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Autism Anglia

Page updated - 31 August 2009


Understanding Autism

Autism is a life long neurological condition that affects approximately 1 in 110 people. This means about 500,000 people in the UK and 14,600 in Essex alone.


Autism was first identified in 1943 but there are still many misconceptions about what Autism is and how it affects people. These misconceptions are fuelled by the fact that Autism is an ‘invisible’ disability, often with no physical symptoms. The ‘invisibility’ of Autism can sometimes lead to people viewing people with Autism as badly behaved, out of control or rude.


Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) can affect people from all backgrounds, and the exact cause is not known. However, some research suggests that genetic factors are important. Although Autism occurs indiscriminately across social classes and ethnic groups, it does affect more boys than girls.


Although Autism is a life long condition, for which there is no ‘cure’, strategies can be used to help parents whose children have an Autism Spectrum Condition to manage behaviour and improve quality of life for the whole family.


Autism affects the function of the brain; this is often referred to as the ‘Triad of Impairments’ (Wing & Gold 1979). This affects three main areas:

  • Social Interaction

  • Social Communication

  • Imagination

Autism Anglia, along with Essex Police, Suffolk and Norfolk Constabularies, have produced an Autism Alert Card, which is available free of charge to anyone with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Condition. Please contact us for an application form if you would like to apply for an Autism Alert Card.


If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article, or would like any further help or advice, please contact Autism Anglia’s Family Support Team on 01206 577678 or visit www.autism-anglia.org.uk


Claire Rodie – Autism Anglia

02 August 2009