GAS recognises that individuals on the autism spectrum face challenges as they become involved in the social life of the home, school and community. It is our belief that they have a positive contribution to make, although both they and the wider community need support to fulfil this potential. A key part of this support lies in the terminology that is used to describe the condition.

There are a number of different terms used to describe people on the autism spectrum such as Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Autism Spectrum Condition, Asperger’s Syndrome, etc.

GAS will use the following terms in the appropriate context.

Medical Diagnosis: GAS acknowledges that there are a number of terms used to describe autism. These terms are made within a clinical context which is understood by the clinicians; however they may have a different meaning for those who do not have this background. The term “Autism Spectrum Condition” (ASC) retains the link with a medical diagnosis whilst providing a positive understanding of the person who is on the autism spectrum.

Description of the Individual: The phrase “autism spectrum” reflects the range of abilities and behaviours displayed by individuals who have the diagnosis. It is an indication that strategies which can be effective with one person may not be effective with another. GAS will use the phrase “on the autism spectrum” when there is a need to describe the individual, i.e. “John, who is on the autism spectrum…”

Direct Quotations: It is important to include stories of individuals affected by autism, as this can be a source of encouragement to others who are seeking support. When these stories are being reported, the actual terms used by the individuals will be provided in the reports. In such situations, the terminology being used may be useful to the individual in defining themselves or their family member. It may also reflect when a diagnosis was made and the language used at that time.

The aim of GAS is to promote a positive image of those who have a diagnosis and the contribution they can make to the wider community.

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For more information, please contact Becky Rafferty on 01224 277900, or use this contact form.


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