Autism, also referred to as Autism Spectrum Condition or ASC (see Terminology) is a lifelong developmental condition characterised by difficulties in three areas, often referred to as ‘the triad’:
- Social interaction, including difficulties relating to others, sharing and forming relationships.
- Social communication, including difficulties interpreting and expressing verbal and non-verbal communication.
- Imagination and social understanding, including difficulties with imaginative play, pretending, planning ahead and a tendency to focus on the details of a situation at the expense of a more broad understanding.
Activities, thinking patterns or interests that are unusual in their intensity or focus are also common in those with an ASC.
ASCs affect people in different ways and to varying degrees of severity, however, sensory perception and motor anomalies or difficulties are almost always experienced. The way an individual presents with an ASC will depend on many factors, including the severity of their experience of the autism triad, the effects of any additional learning disability or condition, and their own unique personality.
Asperger’s Syndrome is sometimes used to describe people with ASCs who are intellectually able and who experienced no language delays in childhood. However, due to changing diagnostic practice, the use of this term is reducing.
ASCs are estimated to affect 1 in every 100 individuals, with more males than females being affected. The exact causes are unknown, however it has been recognised that environmental and genetic factors are involved in causing the changes in brain function which produce symptoms of ASCs.
Although living with an ASC can be challenging for both the person affected and their families, with the right support and encouragement people with autism can live happy and productive lives.
For further information about ASCs, including diagnosis, coping strategies and advice for families, please contact us.
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For more information, please contact Becky Rafferty on 01224 277900, or use this contact form.