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Autistic Spectrum Conditions

What is Autism?

There are a number of terms that different individuals and groups prefer to use, including Autistic Spectrum Conditions (ASC) or Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Autism; these are umbrella terms for all such conditions including Asperger Syndrome.

Autistic Spectrum Conditions (ASC) is a lifelong condition that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how a person makes sense of the world around them. The three main areas of difficulty, which all people with autism share in varying degrees, are known as the 'triad of impairments'. They are difficulties with:

  • social communication e.g. problems using and understanding verbal and non-verbal language, such as gestures, facial expressions and tone of voice
  • social interaction e.g. problems in recognising and understanding other people's feelings and managing their own
  • social imagination e.g. problems in understanding and predicting other people's intentions and behaviour and imagining situations outside their own routine

Many people with ASC may experience some form of sensory sensitivity or under-sensitivity, for example to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours. People with autism often prefer to have a fixed routine and can find change incredibly difficult to cope with.

Many people with ASC may also have other conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a learning disability or dyspraxia.

What is Asperger Syndrome?

Asperger Syndrome is a form of autism. People with Asperger Syndrome typically have fewer problems with speaking than others on the autism spectrum, but they do still have significant difficulties with communication that can be masked by their ability to speak fluently. They are also often of average or above average intelligence.

If you live in the Royal Borough and would like to know more about diagnoses of autism please contact your GP for referral.

For more information, please contact the Adult Autism Spectrum Disorder Team.