Autism can be diagnosed at any age and affects males and females. Common symptoms of autism are:
Autism can be genetic or environmental. It is estimated 1 in 100 people are autistic but may not have been diagnosed. 30% are estimated to experience learning difficulties. Autistic people process information differently which may take longer. They may need extra time and patience. They are sometimes very blunt and frank. They may not look you in the eyes or shake your hand but that does not mean they are rude.
ADD and ADHD are not the same as Autism but the symptoms overlap so much that we group them under the same heading. The H stands for Hyperactivity but ADD and ADHD are in fact the same thing – it is merely a historical development of the definitions. An ADD child might be hyperactive and an ADHD child might not. ADHD is now the official terminology.
Asperger Syndrome is a form of Autistic Spectrum disorder, but sufferers are often of average or above average intelligence. They have fewer problems with speech but may still have processing problems.
Children with mild forms of ADHD or Asperger can often fit successfully into mainstream schools, provided they are treated with respect and patience. A mainstream school will certainly want to ensure that an ADHD child does not have hyperactivity behavioural problems which impinge on other pupils or cause parents to complain. There are a great number of specialist SEN schools which take autistic children.
For more information on autism refer to: The National Autistic Society (http://www.autism.org.uk/).