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Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them.

It is a spectrum condition, which means that, while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways. Some people with autism are able to live relatively independent lives, but others may have accompanying learning disabilities and need specialist support. People with autism may also experience over- or under-sensitivity to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours.

Asperger syndrome  is a form of autism. People with Asperger syndrome are often of average, or above average intelligence. They have fewer problems with speech, but may still have difficulties with understanding and processing language.

Thank you to National Autistic Society Scotland for this definition, copyright 2012. You can find out more about autism and asperger syndrome at their website