Autism, also called autism spectrum condition (ASC), is a lifelong condition that affects how a person relates to other people and communicates with them. People with autism will experience the world differently. These differences can bring challenges as well as unique strengths.

Things you may notice

Social communication

  • The child or adult may:
    • display differences in how they use and understand verbal and non-verbal communication for example, use of eye contact and or face watching, tone of voice, facial expressions and gestures
    • have a literal understanding of language
    • not speak or have limited speech – some children or adults will have good language skills, but may find it hard to know what people expect them to do in conversation.

Social interaction

  • The child may:
    • seem like they are in their own world
    • not always notice someone is talking to them
    • have differences in ‘reading people’ and showing emotions
    • like to spend time alone
    • have friends, but find it hard to maintain them successfully.

Routine or repetitive thinking and behaviours

  • The child may:
    • like to organise things
    • have a strong desire for rules, routine and for things staying the same
    • have very intense interests or like to collect things.

Sensory sensitivities

  • The child may:
    • may be over sensitive or under sensitive to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light, colours, temperature or pain
    • for example, not like unexpected loud noises, may only wear certain clothes, may only eat particular foods, may not tell you when they are hurt or unwell.


Visit the National Autistic Society to find out more, including support and help available.