What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

Autistic Spectrum Disorder, which is often shortened to ‘autism’, is not an illness or a disease but describes a way in which the brain may work which is different from other people who are sometimes described as ‘neurotypical’.

Autism is a lifelong way of way of functioning that usually first appears in early childhood and affects how the world is perceived and how interactions with others take place.

This means that people with autism may see, hear and feel the world differently from the people around them. Autism is a spectrum condition and it is thought that while autistic people may share common difficulties, being autistic will affect them in different ways. Some autistic people may also experience learning difficulties, mental health issues or other concerns, meaning that each individual needs different types of support which is tailored specifically for them.

People on the autistic spectrum can have difficulties interpreting both verbal and non-verbal cues and may take a literal understanding of phrases used in social situations. Understanding others can also be challenging and being able to recognise the feelings or intentions of others or expressing their own emotions can be difficult. Sometimes people on the autistic spectrum may find it hard to form friendships and appear, to others to behave strangely and not in an expected way.

The world can appear unpredictable at times and routines may be important for people with autistic spectrum disorder in order to avoid the uncomfortable experience of change.

If you, or someone you care for, is affected by the difficulties described here, Glasgow Psychological Services can help you decide whether an assessment for Autistic Spectrum Disorder is an appropriate choice for you.

How Common is Autism?

Autism is much more common than most people think.

There are around 700,000 autistic people in the UK – that’s more than 1 in 100 people. Children and adults from all nationalities, cultural and social backgrounds can be autistic, although it appears to affect more men than women.  There has been some debate if this is because women are more skilled at masking the signs of autistic spectrum disorders than men and being less likely to look for an assessment and diagnosis.

There have been many labels used to describe what is now the currently called ‘Autism Spectrum Disorder’. These include autism, Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC), Classic Autism, Kanner Autism, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), High-functioning Autism (HFA), Asperger Syndrome and Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA).

If you choose to proceed with an assessment for Autism Spectrum Disorder with Glasgow Psychological Services, the assessment process will be tailored to your unique needs while using the most reliable tools available for best practice in the assessment and diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Following your assessment, we will provide you with a detailed report which discusses the outcome of your assessment and identifies the areas where support is likely bring you greatest benefit.

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