Autism is a lifelong, developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, and how they experience the world around them.
Autism is a spectrum condition and therefore affects individuals to varying degrees. Also, more males tend to be affected by the condition than females. All autistic people share certain difficulties, but being autistic will affect them in different ways. Some autistic people also have learning disabilities, mental health issues or other conditions, meaning people need different levels of support. All people on the autism spectrum learn and develop.
Individuals with autistic spectrum condition have difficulties in social interaction, social communication and social imagination; these are known as the triad of impairments. Individuals with autistic spectrum condition typically have problems forming and maintaining relationships, have problems with speech and will only be involved in a narrow range of repetitive activities. A significant proportion of individuals with autistic spectrum condition never develop speech and so alternative methods of communication need to be adopted.