Autism is a lifelong developmental condition that affects a person's social interaction, communication, interests and behaviour.
It is a spectrum disorder, which means that while all people with autism share certain difficulties, the condition affects each person differently, and symptoms can range from mild to severe.
Autism is sometimes called Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC).
What to do if you are worried about the way your child communicates and interacts with other people?
If your child is under age 5 you can discuss your concerns with your GP, nursery manager or children’s centre inclusion lead.
You may also want to contact the:
If you child is over 5 and attending school you can speak to the school's special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO) or speech and language therapist as well as your GP or the Speach and Language Service
How do children get a diagnosis of Autism?
Autism is diagnosed by observing a child or young person’s social communications and interactions to see whether their behaviour, interests, or activities have any restricted or repetitive patterns.
The assessment is carried out over time so that the child can be observed in different settings and social situations.
Once the assessment has been completed, a report will be written and shared with the child's parents or carer and, if appropriate, the child's school, nursery or other setting.
Parents and carers will be given more information about how the assessment will be conducted and when it will be finished at the start of the assessment.
What support is there if my child has been diagnosed with Autism?
The health professionals that made the formal diagnosis, along with your GP, should be able to refer you to specialist treatment. You'll also find helpful information via the Related services and External links at right.