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World Autism Acceptance Week

This month the world will be celebrating Autism Acceptance Week - a way of educating people about Autism and celebrating the achievements of Autistic people around the world!

Within the UK it is estimated that there are around 700,000 Autistic people, a developmental condition that affects how people communicate and relate to the world around them. This can affect how Autistic people communicate with others and the processing of sights, sounds and changes in their environment. Autism is known as an invisible disability because you cannot tell just by looking at someone that they have autism - it can present itself in different ways in different people.

Even though Autism affects many, some people do not fully understand what it is or why some people react or behave differently. This is why events like Autism Awareness Week are important for spreading awareness and helping to make the world more accepting - a place where everyone is welcome. 

Common signs of Autism in adults and older children include:

  • finding it hard to understand what others are thinking or feeling

  • getting very anxious about social situations

  • finding it hard to make friends or preferring to be on your own

  • seeming blunt, rude or not interested in others without meaning to

  • finding it hard to say how you feel

  • taking things very literally – for example, you may not understand sarcasm or phrases like "break a leg"

  • having the same routine every day and getting very anxious if it changes

Common signs of Autism in young children include:

  • not responding to their name

  • avoiding eye contact

  • not smiling when you smile at them

  • getting very upset if they do not like a certain taste, smell or sound

  • repetitive movements, such as flapping their hands, flicking their fingers or rocking their body

  • not talking as much as other children

  • not doing as much pretend play

  • repeating the same phrases

If you think you or your child has signs of Autism, speak to your GP or health professional and ask about getting referred for an Autism assessment. If diagnosed, there are national charities and support groups that can offer advice and guidance on living with Autism, and supporting friends and family with the condition.

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