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Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects around one in every 100 people from all backgrounds but is more commonly diagnosed in men.

A lifelong condition, ASD (or autism) can make it more difficult to make and keep relationships, communicate feelings, ideas and thoughts, handle change or deal with aspects of the environment like sounds, light or textures. For some people with ASD, this makes it hard to carry out ordinary or everyday activities.

As Autism is a spectrum condition, it affects people in different ways and we know that mental health issues are more common in children, young people and adults with ASD. With the right support, those with autism can achieve a fulfilling life.

 Young boy at window

How it can feel

Everyone with ASD will be affected in different ways. You may:

  • Often find yourself avoiding eye contact;
  • Find it difficult to speak and communicate with others;
  • Find it hard to do more than one thing at a time;
  • Prefer to communicate with single words rather than sentences;
  • Remember small details when others don’t;
  • Prefer to spend time alone, rather than with others;
  • Find it hard to understand and recognise other people’s gestures or facial expressions;
  • Need more preparation than others before doing new activities or going to new places.

Not everyone will experience all these difficulties and it's possible to feel like this without having ASD. If you believe you may have ASD, talk to your GP about your experiences.

When to seek help

Lots of research has been done into autism, so that services like ours know the best ways to help those with the condition and their families. If you're finding it difficult to manage everyday activities or are experiencing mental health issues alongside ASD, you may find some additional help beneficial.

What support is available?

We offer support in our community hubs for children and young people with ASD who are experiencing mental health issues. If you believe you or someone you love may have ASD and you would like some support for non-mental health issues, contact your GP in the first instance.

More information on Autism and support for families is available from the National Autistic Society and Autism West Midlands.