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About autism

When people have autism we say they are “autistic”.

Many people in Europe are autistic.

You cannot always tell that someone is autistic just by looking at them.

Autism is a disability.

It is not an illness or disease and it does not go away.

People are autistic for all of their lives.

Autistic people may also have other things like: – a learning disability – a mental health condition. This is when people may feel upset, worried or scared a lot.

Autistic people can still do lots of things and learn new skills.

They just need the right support.

What is it like to be autistic?

Everyone who is autistic is different.

Some people need more support.

Some people need less support.

What support might autistic people need?

Autistic people might find it hard to:

– meet people and make friends

– say what they need

– say how they feel

– understand how other people think or feel

– understand jokes or ideas that are not clear or that may mean more than one thing.

Some autistic people may find other things hard like:

– some smells, sounds or colours

– bright lights

– people touching them

Other autistic people may like these things.

Autistic people may have something they are very interested in or something they are very good at.

This may be art, music or something else.

Autistic people may like to do the same things every day.

This helps them feel safe.

Sometimes things can feel too much for autistic people.

They may feel worried or scared.

They may feel that people do not understand them.

They may want to spend time on their own.

How do autistic people communicate?

Some autistic people may not speak. Or they may only speak a bit.

Some autistic people use other ways to say things.

Like sign language or pictures.

Some autistic people find it hard to know what other people say.

It can help to give autistic people: clear information & enough time to understand what someone says

Why are people autistic?

No one knows why people are autistic.

It is not something that parents or autistic people do wrong.

Sometimes autism can pass from parents to their children.

Finding out if someone is autistic

People can go to the doctor to find out if they are autistic.

The doctor may ask other health people to see if someone is autistic.

It is good to find out if someone is autistic.

It can help them get the right support.