What is Autism?

  • Autism is a lifelong condition affecting social communication.
  • It can involve a strong need for routine and predictability.
  • Most autistic people have sensory processing difficulties, for example coping with flickering fluorescent lighting, strong smells or background noise.
  • Understanding facial expressions and body language is more difficult, and eye contact can be painful to endure.
  • Autism often also has strengths, including accuracy, honesty and dedication.
  • Autism is a spectrum disorder. This means that its impact ranges from moderate to severe. It affects people with and without learning difficulties. People with autism do not look disabled.
  • Autistic social communication is often misunderstood, and many experience anger from others, with loneliness and anxiety as a result.

Between 8,500 and 20,000 people living in Berkshire are directly affected by autism.