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Accessibility
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Autism

All about ASL:
Autism

On this page we talk all about autism. We explain what it is and how it can affect you at school. We also share advice about how additional support for learning (ASL) can help.

What is autism?

Autism is a developmental condition. It can affect how you process information, communicate with others and interact with the world around you.

Autism is a spectrum condition – this means it affects everyone differently. It is also sometimes called autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

If you have autism then you might describe yourself as being autistic.

Autism is a different way of seeing, feeling, and experiencing things. For example, if you are autistic you may:

  • Have routines that you like to stick to
  • Dislike unpredictability and find it challenging / upsetting when your routine changes
  • Have difficulty expressing your feelings
  • Find it difficult to recognise or understand other people’s feelings
  • Find it difficult to recognise or understand body language and facial expressions
  • Be over-sensitive to things like noise, smell, light, colour, touch
  • Be under-sensitive to things like noise, smell, light, colour, touch
  • Take extra time to process information
  • Feel anxious or upset about unfamiliar situations and social events
  • Sometimes feel overloaded and overwhelmed
  • Experience powerful reactions to your emotions, your senses or too much information – these can be called ‘meltdowns’ or ‘shutdowns’
  • Have specific interests or hobbies that you focus on intensely.

Because autism is a spectrum, it presents differently for different people.

Some people might need more help with certain things, while others might need just a little.

Being autistic can give a person lot of strengths. For example, if you have autism you might:

  • Pay attention to detail and notice things that others don’t
  • Think creatively and come up with great ideas
  • Be a good problem solver
  • Be good at communicating in an honest and authentic way
  • Recognise and challenge old ways of thinking
  • Show great dedication to things
  • Be passionate learning about different topics
  • Be empathetic and sensitive to other people’s emotions.

…these are just some examples 🙂

This video explains more about autism:

Autism and learning

Autism can affect your learning and experience of school in several ways.

Some autistic people find the school environment stressful because it can be busy, noisy, and unpredictable.

For autistic pupils who experience anxiety and find socialising difficult, school can feel like a challenging place.

When we feel anxious and on edge, it can be difficult to focus on our learning and listen to lessons.

However, there are things that your school can do to help you – read on to find out more!

How can my school help?

One way your school can help you is through additional support for learning (ASL).

If you feel able to, it is a great idea to talk to an adult you trust about the things you think would help you.

Your school should work with you to identify the areas where you need extra help and come up with a plan to support you.

Do you want to hear from an autistic young person about their experience of school?

Check out this page where Jordan shares their own experience.

If you are 12-15 and having difficulty speaking to your school about support, then an organisation called My Rights, My Say can help.

You can contact them by hitting the button below.

who else can help?

There are also lots of organisations that can offer support and advice about autism – we’ve listed a few below:

Scottish Autism is an organisation dedicated to supporting autistic people to lead happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.

The National Autistic Society offer guidance about autism. They also provide advice about the challenges autistic people and their families face.

An image with a transparent background and the Childline logo - the word 'Childline' in blue. Blue text below this reads 'Online, on the phone, anytime.

Childline provides online 1-to-1 counselling where you can talk to someone about how you feel.

Click on the button below to visit their page about autism.

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