Autism is a 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. Many people with autism experience difficulties with social interaction and display restricted and repetitive behaviour as well as problems with verbal and non-verbal communication. This means that while all people with autism share certain difficulties, the condition and its symptoms vary from person to person.
• Difficulty with social communication, including problems using and understanding verbal and non-verbal language, such as gestures and facial expressions
• Difficulty with social interaction, such as recognising and understanding people’s feelings. People with autism may also have difficulty managing their own feelings or behaviour
• Difficulty with social imagination. People with autism have difficulty understanding and predicting other people’s intentions and behaviour and imagining situations that are outside their own routine
• Following regimented routines and activities in order to establish a sense of security and comfort and to lessen confusion and uncertainty
• People with autism may experience sensory sensitivity in one or more of the five senses, such as over or under-sensitivity to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours
• Poor co-ordination and/or difficulties with fine movement control
There may be a number of different doctors and health professionals involved in diagnosing autism. These are often psychiatrists, clinical psychologists and, in the case of children, pediatricians. The diagnostic process often includes a series of structured tasks that involve social interaction between the doctor and the patient. The person’s behaviour will be observed and analysed in detail before a diagnosis is reached. In children, signs of autism may be noticed by professional health workers during routine childhood health checks. Autism can normally be diagnosed in children at around the age of two. For adults, the usual way to get a formal diagnosis is to go to the GP and ask for a referral to a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist with experience in diagnosing autism.
How we support people with autism
European Care offers supported living services, residential services and children’s services for people with mild, moderate and severe autism. All our support is based on individuals’ needs, choices, goals and aspirations. We deliver tailored support with tasks such as washing, cleaning, cooking and budgeting, as well as support with social and recreational pursuits. We encourage and motivate each person to increase their independence and confidence and retain control over their lives. In addition to supported living, we deliver residential support in our comfortable and well-equipped care homes. We also offer educational and residential services for young people aged 8 to19 with autism and are committed to making a real difference to the lives of young people.