About autism

There are many people with autism in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. More than 1 out of every 100 people has autism.

You cannot always tell that someone has autism just by looking at them. Because of this autism is sometimes called a hidden disability.

Autism lasts for all of a person's life. But they can still do a lot of things and learn a lot of skills.


Some people with autism find these things difficult

  • They find it difficult to tell people what they need, and how they feel.
  • They find it difficult to meet other people and to make new friends.
  • They find it difficult to understand what other people think, and how they feel.


Not everyone with autism will find these things difficult. This is because everyone with autism is different
.


What causes autism?

No one knows why people have autism.

If your child has autism, it is not because you are a bad parent.

More than 1 person in a family may have autism. It can be genetic. This means autism can pass from parents to their children.


How do people with autism behave?

Here is some information about people with autism.

  • They may not speak. But they may use things like pictures or sign language to communicate.
  • They may not understand what other people say.
  • They may copy what other people say.
  • They may only talk about their favourite subject.
  • They may not take part in games or activities with other people.
  • They may like to play the same game or do the same thing every day.
  • They may be very interested in one thing and know a lot about it.
  • They may be good at remembering information.
  • They may do well at school, college and work. 


What else is special about autism?

Here is some more information about people with autism.

  • They may find co-ordination difficult. This means that they may find it difficult to do things like use scissors, use knives and forks, or ride a bike.
  • They may be very good at something. For example, they may be very good at maths, art or music.
  • They can be good at learning how to do something when they see someone else doing it.
  • They may be good at concentrating on one activity.
  • They may have learning disabilities.
  • They may have other difficulties. For example, they may have dyslexia.


     

    The 5 senses

    The 5 senses are

    • sight
    • sound
    • smell
    • touch
    • taste.

    Here is some information about how autism can affect someone's senses.

    Sight
    Some people with autism may not like bright lights and colours. Other people with autism might like them a lot.

    Sound
    Some people with autism may not like loud noises. Other people with autism might like certain noises.

    Smell
    Some people with autism may not like some smells. Other people with autism might like a certain smell.

    Touch
    Some people with autism may not like being touched. Other people with autism might like being touched.

    Taste
    Some people with autism may like to eat the same food every day. Other people with autism might like lots of different food.


    Asperger syndrome

    There is a type of autism called Asperger syndrome.

    People with Asperger syndrome do not have learning disabilities. But they find the same things difficult as people with autism.

    Some people with Asperger syndrome find these things difficult.

    • They find it difficult to tell people what they need, and how they feel.
    • They find it difficult to meet other people and to make new friends.
    • They find it difficult to understand what other people think, and how they feel.


       

      How to get more information

      You can get more information about autism from

      Autism Helpline
      Phone: 0808 800 4104
      Minicom: 0845 070 4003
      Open from 10am until 4pm
      Open from Monday until Friday

      The National Autistic Society's website www.autism.org.uk

      We hope you found this information easy to read. We welcome your comments on how we can improve it. You can email your comments to publications@nas.org.uk


       

      Quick link to this page: www.autism.org.uk/autismeasyread