What is autism?

There has been increased recognition and awareness of autism over recent years. More people have been seeking an assessment for a diagnosis in adulthood.

Diagnostic criteria refer to social and communication difficulties, as well as a preference for sameness, strong interests and sensory sensitivities. As autism is a neurodevelopmental condition, these differences would have been present since childhood. Diagnostic criteria refer to these as ‘impairments’ and ‘deficits’ however there is increased recognition of the strengths that the autistic brain and neurodiversity can have. As these difficulties exist on a spectrum, there is a lot of variety amongst people with ASD.

The National Autistic Society are a good source of information about autism: What is autism?

The Autism Quotient test was designed by Simon Baron-Cohen, a well-renowned researcher into autism. The tool is widely available on the internet and can easily be accessed via search engines. Although this is not definitive, i.e., it is not 100% accurate, it can be a useful tool in thinking about whether someone may exhibit any autistic traits.

Reasons To Get An Assessment

For a lot of adults with ASD, receiving a diagnosis can be a positive first step towards self- acceptance. It can help people to understand the difficulties that they have had throughout their life and give them chance to learn more about ASD. It may also be helpful for an individual to share a diagnosis with friends, family, colleagues or employers as this will help them to understand better. It can help them to empathise with any difficulties and provide an individual with extra support. It may also be helpful in seeking appropriate support from local services, if needed.