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What is autism?

Autism is a lifelong developmental condition. It affects the way a person communicates and how they experience the world around them.

People with Autism and Asperger's Syndrome (also known as High Functioning Autism) may appear to behave in an unusual way. There will normally be a reason for this. It may be attempting to communicate or a way of coping with a particular situation. Knowing what causes challenging behaviour can help you develop ways of dealing with it.

Autism is described as a spectrum condition. This means that while people with Autism Spectrum Conditions, including Asperger's Syndrome, share certain characteristics, they will be highly individual in their needs and preferences. Some people with autism are able to live independent lives but others may face additional challenges, including learning disabilities or mental health conditions. People with Autism Spectrum Conditions may also experience over- or under-sensitivity to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours.