Autism

Autism spectrum condition (ASC) is a neurodevelopmental condition which involves a child or young person processing information in a different manner to neurotypical children. ASC affects the way a child or young person communicates, behaves, and interacts with others. Autism is not an illness; it is a spectrum condition that will vary across each area and therefore affect each person differently.

The earliest signs of autism are reflected in the way your child starts to communicate and develop language skills. There may be a delay in the development of speech, or the child may never learn to speak. On the other end, the child may be far ahead of their peers in terms of language development but may not be aware of the volume they speak at and may mimic phrases and accents they hear on tv. Your child may struggle to read other people’s body language and it may be hard for them to express their emotions to you or others.

Although you as a parent may have taken the necessary steps to understand your child and their behaviours and triggers, this doesn’t always translate to other people who interact with your child. It is important your child is in a school environment which can help them grow and make them feel safe – be aware of how your child is treated by their teachers and the school as a whole and determine whether that is the right environment for them. As a parent, you are the anchor for your child in a world that is mostly catered to neurotypical individuals.

It is a common misconception that mostly boys are on the autism spectrum – many girls experience it too but are much better at masking their autism. Due to the difficulty in obtaining a diagnosis for girls, they struggle in school and at home and are unaware of their triggers and sensitivities. A diagnosis provides a way for children to recognise what helps them, what doesn’t, and what they struggle with – which will help them thrive in the future.

Seek out a diagnosis if your child is delayed in meeting developmental milestones, seems socially withdrawn, resists different tastes and textures, or engages in challenging behaviour. The first step to getting a diagnosis would be to talk to your GP who will be able to refer you to the relevant health care professional.

To learn more about ASC in children and young people watch our informational videos and real life experience films below.

Watch our Films

Autism Spectrum Condition in Children Information Film

This film explains how to recognise and help a child who shows the symptoms of Autism Spectrum Condition. (ASC)

The film focuses on children who may be very able and whose condition may not be readily apparent, especially girls, as they are particularly good at ‘masking’ symptoms. The film also highlights how people with Autism Spectrum Condition can also develop mental health conditions.

Read and download our fact sheets, watch more videos or sign up for our mailing list and free interactive guide.

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Autism and Co-existing Conditions in Children

Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) is not a mental health disorder. It’s a developmental condition and neurodiversity which affects how people see the world and how they communicate and interact. Autistic people will often, but certainly not always, experience some mental health challenges.

It is estimated that around 70% of people with autism have one mental health condition (such as anxiety, ADHD, depression or OCD) and around 40% of the 70% will have more than one. Some of these mental health conditions begin in childhood and are sometimes referred to as co-occurring or co-existing conditions.

Early intervention can be extremely effective at limiting the effects of these co-existing mental health conditions. Watch our film which features an interview with Professor Emily Simonoff, Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at King’s College London, to find out more about autism and co-existing mental health conditions.

Read and download our fact sheets, watch more videos or sign up for our mailing list and free interactive guide.

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Raising a child with autism: Carrie and David

Carrie and David describe how their happy child began to feel excluded and different when she started school. The outside world is so structured towards the neurotypical that it was causing a lot of damage to Tylan who is not neurotypical because of their autism.

It is a misnomer that autistic children are not sociable.  They want to be able to have all kinds of friends. But if they are excluded and don’t fit in anywhere, this leads to feelings of isolation, sadness and depression.

Tylan finally came into her own when they became an actor playing an autistic character for Hollyoaks. The company and other cast members were determined to understand Tylan. They constantly change the environment around them and make adjustments to suit Tylan’s needs. As a result, Tylan has flourished.

Read and download our fact sheets, watch more videos or sign up for our mailing list and free interactive guide.

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Growing up with Autism: Tylan

Tylan felt alienated at school, thinking everything they did was wrong. Having a diagnosis of autism helped them but they developed anxiety, felt overwhelmed, had sensory overload and preferred to be alone rather than with people who didn’t understand them. Tylan then developed clinical depression which didn’t allow them to see how things could get better or how they could succeed in life.

Tylan’s job at Hollyoaks, where many adjustments were made to suit their needs, allowed them to flourish.

Read and download our fact sheets, watch more videos or sign up for our mailing list and free interactive guide.

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Living with Autism: Dan and Charlie

In this film Dan explains his 9 year old son Charlie’s behaviour and how he came to be diagnosed as autistic. Dan describes the family dynamics, how best to manage Charlie, what his strengths are and future prospects. Charlie gives an insight into living with autism and shares his thoughts and feelings.

Read and download our fact sheets, watch more videos or sign up for our mailing list and free interactive guide.

 

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