone is upset which often comes across as them being insensitive to others. In social situations you may find them wanting to go off and be alone as the social demands are too high, and therefore they feel uneasy and may act differently in a social environment that maybe look odd or strange to others. Friendships maybe hard to form as those with ASC may not know, understand, like or feel comfortable with the social rules of everyday life, making it difficult for them to sometimes fit in. Many want to make friends but they are just unsure how to go about it.
People with Autism can also display behaviours that show in many forms. Rigidity being only one of them, the like of having routines, in an unpredictable world having a routine or knowing what is happening next is often something we see with people on the Autistic spectrum. Change is another unpredictability for those with ASC - preferring things not to change and being prepared for change can often be a trait of ASC. There are also those difficulties coming from a lack of comminication, if a child or young person/adult can not make themselves understood and can often become fustrated and lash out at others or self harm. There are challenges in self help skills where a young person may not be toilet trained until a much later age due to many reasons and there are those behviours such as smearing.Dressing and undressing can prove difficult in some cases.
Again not every child/adult will display the above difficulties- This is simply because Autism is not a one diagnosis fits all - every person with ASC will be different! that's why it is important when supporting someone with Autism you teach individual skills and not a blanket- one fits all approach.
Many people who do not understand Autism may look at a child and think they are being 'Naughty' which is not the case...Autism North West are always striving for Autism awareness and educating people in ASC.