Autism is a condition that affects how someone learns, communicates and builds relationships with others. If you have autism, it can affect how you live and what you think about things around you. If you or someone you know has autism, we can help.

Understanding autism

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), also known as autism, is called a ‘spectrum’ condition because it affects people in different ways. Because of this, it can be difficult to understand what autism is which can make it harder to cope. It can also have an effect on family and friends.

People with severe autism may need a lot of care and support. But others may be able to cope with most things quite well. For example, people with the form of autism known as Asperger syndrome find it hard to understand language but have fewer problems with speaking.

Autism is a lifelong condition. People with autism change over time. But they never stop having autism.

What causes autism?

No one knows what causes autism. But we do know that autism is not caused by bad parenting. Autism can be genetic, which means that more than one person in a family can have it and it can be passed from parents to children. Find out more on YoungMinds site.

People with autism might:

  • find it difficult to understand what other people are thinking
  • be really good at things, such as learning new skills or remembering
  • find it hard to tell other people how they are feeling
  • have trouble knowing what to say, or how to act, when meeting new people
  • have special interests that they focus on so much, they don't notice anything else going on around them
  • get upset when changes happen
  • focus on detail rather than 'the bigger picture'.


Watch: Autism

Getting help with bullying

Knowing someone with autism

Other sites that can help:

National Autistic Society offers support to people with autism and their families

Young Minds has facts and helpful advice

YoungSibs has advice and support for brothers and sisters of people with a disability

Prince's Trust has info and advice on getting support with education and employment.