Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder is a term used to describe a group of lifelong, neurodevelopmental disorders marked by impairments in social interaction, impairments in communication and patterns of restricted, stereotyped or repetitive behaviour. ASD covers a broad range of intellectual ability, and some individuals have special areas of exceptional talent whilst others are severely disabled by the disorder and require a high level of support throughout their lives. A significant number of people have learning disabilities and many have mental health problems; anxiety and depression in particular.


The term Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has been used throughout this resource to refer to the range of neurodevelopmental conditions, including Autism, Atypical Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. Individuals on the spectrum and their families will vary in how they regard autism; some prefer to view it not so much as a disorder, but rather as a different way of thinking and viewing the world, hence preferring the term Autism Spectrum Condition to ASD and ‘difference’ to ‘impairment’.

Given the breadth of the spectrum and individual responses to terminology, we advise sensitivity to differences in how individuals and their families or carers wish to view themselves and how they wish to describe their autism.

Below are some leaflets containing further information which you may wish to download. Click each one of the links to download them as a PDF.

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