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Autism (ASD)

Autism is a lifelong condition that affects just over 1 in 100 children and young people. Autism affects how;

  • children and young people communicate with, and relate to, other people
  • they make sense of the world around them.

Autism, Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD are all terms used to describe a wide range of similar conditions including Asperger syndrome and Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC). Some people with autism may have an accompanying learning disability.

Core features

Although every person on the autism spectrum will present very differently, they all share the two 'core' features of autism:

  • difficulties with social communication and social interaction. This could range from having no verbal communication to difficulties holding a conversation or making friends.
  • restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviour, interests, or activities. This could include developing an overwhelming interest in something or a need to adhere to routines.

Some people on the autism spectrum also experience sensory processing issues, for example being hypersensitive to certain sounds or smells.


If you suspect your child has autism you should contact your GP, health visitor or the special education needs coordinator (SENCO) in your child's school or setting. You may then be referred on to a specialist diagnostic service which will carry out an assessment of your child. If your child receives a diagnosis of autism, the diagnostic team should share information from the assessment with your child's GP and if you agree, with other public services to help them offer you the support you need.

View related services

For further support and guidance you can contact:

Autism Spectrum Team

Special Educational Needs Service

Tel: 01582 548151