Autism is a lifelong condition that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, and how they experience the world around them. Each person with autism will be affected differently. It is still sometimes referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Asperger's Syndrome.
Autism can be understood as a neurological difference in brain development, with key differences in the areas of:
- language and communication;
- social awareness and emotional literacy
- flexibility of thought
- sensory processing
Parents often worry that their child may be showing signs of autism in the early years. It is helpful to be aware that there is a big overlap in symptoms between autism and anxiety, and that anxiety is much more common. For example, anxious children will often enjoy repetitive play or behaviours as it can help them feel calmer and safer. They may also react badly to change or appear to become obsessed with wearing certain clothes or doing things in a certain order.
Further infomation including how to seek help if you have concerns that your child has Autism is available below:
If you are concerned that your child has Autism then please discuss this with your child's school or nursery or health visitor (if under 5 years old). They can provide support for your child and arrange an assessment if this is necessary. Parents can also make a referral themselves but must include the relevant forms and questionnaires. Most referrals do not need to come via a GP unless there are other complex mental or physical health concerns.
Further details on assessment and referral and relevant forms that can be downloaded can be found on the Community Children's Health Partnership (CCHP) page below:
Autistic Spectrum Condition Referral - CCHP | Community Children's Health Partnership
The following links may also be helpful:
Autism - HappyMaps
Home - Bristol Autism Support