Autism and Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) affect how people think, behave and communicate

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Forward Thinking Birmingham logoMental health advice from Pause, part of Forward Thinking Birmingham

People are born with autism and ASC - they are lifelong conditions and no one knows exactly what makes some people have them and others not. Many people with autism and ASC share similar symptoms, including finding it difficult to tell people what they need or how they feel, to make and keep friends, to process everyday information and to understand what other people think and feel. There are also lots of positives that come with having autism and ASC, and lots of famous and successful people are known to have it. Having someone with autism or ASC in your family may feel stressful sometimes, and really rewarding at other times.

Autism is considered to be a spectrum because it affects people very differently and people experience the range of symptoms differently. Some people with autism cannot use speech, others are very good with words. People with a particular type of autism called ‘Asperger’s Syndrome’ usually have fewer problems learning to speak and speaking.

Top tips for living with autism

  • Communication: It is important to find the best ways of communicating with others if you have autism or ASC. This can be symbols, email, noises, anything.
  • Understanding: Children and young adults with autism and ASC view the world very differently to others, therefore, the same situation can be viewed very differently by two different people. This does not mean that one person is right or wrong. Learning to understand each other takes time and patience but is important, especially for family life.
  • Senses: People with autism and ASC are often over- and under-sensitive to different things such as touch, sound and taste. This can be a good thing and a bad thing. Everyday situations can be difficult to manage, so it is a good idea to work out what type of sensory stuff relaxes you eg a soft piece of fabric, a special smell.
  • Prepare: Sometimes people with autism or ASC take a bit longer to do things. This might be because they get distracted, because they don’t want to do things, because the sensory experience is too much or their concept of time is a bit different. Giving extra times for things (especially in the mornings) can help to keep things a bit more stress-free.
  • Relaxation: Anxiety is really common in people with autism and ASC, so it is really important that you get to know what relaxes you best.
  • Teaching others: Autism and ASC is thought to be pretty common, but everyone is unique! If you choose to share with friends and family about your autism or ASC, make sure it is your experience of autism or ASC. You can rehearse and practice a way of explaining it to others.

Top clips and stories for children with autism

Top Apps

  • Brain in Hand: on-demand personalised support system
  • Google calendar: use a calendar to colour code your routine
  • Shapes Toddler Preschool: learn shapes and more with fun games, quizzes, flashcards and puzzles. Approved by teachers, parents and toddlers (ages 0-5)
  • Toddler Kids Puzzles Puzzingo: multiple interactive puzzle animations (ages 0-12)
  • Baby Sign and Sing: your baby or toddler will love signing along with the adorable Baby Sign and Learn animated characters (ages 0-5)
  • Learn with Rufus: encourages children to have fun learning colours, shapes, and other groups of common objects (0-5)

Extra information - including how to help children and young people with autism

Local services