Autism/Autism Spectrum Disorder

Introduction

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a term used to describe a spectrum of conditions that impairs a child or a person's social interaction and communication. The condition is also associated with a number of rigid repetitive behaviours including obsessive interests and sensory difficulties.

  • It's estimated that about 1 in every 100 people in the UK has ASD. More boys are diagnosed with the condition than girls.
  • Although a child or a person is born with the condition, it may not always be diagnosed in childhood.
  • Not all children with apparent ASD behaviours may have another diagnosis.

How is the Autism diagnosed?

If you are concerned that your child or young person may have ASD please seek advice form your GP. It’s helpful to have school/nursery aware of your child’s needs. They are often asked to provide the doctors with reports on your child. The process of assessment is based on information from multiple sources, history taking and information from other professionals as relevant, and observation. This process can be time consuming; however, while your child is being assessed, all professionals should aim to support the child or young person’s functional needs. Regardless of diagnosis or not, the child’s need should be supported.

Local and National websites and support groups on ASD:

  • National Autistic Society:www.autism.org.uk/ - This website includes information about autism and Asperger’s syndrome, the national autistic society, its services and activities
  • Hertfordshire Autism Resource Centre: www.harc-online.org.uk/ - The Hertfordshire branch of the National Autistic Society
  • ADDVance: www.add-vance.org/  A service for families and individuals who have ADHD or Autistic Spectrum Disorder diagnosis
  • Hope for Autism : www.hopeforautism.org/- A local support group for families who have a child with autism
  • Spectrum Girls : Societyspectrumgirls@sky.com- is a social group for high functioning autistic / Asperger’s' girls of all ages
  • Space - www.spaceherts.org.uk/-  Space is a Hertfordshire based charity supporting parent/carers of children and young people on the Autistic Spectrum, with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or a related condition.
  • www.hertsdirect.org/docs/pdf/d/18889927.pdf - Review of educational provision in Hertfordshire for children and young people on the autism spectrum