Understanding Autism

Autism is a lifelong condition which affects the way that a person communicates and relates to people and the world around them. It is a spectrum condition, which means that, while all people with autism share certain features, their condition will affect them in different ways.

There are the four key areas of difference that need to be taken into account in the education of young people with autism.

Communication

Differences in understanding and expressing communication and language, with skills ranging from individuals who are highly articulate, to others who may be non-verbal. Good language skills may mask a deep level of misunderstanding.

Social understanding

Differences in understanding social behaviour and the feelings of others, which informs the development of friendships and relationships.

Interests and information processing

Differences in perception, planning, understanding concepts, generalising, predicting, managing transitions, passions for interests, and ability to absorb auditory or spoken information.

Sensory processing

Differences in perceiving sensory information. Hypo (low sensitivity), hyper (high sensitivity), touch, sight, hearing, smell, taste, vestibular inner ear (balance), proprioceptive (body awareness).

Support in school

The impact of autism may mean that extra support may be needed, the SENCo, or special educational needs coordinator, is the school teacher who is responsible for assessing, planning and monitoring the progress of children with special needs/SEN in the school and should be the first point of contact.

Schools in Birmingham can access local authority support from the Communication or Autism Team (CAT)