Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Social Communication Disorders like Autism and Asperger’s are a lifelong developmental disability, which affect how an individual communicates with, and relates to other people. These conditions are often also characterised by restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviour, interests or activities, or strong preferences. Because it is a “spectrum” condition it varies in severity from” low functioning” to “high functioning” any one person with ASD will be different to another. Although all people with ASD will have impairments in the same three areas Language and Communication, Social Interaction, and Flexibility – the degree and intensity to how each of these impairments exist will be different in every individual.
Given the nature of impairments seen in adults with ASD, they can often experience a range of cognitive, medical, emotional and behavioural problems alongside. People with ASD can experience physical problems, mental health problems, relationship difficulties, friendship difficulties, sleep problems, eating problems, anxiety, depression, ADHD, and sensory sensitivities. All of these problems together can substantially affect a person’s quality of life, relationships, employment, self-esteem, and can create a social vulnerability.
Simple screening tests are available but should not be seen as an alternative to proper assessment and diagnosis. A careful assessment is needed to get an accurate picture of symptoms, and their effect on the individual. A diagnosis can often bring with it relief, as it provides an explanation, and also enables support to be accessed, such as help at university and in employment.