Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them.
It is a spectrum condition, which means that while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect each of them in different ways. Some people with autism are able to live relatively independent lives but others may have accompanying learning disabilities and need a lifetime of specialist support. People with autism may also experience over-or under-sensitivity to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light and colours.
Autism currently affects 1 in 100 people in the UK.
There are around 100,000 children with autism in the UK, with around half a million family members directly affected by the condition.
Early intervention, education and support are critical in enabling children and young people with autism to lead fulfilling lives.