Autism describes a specific pattern of strengths and difficulties that affects more than 1 in 100 people. Individuals with autism have many strengths. For example, they have a unique view of the world, are often very honest and good at noticing details.

People with autism particularly struggle with social communication and interaction.

They might find it hard to use or understand e.g. facial expressions, body language or jokes and to make sense of other people’s thoughts and feelings.

They might find it hard to understand unwritten social rules and to know how to make friends. People with autism often also struggle to respond to changes in routine and to cope in unfamiliar situations. They are often over- or under-sensitive to e.g. sounds, smells or light.

Their different processing of the world may sometimes become overwhelming for them. Noticing that they are different might cause difficult feelings, too. They might show how they feel through what they say or do. If coping with these feelings becomes particularly difficult for an individual with autism and their family, they might need some professional support.

Key Point

Autism is a condition that affects how someone learns, communicates and builds relationships with others. If you have autism, it can affect how you live and what you think about things around you.