Autism can be described as a neurodevelopmental disorder. This means autism affects how a person’s brain develops and functions.
Different names can be used to talk about autism including:
We will use the word autism or autistic in this leaflet
People’s brains can work differently for lots of different reasons.
When your brain works differently you can be described as neurodivergent.
If you are autistic, it means your brain works differently.
We do not know why autistic brains work differently.
Being autistic means having differences in two main areas:
Social communication and interaction
This could include differences in:
talking with other people
understanding other people’s thoughts and feelings
understanding social rules
Restricted, repetitive and inflexible patterns of thought and behaviour
This could include:
Spending a lot of time on interests you are passionate about
Preferring things to stay the same
Repeating the same hand or body movements
Autistic people have many strengths and some differences.
It can be useful to find out about autism because it can help you to:
understand yourself and your experiences
learn more about the experiences of other autistic people
think about what is helpful and what is not helpful for you
develop skills and strategies to use when you need them
Everybody with autism is different. Some people with autism live independently, some people need some support, and some people need lots of support.
Autism is something that lasts your whole life
We have included some information that you may find useful. Some are links to webpages, and some provide information about available books.
Understanding Autism - Easy Read Information [pdf] 2MB