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.

AJ-Books-2-2400px Impact on Study:


  • Difficulty in understanding others- may not speak at all, may copy someone else’s speech, or speak only about a particular subject
  • May find co-ordination difficult, like the ability to hold a pen or use scissors
  • May exceed in one particularly subject or activity above others
  • May only be able to concentrate on one activity


  • May have very short-attention span, and thereby be prone to irritability
  • Difficulty with field and lab work owing to physical co-ordination problems
  • May misunderstand instructions for assignments


color-icons-BW-help-2400px How to Help:

  • Be aware that student may need specialist mentoring or facilitators present with them during lectures, exams and field work etc.


Additional Information: