What is Autism?
Autism is a neurodivergent spectrum condition. All autistic people share certain difficulties but being autistic will affect them in different ways. The official term is still 'autism spectrum disorder' (ASD). However, there is a drive to move away from ‘disorder’ and use ‘conditions’ instead, ASC.
Additional terms to help to describe the particular autism profile presented by an individual, such as Asperger profile or PDA profile can be used. (Click here for further information)
Autism is not as simple as high or low functioning, or ‘mild’ and ‘severe’
People with autism can have challenges or differences in the following areas:
Imagination and rigidity of thought.
Sensory processing (Click here for further information)
Anxiety is also often a key feature of autism. Click here for more information on anxiety.
Masking is where people with ASC hide their difficulties in public, particularly in school. This can lead to a lack of understanding from school staff or relatives etc.
Masking is exhausting and can explain why children can come home from school like “a shaken up can of fizzy drink”.
Masking can lead to sensory and emotional overload, poor self-esteem and meltdowns.
Masking can be subconscious and so it is not a straightforward process for a child to stop masking.
Meltdowns in autism are different to wilful or chosen behaviour (or a tantrum)
Some people have “internal meltdowns and become very withdrawn
A meltdown is like a panic attack and should not be seen as punishable
Rational thought or conversation is often not possible during a meltdown
A useful animated explanation of autism
Useful Websites - Support for Parents
Special Educational Needs & Disabilities information, advice and support
Speaking up for the families of children & young people with additional needs in Surrey. Giving parents a strong collective voice, a forum to share knowledge and empowerment to improve opportunities for our children
Independent Provider of Special Education Advice (known as IPSEA) offers free and independent legally based information, advice and support to help get the right education for children and young people with all kinds of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
This website provides local information on pre and post diagnosis for children and young people with additional needs, their families and the practitioners who help them.
The Children and Young People's Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Service
A Surrey based organisation are a not for profit organisation run to benefit autistic girls and women, and those around them. We are proudly lived-experience led, and we source neurodivergent input and talent at every opportunity.
Parent-led information, resources and informed opinion about children and young people 0-25
Autism Information Websites
The National Autistic Society (NAS) offers a wealth of information in all areas of autism including recommended publications and up to date research.
They have regional services for Surrey, click here
The AET is a partnership of autistic young people, parents/carers, academics and professionals. This, coupled with our approach to research and evidence-based resources, means that we have expert knowledge to share.
We stand with autistic children and young people, champion their rights and create opportunities
Details services and support for people on the Autistic spectrum, their families and people who work with them.
We are the UK’s leading autism research and campaigning charity. Our mission is to create breakthroughs that enable all autistic people to live happier, healthier, longer lives.
There are a huge amount of publications on autism aimed at children, parents and siblings. The ones most widely used by Learning Space with children and young adults are:
All Cats Are on the Autism Spectrum
by Kathy Hoopman
The ASD Workbook: Understanding Your Autism Spectrum Disorder
by Penny Kershaw
The Reason I Jump: one boy's voice from the silence of autism
by Naoki Higashida
The Awesome Autistic Go-To Guide: A Practical Handbook for Autistic Teens and Tweens
by Yenn Purkis & Tanya Masterman
A Different Kind of Normal: My Real-Life COMPLETELY True Story About Being Unique
by Abigail Balfe