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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

Autism is a lifelong disability

What is autism?

Watch our film about autism featuring our ambassador and autistic gardener, Alan Gardner. 

Adult man and woman walking outdoors

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).

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 about how we can support your research and where to study autism courses.

Group around a table

Our autism library

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

Woman looking at camera


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.
Autistic man and his support worker talking

Related conditions

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

Delegates at Lorna Wing Centre

Diagnostic services

Learn more about our diagnostic services at The Lorna Wing Centre

Autism Helpline Number: 0808 800 4104
Last updated: 24/09/2018 12:46:44