Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them.
The three main areas of difficulty which all people with autism share are sometimes known as the ‘triad of impairments’. They are:
- difficulty with social communication
- difficulty with social interaction
- difficulty with social imagination
Like most SpLDs, autism is a spectrum condition, meaning that while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways. Autism may be referred to as an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). People with autism may also experience over or under-sensitivity to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours.
Asperger syndrome is a form of autism. People with Asperger syndrome are often of average or above average intelligence. They have fewer problems with speech but may still have difficulties with understanding and processing language.