Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a condition that affects social interaction, communication, interests and behaviour. It includes Asperger Syndrome and childhood autism. In itself, ASD is not a mental health problem. However, sometimes people with ASD experience mental health problems as a result of their social and communication difficulties. Some people also use the term autism spectrum condition or ‘neurodiverse’ (as opposed to people without autism being ‘neurotypical’).

The main features of ASD typically start to develop in childhood, although the impact of these may not be apparent until there is a significant change in the person’s life, such as a change of school. In the UK, it’s estimated that about one in every 100 people has ASD. ASD can cause a wide range of symptoms, which are often grouped into two main categories:

Problems with social interaction and communication – including problems understanding and being
aware of other people’s emotions and feelings; it can also include delayed language development and an
inability to start conversations or take part in them properly.

Restricted and repetitive patterns of thought, interests and physical behaviours – including making
repetitive physical movements, such as hand tapping or twisting, and becoming upset if set routines are

About half of those with ASD also have varying levels of learning difficulties. However, with appropriate
support many people can be helped to become independent. There is no ‘cure’ for ASD, but a wide range of treatments – including education and behaviour support – can help people to manage their condition.

Read more about available treatments at: