Empowering People, Launching lives

Understanding autism

Autism is part of who a person is. Every individual has a unique and meaningful contribution to make to society.

Autism is not an illness or disease and cannot be cured. Getting the right support can help improve outcomes.

In this section you can find information about diagnosis, causes, communication as well as stats about autism in the UK.

Every person will have a unique experience of autism. Below are some of the challenges autistic people may face. If you’d like to find out more about autism, why not try our free introductory course?


Social communication and social interaction

Communication can be a challenge for some autistic people. For instance, they may find it hard to read body language, understand peoples’ emotions or process language. 

We all use a mix of verbal, gesture, body language and more to communicate. For some people, augmented and alternative communication methods help them to communicate. Find out more about communication. 


Repetitive behaviour

Routines can help reduce anxiety for autistic people. For example, using the same route to go to work every day helps the person feel in control. Changes to routine, big or small, can be hard to process. Where possible, planning ahead can help reduce any confusion or anxiety that the disruption may cause. 

Autistic people may also have repetitive movements such as hand flapping or making sounds. These are often calming for the individual when they feel stressed. Read more about self-stimulatory behaviours 


Sensory difficulties 

Autistic people can experience under- or over-sensitivity to sounds, touch, smells, pain, light or temperature. Sounds or smells that many people block out can be over-stimulating and cause stress. It may also be under-stimulating and a person might look to increase their sensory input by turning the volume up or getting closer to smells. 

Find out more about sensory processing. 


Behaviours that challenge

When stress or anxiety builds up it can lead to behaviours that challenge or “meltdowns”. This may take many forms including screaming, kicking, running away or ceasing communication.  

These behaviours are often the result of an individual being overwhelmed and can occur when a person is finding it difficult to communicate. It is important to understand why behaviours that challenge happen so that the right support can be given. 

Find out more about behaviour. 


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Understanding autism

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