What is autism?

Autism is a difference not a deficit.  Autism is a term used to describe a neurological difference in brain development that has a marked effect on how a person develops.

There are four areas of difference that are particularly important for staff in post 16 settings to understand and pay attention to because most autistic young people will have individual educational needs to be met in these areas.

Every autistic young person will have a range of abilities and needs within each of these areas:

Social Understanding

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


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).


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