People with autism often have additional diagnoses including ADHD, dyspraxia, dyslexia, and anxiety.  Some people with autism may have difficulties sleeping, have a limited range of interests, and have fixed routines. People with autism can display behaviours that are challenging and this includes aggression and self injury. Challenging behaviour is often a form of  communication or born of frustration. Understanding a person with autism, their needs, and teaching functional communication can support them to regulate their feelings and behaviour.    

People with autism have difficulties with social interaction.  Through early development they often do not share attention with others, find it difficult to learn using imitation, and are impaired  in their social understanding.  From early development children with autism miss many of the milestones that lead to the ability to form friendships, understand other's feeling and emotions, and to make sense of other people's behaviour.  Our social imagination enables us to cope in new and unfamiliar situations, and to adapt to change.  Difficulties understanding the social world affects the ability to form friendships and can lead to anxiety in people with autism.

One of the main difficulties that people with autism have is with social communication.  Some people with autism are non-verbal, or have limited speech, and may use alternative methods to communicate.  Others may have spoken language that is unclear, restricted to a limited range of topics, or repetitive (echolalia).  People with autism may require additional time to process what they hear. Understanding can be literal and phrases, jokes, and sarcasm may be  misunderstood.  

Approximately 1 in every 100 children receive a diagnosis of autism.  It affects social understanding, communication, and can lead to restricted , repetitive patterns of thought and behaviours.  Many young people with autism have an accompanying diagnosis such as ADHD, anxiety, learning difficulties, and complex challenging behaviour.  Autism is a spectrum, and the level of support a young person will need throughout their life will vary depending on the severity of their symptoms.  People with autism have difficulties in three main areas.  These are difficulties in Social Communication, Social Interaction, and Social Imagination.  Autism is a spectrum disorder, meaning that some people will be affected more than others.  

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Many people with autism will also have an accompanying learning disability.  Some with learning disabilities will go on to live relatively independent lives.  All people with autism can learn and develop with the right level of support, but some may require specialist support throughout their lives.  Sensory difficulties are often experienced where senses are intensified (hypersensitive), or under-sensitive (hypo sensitive).  Sights, sounds, touch, taste & smell can be unbearable and cause anxiety and even pain.  Some people may not experience pain or extreme temperatures and will rock or spin to stimulate their senses.