What is autism?

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people communicate and interact with others. It’s not an illness or disease and cannot be 'cured'.

Autistic people see, hear and feel the world differently to other people. It’s a spectrum condition, so although autistic people share certain difficulties, being autistic will affect them in different ways.

Some autistic people also have learning disabilities, mental health issues or other conditions, meaning people have different levels of need. With the right support, all people on the autism spectrum can learn and develop and be helped to live a more fulfilling life.

How common is autism?

There are around 700,000 autistic people in the UK - that's more than 1 in 100. Although anyone can have autism, it appears to affect more men than women.

How do autistic people see the world?

For some autistic people the world can feel overwhelming. In particular, understanding and relating to other people, and taking part in everyday family, school, work and social life, can be harder, which can cause a lot of anxiety.

Autistic people may wonder why they are 'different' and feel their social differences mean people don't understand them. Some parents of autistic children say that other people simply think their child is naughty, while autistic adults find that they are misunderstood.

We want to help Wigan borough and its residents better understand autism and the small changes we can all make to be more autism friendly.

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