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People with autism have said that their world can often seem like a mass of people, places and events which they struggle to make sense of, and which can cause them considerable anxiety. In particular, understanding and relating to other people, and taking part in everyday family and social life may be harder for them. Other people appear to know, intuitively, how to communicate and interact with each other, and some people with autism may wonder why they are different.

Autistic Spectrum Conditions are also known as Pervasive Development Disorders (PDD) and are characterised by deficits in:

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  • social interaction
  • verbal and non verbal communication
  • repetitive behaviours or interests

Many people and children in particular will also experience sensory differences and present with unusual responses. The autism spectrum includes

  • Classic Autism, typically involving associated learning disabilities/difficulties and delay in language
  • Asperger’s
  • Deficits in Attention and Motor Perception (DAMP)
  • DAMP also combines with Attention Deficit Hyperkinetic Disorder (ADHD)
  • Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD)
  • people who do not meet specific criteria for autism or Asperger’s but present with symptoms of both ADHD or DCD and are often diagnosed as having PDD.

The word spectrum is used because, while all people with autism share three main areas of difficulty, their condition will affect them in very different ways. Some are able to live relatively everyday lives; others will require a lifetime of specialist support at different times in their lives and may need crisis intervention from time to time. It can be hard to create awareness of autism; parents of children with autism often say that other people simply think their child is naughty while adults find that they are misunderstood.

Cornwall Autism Partnership (CAP) commissioned an Autism Transitions film to explore the issues young people with autism face whilst moving to adulthood and the adult world. It tells several individuals’ stories, looking at issues and barriers, but also highlights what some people have achieved. CAP’s motto is “Building a better and brighter future for people with autism in Cornwall”, and they hope that the film will help them to achieve that, by raising awareness of the issues faced by people living with autism. Please take a look at the video below.

Please note: the organisation Jelibean mentioned in the video no longer exists.