What is Autism?

BSL Support

Autism is a lifelong developmental condition that affects the way a person may communicate and relate to the world around them.

It can be a 'hidden disability'.  People may not be able to tell that you have Autism from your appearance alone. This makes it difficult to understand certain behaviours.

Autistic people have a wide spectrum of skills and needs. Some can manage day-to-day activities, others may need support. They may have a lot of skills, but also difficulty starting and finishing tasks.

This can mean that they spend a lot of effort trying to mask the areas that they find difficult. Every autistic person is unique and it is a part of who they are. It is not an illness and does not need to be cured.

Difficulties and sensitivities experienced with Autism

Autistic people are likely to experience:

  • Difficulties with social communication and interaction for example confusion in understanding and using verbal/ non language
  • Restricted and repetitive routines, behaviours and interests.

In addition, many autistic people find processing information difficult and can be over sensitive or under sensitive to certain things such as:

  • Smells
  • Tastes
  • Light, colours or patterns
  • Soundtouch, pain or temperature
  • Balance (Known as vestibular awareness)
  • Body awareness (Known as proprioception).

These sensitivities can affect the way they process information. This may cause them to avoid certain situations.

Those with poor body awareness may spin around to feel where they are. This is known as stimming.

Examples of stimming includes:

  • Hand-flapping
  • Rocking
  • Pacing
  • Hair stroking.

It can be of comfort and help in dealing with sensory or information overload. It should not be stopped, unless there are risks to the person or others that outweigh the benefits of the stimming behaviour

Our Aim

In Newham all public, voluntary and independent organisations work collaboratively to improve services for:

  • Autistic people
  • Their families
  • Their carers.

We want to support autistic people to:

  • Be independent,
  • Have choice and control to live fulfilling lives
  • Be fully participating members of the wider community
  • Voice their opinions and experiences
  • Have services that meet their individual needs.