Autism and Asperger Syndrome

What is Autism?

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects the way a person communicates and relates to people around them. Children and adults with autism have difficulties with everyday social interaction. Their ability to develop friendships is generally limited as is their capacity to understand other people’s emotional expression.

People with autism are not physically disabled in the same way that a person with cerebral palsy may be; they do not require wheelchairs and they ‘look’ just like anybody without the disability. Due to this invisible nature it can be much harder to create awareness and understanding of the condition.

Because an autistic child looks ‘normal’ others may assume they are naughty or the parents are
not controlling the child. Strangers frequently comment on this ‘failing’.

People with autism can often have accompanying learning disabilities but everyone with the condition shares a difficulty in making sense of the world.

What are the characteristics of autism?

People with autism generally experience three main areas of difficulty; these are known as the
triad of impairments.

  • Social interaction (difficulty with social relationships, for example appearing aloof and indifferent to other people)
  • Social communication (difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication, for example not fully understanding the meaning of common gestures, facial expressions or tone of voice)
  • Imagination (difficulty in the development of interpersonal play and imagination, for example having a limited range of imaginative activities, possibly copied and pursued rigidly and repetitively).

In addition to this triad, repetitive behaviour patterns and resistance to change in routine are often characteristic.

What is Asperger Syndrome?

Asperger syndrome is a form of autism, a condition that affects the way a person communicates and relates to others. A number of traits of autism are common to Asperger syndrome including difficulty in social relationships, difficulty in communicating, limitations in imagination and  creative play.

Asperger syndrome is usually used for those who are more able, who have better language development and who try to make social contacts but in naive and inappropriate ways. People with Asperger syndrome do not usually have the accompanying learning disabilities associated with autism; in fact, people with Asperger syndrome are often of average or above average intelligence.

Because of this many children with Asperger syndrome enter mainstream school and, with the right support and encouragement, can make good progress and go on to further education and employment.

ASD Info Wales

This is the national site for Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Here you will find information about Autistic Spectrum Disorders (including Autism and Asperger Syndrome), service details, training opportunities and updates on the implementation of the ASD Strategic action Plan for Wales.

You will also find downloadable resources that can be shared with individuals with ASD, their family and carers.

This site is aimed at those working with children and adults with ASD.

Access the website at 

Wales Government Strategies on Autism- updated December 2016

The Welsh Government has consulted with parents families and people with autism and related conditions to develop a strategic action plan and delivery plan that aims to ensure people are better supported.

The Plan outlines actions to:

  • introduce a 26-week waiting time target from referral to first appointment for children with autism
  • transform the education support for children with ASD
  • implement a national assessment pathway for children
  • improve employment opportunities for people with autism
  • support organisations to become Autism-friendly
  • raise awareness of information and resources.

For more details visit the Welsh Government website here.

Cardiff and the Vale councils have pooled resources to fund a resource for adults with ASD. It is based in Penarth and can offer a range of support services.The Vale of Glamorgan website has more information on services available for adults on the spectrwm here In addition to these resources you will find information on our main website here

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