Home / What Is Autism?

What Is Autism?

Autism is a developmental condition which affects the function of the brain. It affects the way that someone interacts with and relates to other people, and for autistic people, the world can be a confusing, unpredictable and sometimes scary place.

An autistic person may experience difficulties in the following areas:

  • social communication and social interaction
  • repetitive behaviour /movement
  • over- or under-sensitivity to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light, colours, temperatures or pain
  • intense and highly focused interests
  • extreme anxiety
  • melt down/ shut down

Autism is called a spectrum condition because it affects people in different ways and to different degrees. Whilst many autistic people can lead independent lives with jobs, relationships, and social lives they will encounter difficulties which will require additional support. This can also be exhausting for them as they may be masking their condition. On the other end of the spectrum many will require more intensive support throughout their lives, particularly if their autism is accompanied by an additional learning or mental health difficulty.

A person’s profile can be very confusing they have academic skills and be able to talk to a public audience, but them not be able to answer the telephone or understand the contents of their post.

For more information visit: 

The National Autistic Society website NAS What is Autism?

The Art of Autism website  Understanding the spectrum a comic strip explanation

Getting a Diagnosis

Diagnosis is through your GP

Keep a file with information on why you think the person or you may have an Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC)

The autism spectrum quotient (AQ-10) tool is recommended for use with adults with possible autism who do not have a moderate or severe learning disability.

This may help identify whether you or the person you support should be referred for a comprehensive autism assessment.

Complete and take to your GP

NICE Guidance –  Autism spectrum Quotient (AQ10 Test)

Include information on anything different you noticed during the pregnancy and childhood (if known) to the present day, including information from school, friends, college, family, work colleagues

Include any incidents that have happened which make you think ASC may be the diagnosis

Take some information on what Autism is. GP’s as General Practitioners, are not specialists in all fields

Take all this information along to your GP and ask for a referral for assessment

If your GP disagrees or cannot refer you, we suggest you contact your local Patient Advisory Liaison Service (PALS) for details of how to get a second opinion

Private Diagnosis

If your GP cannot refer, or the GP or the second opinion disagrees with you, you might want to think about a private assessment.

If you gain a diagnosis privately, then sharing relevant information with your GP can ensure all relevant services are put in place to support you.

If you have additional diagnoses and medication is required then you can discuss with your GP moving into shared care.  If your GP agrees, this means they may prescribe your medication as per advice from your private Psychiatrist.

Identity language

Autism Bucks will communicate using autism terminology that reflects the outcomes of current research and also the choice of our members. The research paper ‘Which terms should be used to describe autism? Perspectives from the UK autism community’, determined that the UK autism community preferred the use of ‘identity first’ language as opposed to ‘person first’ language (Kenny et al., 2015, p.16).

Full ref: Kenny, L. et al. (2015) ‘Which terms should be used to describe autism?’ Perspectives from the UK autism community’, Autism, 20(4), pp. 442–462. doi: 10.1177/1362361315588200.

“To be truly person-centred, all elements of the person have to be given equal recognition and respect. Identity-first language shows acceptance of what cannot be taken away from the person. It shows respect to the autistic individual for whom and what they are. It also promotes pride and positive self-esteem in autistic people and teaches society that being autistic is not automatically wrong or detrimental. We shouldn’t need to say ‘person’ first in order to remind ourselves that autistic people are people”

Courtesy of – https://www.identityfirstautistic.org