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What is autism?

Autism is sometimes called a spectrum, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

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A spectrum means that autism can be very different for different people.

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Autism is not a learning disability .

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About half of autistic people might also have a learning disability.

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If you have autism, you will have it for all of your life.

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Autism affects how you:

  • behave with other people
  • communicate with other people
  • experience the world around you.  For example, you might find every day noises too loud, or some types of lights too bright.
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How do I know if my child has autism?

Everyone with autism is different.

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Your child might have autism if they:

  • find it difficult to understand what people say
  • find it difficult to understand when people are happy, sad or angry
  • find some every day noises too loud
  • find some lights very bright
  • like to do the same thing again and again
  • get very upset or very angry sometimes.
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Some people do not find out they are autistic until they are at school.

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Some people do not find out they are autistic until they are adults.

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More boys than girls are told they are autistic.

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No-one knows if this is because more boys are autistic, or if it is more difficult to tell if girls are autistic.

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Talk to your doctor if you are worried about your child.

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If your child is at school, you could speak to their teacher or to the school's special educational needs co­ordinator (SENCO) for advice. 

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Autism Alliance UK has information about organisations that offer support to people with autism.