Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

ASD is a condition which affects social interaction, communication, interests and behaviour. In children with ASD, the symptoms are present before three years of age, although a diagnosis can sometimes be made after the age of three. It’s estimated that approximately 1 in every 100 people in the UK have ASD, with the condition being more highly diagnosed in boys than girls. Several interventions are available to help children and parents with this condition, including speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and educational support (NHS Inform, 2019).

Signs and Symptoms of ASD

Signs of Autism in Young Children:

  •  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 (e.g. flapping their hands, flicking their fingers or rocking their body).
  •  Not talking as much as other children.
  •  Repeating the same phrases.

Signs of Autism in Older Children:

  •  Not seeming to understand what others are thinking or feeling.
  •  Finding it hard to say how they feel.
  •  Liking a strict daily routine and getting very upset if it changes.
  •  Having a keen interest in certain subjects of activities.
  •  Getting very upset if you ask them to do something.
  •  Finding it hard to make friends or preferring to be on their own.
  •  Taking things very literally (e.g. not understanding phrases such as “break a leg”).

Autism may present differently in boys and girls; autistic girls tend to be quieter, hide their feelings and cope better with social situations, which means it is harder to spot in girls (NHS, 2019).


What is Autism? leaflet

Autism trusts:

National Autistic Society 

The National Autistic Society was founded in 1962. Their goal is to help transform lives, change attitudes and create a society that works for autistic people.


Autism Education Trust (AET)

The Autism Education Trust (AET) aims to improve the education of children and young people with autism.


Ambitious about Autism

Ambitious about Autism is the national charity for children and young people with autism. We provide services, raise awareness and understanding, and campaign for change. Through TreeHouse School and Ambitious College we offer specialist education and support.



Autistic Literature
Parent/Carer Support Groups and Information:

ADD-vance – support and empower adults, children and families with Autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and related conditions in Hertfordshire.


NAS Hertfordshire Branch – supporting families & people living with autism.  Harc is the Hertfordshire branch of the National Autistic Society.


PALMS – are a family-led service working to understand and support the significant impact of challenges experienced by families of children and young people with learning disabilities and/or ASD.


Autism Education Trust – The purpose of the Autism Education Trust (AET) is to improve the education of children and young people with autism.


National Autistic Society – Offers people with autism and Asperger Syndrome, their families and carers information, advice and support.


PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome) Society – a voice for PDA, running awareness campaigns and sharing information.


Simple Solutions Workshops – Problem solving sessions for parents/carers of children and young people aged 0-25 with Autistic Spectrum Disorder. This is an opportunity to meet with other parents and carers, to share problems and discuss practical strategies to help move forward. Please note that it is not necessary for your child/young person to have a formal diagnosis for you to attend this session.


National Council on Severe Autism – Educate the public about severe autism and related disorders, and how they require special attention and services.

Resources – National:

National Autistic Society: / 0808 800 4104

Pathological Demand Avoidance Society:

The Pathological Demand Avoidance Resource:

Special Needs Jungle:

The Challenging Behaviour Foundation:  / 0845 602 7885

Contact – for families with disabled children: / 0808 808 3555

Mencap: / 0808 808 1111

Cerebra: / 0800 328 1159

IPSEA: / 01799 582030

SOS!SEN – Supporting Children and young people with special education needs and disabilities: / 0208 538 3731

Transition Information Network:

Resources – Hertfordshire:

Kids HUBs: / 01992 504 013 (Hertford) or 01923 676 549 (Watford)

Herts Parent Carer Involvement: / 07840 360245


Hope for Autism:

Angels (North):

Spectrum Girls: /


SENDIASS: 01992 555847

Vista (St.Albans): / 01727 519224 ext 216

Facebook groups: