Frequently Asked Questions

Q     What is autism ?
A      Have a look at:  Autism

Q     What is Asperger’s syndrome ?
A      Have a look at:  Asperger’s

Q     Who is affected by conditions on the autistic spectrum ?
A     There are over 500,000 people in the U.K. affected by autism.     One child in every 100 will be affected by Autism, Asperger’s syndrome,  Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)  or  Attention Deficit – Hyper-activity Disorder (ADHD).     These conditions appear to affect more males than females  (approx 4 to 1).

Q     What causes autism  ?
A      This is still being investigated, but research suggests genetic and environmental factors may account for changes in brain development.

Q      Is autism on the increase  ?
A     Autism has only relatively recently been properly recognized and diagnosed  (since the 60s and 70s).    Due to the broadening of diagnostic practices,  autism has become much more widely recognized of late.     Research is taking place to identify exactly how many people in the U.K. are living with autism.

Q      Is autism linked to criminal behaviour  ?
A      There is no established link.    Because of social difficulties, autistic people can be much more vulnerable to being taken advantage of.  Also a very small number can get into trouble with the law through anxiety leading to challenging behaviour,  or through impaired social understanding.

Q      Can autism be cured  ?
Autism is a life long condition – it cannot be cured.     There are a range of methods, though, of enabling and assisting learning and development.     If you are contemplating alternative medicine please have a look at our item: Can autism be cured?

Q     Is autism caused by the M.M.R. Vaccine  ?
A      This is a sensitive subject but we want to state that there is no evidence linking autism to a child having inoculations which include MMR.

Q     I have heard of Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome, but what is A.D.H.D. ?
A      The rather less well known disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a biological, brain based condition,  which is caused by a minor difference of fine tuning in the brain.     ADHD presents in two ways, impulsive, poorly self monitored behaviour and learning difficulties (attention deficit).     A child may present with one of these in isolation but most ADHD children will have both.     These weaknesses can occur in all of us but to a much lesser extent.

To qualify for a diagnosis of ADHD the child must be significantly out of step with others of the same level of development and standard of parenting.    The cut-off point between a normal, difficult temperament and ADHD requires six out of nine difficult behaviours should be found to be  present.    The child with four to five of these difficult behaviours may not fit the criteria, but they will still be a handful to manage.

Q       My child has just been diagnosed with autism.     What do I do now ?
A       Have a look at Post-diagnosis support and select Parents – of children.

Autism is both a disability and a difference.    We need to find a way of alleviating the disability while respecting and valuing the difference.”        Professor Simon Baron-Cohen

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