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Autism is a developmental disorder that ranges in severity from Aspergers, where there is mild to high functioning in everyday life, to severe autism with very low functioning.

All of those on the autistic spectrum suffer from the triad of impairment where they have difficulty in 3 key areas...

1) Social communication - where autistic people have speech difficulties and for some people, they struggle to understand informal language, like sarcasm, and body language. The extent to which they struggle with speech depends on the severity of their autism. Some won't want to communicate at all while others are quite happy to. 

2) Social interaction - where they struggle to interact/connect with other people due to not being able to understand others emotions or to express their own. As a result of this, they tend to prefer being by themselves and playing by themselves rather than others in a nursery for example. 

3) Social imagination - people on the spectrum find it hard to imagine what is going to happen next in a situation and hence the consequences of doing something. This results in them struggling to adapt to new environments/situations. 

Autistic savants: where someone with autism has a special skill that they're really good at. Eg, maths.

Those on the autistic spectrum also have problems with processing information from their senses as autism impairs their ability to do this. This means they tend to feel bombarded with senses and get irritated by certain noises as they appear very loud to them. Also, they struggle to get used to background noise.

The repetition of particular behaviours/routines is also a characteristic associated with autism. They sometimes carry out the same activity again and again. Eg, taking the last jigsaw piece out of a puzzle and putting it back…


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