What is it
Autism isn’t an illness or a mental health condition. It’s a developmental condition that affects how people experience the world and interact with others. You might hear people using different words for autism, like ‘autism spectrum condition’, ‘autism spectrum disorder’, or ‘ASD’.
Autism is called a spectrum condition because it affects different people in different ways. Autistic people experience difficulties with social communication and social interaction. They may behave in repetitive ways (for example, liking routines or finding change difficult). Autistic people might also have over- or under-sensitive senses (including sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch) and highly focused interests and hobbies. Some autistic people experience meltdowns (when they get overwhelmed and lose control of their behaviour) and shutdowns (when they get overwhelmed and go quiet or ‘switch off’).
Autistic people can often have good mental health, but autistic people often experience mental health problems too. For example, autistic people might experience anxiety, depression, or OCD.
Feelings and behaviours
- Finding it difficult to recognise or understand other people’s emotions
- Finding it difficult to express your own feelings
- Preferring familiar routines
- Finding unexpected changes to routines challenging or upsetting
- Having focused and specific interests in certain things
- Finding it difficult to read body language
- Finding it difficult to understand sarcasm and changes in others’ facial expressions
- Being more or less sensitive to light, sound, or touch (for example, finding background noise difficult or liking strong tastes)
What’s going on
Interviews, art, blogs, and tips about mental health and wellbeing.
The National Autistic Society and Mind worked together to produce a good practice guide for professionals delivering talking therapies for autistic people.
Videos about autism from Nip in the Bud, an organisation set up to encourage awareness about mental health disorders in young children.
In the UK, Christmas affects most people’s lives. For lots of autistic people, Christmas brings both fun and challenges. Here are some suggestions that may help to create a more autism-friendly Christmas.
Ealing Children’s Services (including their Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Physiotherapy teams) have launched their own YouTube channel.