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What is Autism?

Autism is a neurological-developmental condition and it is not uncommon for people with Autism to experience emotional health difficulties, especially anxiety.

As the term ‘Autism Spectrum’ implies, the degree to which people are affected by their condition varies significantly. Each individual will have different and specific challenges, but there are four key areas in which many people with Autism are likely to have some degree of difficulty. These include:

  • Social communication

  • Social interaction

  • Social imagination (i.e. putting yourself in someone else’s shoes)

  • Sensory difficulties


If you’ve met one person with Autism, you’ve only met one person with Autism.

Sandra’s Story

When the possibility of Asperger’s was first mentioned I found it hard to accept the idea initially. However, it wasn’t long before it somehow started to feel right. I knew little about the condition, but what I had read and heard made sense – in a way that nothing else had ever made sense before.

I was 52 years old when I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. That diagnosis has been life-changing. For me it has been very positive, but not without its challenges too.

I have experienced regret, anger, frustration, bitterness, sadness, and a whole lot of other emotions.

The diagnosis has allowed me to make sense of my difficulties. Even more important, that understanding has enabled me to use or devise effective coping strategies. I am learning what works for me, what doesn’t, and why.

I am still going through a process of re-framing past events in this new context, and that is proving to be a cathartic experience. At times it can be very emotional and challenging too.

I now focus my energies on things I know I can do and that are achievable, and am learning when it is better to avoid situations or limit my exposure to certain things.

I am finally starting to build a social life that I feel comfortable with, and enjoying a variety of new experiences. I feel comfortable with myself as a person with Asperger’s Syndrome and am finding ways to make the most of the positives it brings to my life.

Asperger’s doesn’t define me, but it is an important part of who I am.

For helpful tips and things to consider when assisting and communicating with a person who has an autism spectrum condition or Asperger’s Syndrome, please see our information sheet.

For information about a sensory diet, please download our information sheet.

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