The term ‘autism’ is commonly used to describe all diagnoses on the autism spectrum including classic autism, Asperger syndrome and high-functioning autism.
Autism is much more common than most people think. It is estimated that around 700,000 people in the UK have a diagnosis of autism and current research suggests it affects that’s around 1 in every100 people. On this basis given the estimated population of the North West of England this could be as many as 75,000 people in this area alone.
Some people live with autism for their entire life without ever having a formal diagnosis. Often this is simply because autism wasn’t widely known or understood when they were growing up. For adults, a diagnosis of autism can help to explain why they have always found certain things difficult. For children, it can mean that the right support is put in place from an early age.
It is suggested that at least one in three adults with autism experience severe mental health difficulties due to a lack of appropriate and specialist support and treatment and that nearly two-thirds of adults with autism in England do not have enough of the right types of support to adequately meet their needs.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is the term introduced by Drs. Lorna Wing & Judy Gould in 1979 following the Camberwell Study to describe the range of presentation of autism from classic autism described by Kanner to Asperger syndrome.Wing further described Autism Spectrum Disorder as being characterised by a Triad of Impairments. This helps in understanding and managing challenging behaviour of autistic patients.
Over recent years there has been much debate surrounding terminology and the terms autism spectrum disorders and autism spectrum conditions. However in our Autism Spectrum Conditions Hospital, we have adopted the term autism spectrum conditions which are aligned to our principles, our core values, our approach and our philosophy and are less stigmatising.
At ASC Healthcare, we particularly agree with the work of Professor Sir Simon Baron- Cohen et al (2009) that use of the term autism spectrum condition acknowledges that people with the condition have particular and unique strengths and abilities despite their range of disabilities requiring a medical diagnosis.
Baron-Cohen, S. et al., (2009). Prevalence of autism-spectrum conditions: UK school-based population study, The British Journal of Psychiatry. [online], 194, 500-509. Available from: www.autismresearchcenter.com