What autism is and what to do if you think your child is autistic.
Autism is a lifelong condition that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, and how they experience the world around them.
Autism is known as a spectrum condition (ASC), which means each autistic person will be affected differently. It is still sometimes referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Asperger's Syndrome.
Autism can be understood as a neurological difference in brain development, with key differences in the areas of:
- language and communication
- social awareness and emotional literacy
- flexibility of thought
- sensory processing
Find out more about autism and its spectrum of diagnosis on the National Autistic Society's website Go to https://www.autism.org.uk/about/what-is/asd.aspx (opens new window) and the Autism Education Trust website Go to https://www.autismeducationtrust.org.uk/about/what-is-autism (opens new window).
Ambitious about Autism have a collection of videos and blogs, featuring young autistic people talking about diagnosis, identity and their experiences.
NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) West have a collection of films and fact-sheets Go to https://arc-w.nihr.ac.uk/research/projects/evidence-based-short-films-about-autism-for-the-somali-community/ (opens new window) made with the Somali community in Bristol.
If you think your child might be autistic
Your child is under five years old
You can talk about your concerns with:
- your GP
- your local Children's Centre inclusion lead
- your child's nursery manager
- the speech and language therapy service Go to http://cchp.nhs.uk/cchp/explore-cchp/childrens-speech-language-therapy (opens new window)
- the early years portage and inclusion service
- the health visiting service Go to http://cchp.nhs.uk/cchp/explore-cchp/health-visiting (opens new window)
Your child is over five years old
If your child goes to school, speak to their school's:
- class teacher
- Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO)
You can also:
- talk about your concerns with your GP
- contact the speech and language therapy service Go to http://cchp.nhs.uk/explore-cchp/childrens-speech-language-therapy/childrens-slt-how-get-help (opens new window)
Read about support available after diagnosis of autism.