Autism is a lifelong neuro-developmental disability that affects the development of the brain in areas of social interaction and communication. People with autism have difficulties in communicating and forming relationships with people, in developing language and in using abstract concepts. It also impacts on their ability to make sense of the world around them.
Autism is described as a ‘spectrum’ disorder. This means that the symptoms and characteristics of autism can present themselves in a wide variety of combinations and can range from mild to severe. Two people with the same diagnosis can act very differently from one another and have varying skills. Autism Spectrum Disorder is also referred to as ASD.
Autism is often referred to as the ‘hidden’ disability because people who are on the autistic spectrum show no significant physical difference to their peers, rather it is their behaviours that mark them out as different.