What is Autism?

So you want to know what autism is? Maybe you have an idea and have a bit of knowledge or maybe you have no idea at all. What ever your reasons for reading this at least you are in the right place.

I always say that is you want to learn about something then find out from those who are actually living in the situation or have a sound knowledge through lived experience of supporting someone.

The main thing to understand before anything about autism is that each and every autistic person will be different and experience their autism in their own unique way, which I guess is what makes it such a complex condition.

According to the BMA British Medical Association it is estimated that around 700,000 people in the UK have a diagnosis of autism – that’s more than 1 in 1001. If you include their families, autism is a part of daily life for 2.8 million people”. Around the world, these figures would be looked at country by country.

The definition of autism is described as follows :

“Autism is a developmental disability that influences a person’s ability to communicate and relate to other people. It is a spectrum condition, meaning that while all people with autism will have similar problems, overall their condition will impact them in different ways. Some people may be able to lead fairly independent lives while others will require a lifetime of specialist support”.

Department of Health

Is Autism curable?

Autistic people experience the world in a different way from other people. It is not only a neurological condition that effects the way your brain operates and responds it also effects your entire body such as your sensations, your muscle tone, your ability to balance, your vision the list goes on and like I said in my previous post I will go into more detail about this in future posts.

A person who is autistic will always be autistic, it is not an illness or disease. Therefore there is no cure.

What is the autism spectrum?

You may have heard of autism being described as a “spectrum” just to make it even more confusing to understand. To try and attempt to illustrate what this means there is one end of the spectrum where a person may be effected severely ( severe autism) and have a severe learning disability and will need lots of support throughout their life which may involve helping with dressing, personal care and daily living tasks. My youngest Son is a person who needs lots of additional support with all of these tasks. A persons intellect will therefore be impaired, as indeed his is.

At the other end of the autism spectrum where a person is diagnosed to be high functioning described as Asperger’s syndrome – someone like myself. On my formal diagnosis the psychiatrist wrote in brackets Asperger’s syndrome, perhaps to give other professionals an idea of the “level” I am at. People like this will usually need less support and their intellect will be average or above. However they may still share the same difficulties with daily tasks, communication and sensory issues. High functioning  autistics will not have a learning disability that many autistic people have but may have specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia.

Although autism is now known just as autism without the Asperger’s diagnosis as such, it is still useful to those who are trying to gain an understanding about how different one person who is autistic can be. I personally think this is very productive as there can be a huge difference in the support needed for people and as much as some may not like to be labelled as Asperger’s I believe it gives a clearer indication. Me and my youngest Son are both autistic, we share many similarities and are like two peas in a pod but our care needs differ dramatically. If people were to assume, like they do for me, that I am fully capable of everything then this is not helpful for him who needs extra daily living support.

Here is me with my youngest Son who is now 15.

There are so many aspects of autism that I could cover here such as identifying the signs of autism in young children, genetics – where it comes from, co existing conditions, and ways to support someone however I will post more about this in other articles. I do also have a short training course that I put together along with other autistic people but once this site is more established I will share links to this.

But for now and for those reading today for you to know what autism is in short it is a developmental disability that is life long. A person who is autistic will have difficulties in these areas these being social communication – how they interact with others, sensory issues such as high sensitivity to noise, smells tastes, and even feeling of clothing, they will often be highly anxious especially in new situations, and may resist change, they may want to do things over and over again – known as repetitive behaviour, which can also be part of an OCD ( please note not all people with OCD will be autistic). Autistic people may also take longer to process information.

Thanks once again for reading and I hope its given you some useful information and you will continue to follow this site 🙂

2 responses to “What is Autism?”

  1. Thank you for this. I think my granddaughter has autism (she’s 2 now and not speaking or attentive). Her parents say she is just lazy but it’s more than that. My other son has ADHD which l understand now and he is an adult but l don’t know much about autism. I need to learn more. Thank you.

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    • Hi Beverley, thank you for commenting on the post. I do hope the information I will share will help you in some ways. I will be sharing about early signs of autism in future posts. I too have a grand daughter whose speech is delayed, I am keeping my eye on her as I am sure you with your grand daughter too. I hope my posts will give you more insights. Thank you again for following.

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