What is Autism?

According to the National Autistic Society, autism is a lifelong developmental disability which affects how people communicate and interact with the world. One in 100 people are on the autism spectrum and there are around 700,000 autistic adults and children in the UK

National Autistic Society


“Autism is a pervasive, neurological, developmental condition that affects about 1% of human beings, To unpack that a little, pervasive means autism affects pretty much every part of a person, their personality, their experiences, their memories, how they grow up, how they communicate, how they think and move. Basically pervasive means that autism isn’t just something that affects one part of a person, it’s not something extra that a person has tacked on to them and its also not something small that can be overlooked. Neurological indicates that it is something to do with the brain. Being autistic means your brain functions differently, the structure may be different from non autistic peoples brains and the different areas of the brain and how tgey talk to each other may be different. Developmental indicates that autism begins before birth”

Amythest Schaber


The Irish autism charity ASIAM defines autism as “In simple terms, autism is a neurological difference that many people are born with which affects how they experience the world around them and how they communicate with others”

As I Am


Whatever definition of autism speaks to us perhaps stems from our core beliefs about
autism, disability and difference. In the past we have pathologised autism in an effort to
understand what is going on in terms of what is ‘wrong’ with a person but it is extremely
important to understand that there is nothing ‘wrong’ with autistic people. The brain works
differently and therefore autistic people experience the world in different ways to non-autistic
people. It is this difference that when misunderstaood can lead to other challenges for both
the autistic person and their supporters, care givers and allies.
In Spectrum Training we believe that while in the past, professionals have been the central
voice in the narrative around autism, that this narrative in incomplete and misguided unless
the voices of autistic people, their supporters and allies are given equal status in terms of
building a better understanding of autism. We endeavour to include this multi-faceted
perspectives in all our training programmes so as to bridge that gap between neurodiversity
and neuro typical ways of experiencing the world and understanding and respecting each other.


Maria & Karen
Directors Spectrum Training.