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

Autism is a spectrum condition, which means that while all people with autism will share certain difficulties, individuals will be affected in different ways.  Some people with autism are able to live relatively independent lives but others may have accompanying learning disabilities and need ongoing support.

The three main areas of difficulty which all people with autism share are sometimes known as the 'triad of impairments'.

These are:

Difficulty with social communication

This relates to differences in a person’s use of verbal or non-verbal communication and their understanding of communication used by others.

Difficulty with social interaction

People with Autism find it difficult to make sense of the social world and may not understand social rules.

Difficulty with social imagination/flexibility of thought

People with Autism can be rigid in their thoughts/behaviours/play and often prefer facts and logic.  They may find it difficult to imagine how others are going to react in a given situation and to make predictions about the future.

Autism is also associated with some degree of Sensory Sensitivity.  This means a person with Autism may experience sensory sensations differently.  This includes the sensations of touch, taste, sight, sound, smell and balance.

These may be pleasant or unpleasant, comfortable or uncomfortable.

Fife One Stop Shop Leaflet


Support Pack Following Diagnosis (children)

Autism Initiatives

National Autistic Society

Scottish Autism