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Autism - Overview

Autism is a life-long neurological condition that affects how an individual cognitively processes or ‘makes sense’ of the world. This, in turn, influences how the person responds and behaves. This response and behaviour relates specifically to:

  • Verbal language processing (meaning of speech)
  • Non-verbal language processing (facial expressions, body language)
  • Abstract concepts (hidden agendas, reading between the lines, decision-making, contextual thinking)
  • Social understanding (picking up signals and cues)
  • Sensory environmental difficulties (noise, touch etc.)
  • Autism is not always accompanied by any intellectual impairment or learning disability, meaning that individuals with Autism are often intellectually able. This ability can, however, mask the extent of the difficulties faced and the behavioural presentation of the condition can be virtually invisible, often only becoming evident when the individual is under great stress and their usual coping mechanisms fail them.

    Throughout their lives, Adults with Autism learn that their natural behaviour is often deemed unacceptable and that they must ‘work out’ how to get on with people and life in general in a different way, usually as a result of negative feedback. This results in people working hard to ‘mask’ their differences, meaning individuals can appear to be far more capable than they actually are and the condition being largely ‘invisible’. In addition, individuals with Autism experience high levels of stress, depression, anxiety, exhaustion and mental health problems. This can be due to the effort involved in ‘working out’ what to do, in situations that people without Autism do intuitively and with little effort. An example is knowing whether someone is angry by reading their facial expression and then working out what they require as a response. The impact on the individual is significant and exhausting, even though it may not appear to be the case externally.

    Dyslexia Unlocked offers support, training and advice to individuals and organisations to address the challenges faced by people with neuro-diverse conditions in order to unlock skills and abilities.