Autistic Spectrum Disorder Print E-mail

Autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) is a lifelong condition that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them.
Autistic spectrum disorder is the term that is used to describe a group of disorders, including autism and Asperger syndrome. The word ‘spectrum’ is used because the characteristics of the condition vary from one person to another. Those with autism may also have a learning disability. Those who have Asperger syndrome tend to have average, or above average, intelligence, but still have difficulty making sense of the world.

The causes of ASD are still unknown, and research is ongoing. However, research suggests that genetic factors may be involved, and there is also some evidence to show that the condition may be linked to environmental factors, such as pollution, or viruses like rubella (German measles).

Recent research suggests that around 1 in 100 people have ASD in the UK. It is thought to affect four times as many males than females, although the reason for this is unknown.

There is no cure for ASD and it continues throughout life. However, many treatments and different types of support are available. An early diagnosis can help to put appropriate support into place for both the individual and their families.