Autism and Asperger syndrome
Like a learning disability, autism is a lifelong condition. Someone may have mild, moderate or severe autism, so it is sometimes referred to as a spectrum, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD). There are three common features of autism, which might affect the way a person:
- interacts with others in a social situation
- is able to communicate with others
- thinks about and deals with social situations
Autism is not a learning disability, but research suggests that around half of people with autism may also have a learning disability, which will affect the level of support they need in their life. Some people may also receive a ‘dual diagnosis' - for example, they may have Down's syndrome and autism.
Asperger's syndrome is a form of autism which also causes communication and emotional problems. However, people with Asperger's syndrome often have fewer problems with speaking and are less likely to have a learning disability.
Life is challenging, tiring and exciting. Milestones you and I may take for granted take on new meaning. It's amazing how excited and happy you can be about the smallest of things, it's truly inspiring!
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Many parents have mixed feelings about the process of diagnosis, and everyone's experiences will be different.
Each person with autism is different, and the impact their condition has on their life will depend on many factors.
It's hard to gauge what impact our son has had on our family. Having a child in general has a huge effect on you and when you have a child with a learning disability it manifests itself in different ways - isolation, frustration, ignorance and a real sense of having to fight for everything.