What is autism?
Autism is a complex neurodevelopmental condition and is characterised by differences in social skills, communication and behaviour. Most recently autism can be characterised by the term Neurodiverse.
Neurodiversity addresses the concept that humans are not neurologically ‘one size fits all’. This means that it recognises everyone’s unique abilities and considers neurological differences, like autism.
Autistic people can experience differences in the way they communicate and interact socially, and their behaviour may be repetitive or highly focussed – the term ‘restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviour’ is often used to describe this. Autistic people also tend to experience differences with their sensory perception of the world around them which can impact upon the way they feel about and respond to their surroundings.
People often refer to the autism ‘spectrum’ due to the wide range of characteristics, skills and abilities that different people with autism have. No two people experience autism in exactly the same way. Although the core characteristics of autism can cause a range of challenges, it is important to recognise that they can also result in unique skills and capabilities.
The terminology used around autism has changed over the years and may well change in the future as opinions alter and we understand more. This is more than evident now as we listen and learn from the views of autistic adults.