What is Autism?
Autism is not a disease.
Autism is not curable.
Autism is not ‘naughty'.
Autism is not just boys.
Autism is not a deficit.
Autism is just different!
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to,
other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them.
You may see or hear the terms ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders), or ASC (Autism Spectrum Condition); these
terms are frequently used interchangeably. Autism includes a spectrum of conditions, which means that while
all people share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways. A lot of people with
autism are able to live independent lives but others may have accompanying learning disabilities and need a
lifetime of specialist support. People with autism may often experience over- or under-sensitivity to sounds,
touch, tastes, smells, light or colours.
Another term that is often heard is Asperger syndrome. Asperger Syndrome is part of the autism spectrum.
People with Asperger syndrome are often of average or above average intelligence. They have fewer problems
with speech, but may still have difficulties with understanding and processing language. They may also have
difficulties understanding some of the rules governing social interaction.
Please note that professionals in Leicestershire are no longer giving a diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome; the
current practice is to diagnoses with the term Autism.
Autism is often defined by its difficulties, but it can also bring many benefits! The cognitive strengths of some
individuals may mean that they can focus on tasks without breaks in concentration, and individuals on the
autism spectrum report the enjoyment they get from their unique way of thinking and perspective of the
Autism is simply different. Many young people use the analogy that it is like using a different operating system
for their computers. They are using Apple Macs in a world where the majority are using Windows! They are
both successful operating systems, but they both have their own unique strengths. They are simply different!