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What is autism?

Autism is a lifelong, developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, and how they experience the world around them.

This section explains some of the different names for autism and related conditions, and provides information about gender, discussions about causes and current research.

Mum and adult son

Everything you need to know

Smiling man


Learn the basics about the autism spectrum and how it's defined.
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Asperger syndrome

Learn about this form of autism and how it is diagnosed.

What is Pathological Demand Avoidance

What is PDA?

Find out more about Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) and how it fits into the autism spectrum.
Two young men talking

Broaching the subject

Do you think a family member or friend is autistic? The discussion needs to be handled with care.
Adults talking around a table

Causes and 'cures'

Autism is a lifelong condition and there is no known cure, but support can improve quality of life.
Adult woman reading

Describing autism

How do you talk about autism? What terms do autistic people use to describe themselves?

Young man on computer


Read the latest developments and find out how we can support your research.

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Our autism library

Autism Data is the catalogue for our library of published research papers, books, articles and videos.

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Why are more boys than girls diagnosed as autistic, and how does autism affect women and girls?
Family with two sons

Autism facts and history

Find out how many people have autism, how many adults want extra support at work and much more.

Related conditions

Learn about other conditions that many autistic people also have, such as ADHD or dyspraxia.

Autism Helpline Number: 0808 800 4104
Last updated: 14/04/2016 12:31:00