Autism and learning disabilities

Autism is sometimes described as a ‘hidden disability’ because it has no physical signs. If you are an adult with autism you may be feeling excluded and invisible.  You may be experiencing inadequate healthcare services, social stigma and discrimination.

You may also be unemployed, struggling to get by on benefits, or rely on your parents for money, care and support.  You may have had problems getting proper housing to help with your independence.

However, there are a number of organisations in Warrington who can help you, and they are listed on this website: Support for adults with autism.

What is autism?

There are different terms used to describe autism such as autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), autistic spectrum condition (ASC), autistic spectrum difference and neurodiversity. There are other specific titles such as Asperger’s syndrome.

Autism is defined as a lifelong condition that affects how you communicate with, and relate to, other people. It also affects how you make sense of the world around you.

The government says there are three main areas of difficulty, shared by all people with autism, which form the basis for a diagnosis:

  • Social interaction (e.g. problems in recognising and understanding other people’s feelings and managing their own)
  • Social imagination (e.g. problems in understanding and predicting other people’s intentions and behaviour and imagining situations outside their own routine)
  • Social communication (e.g. problems using and understanding verbal and non- verbal language, such as gestures, facial expressions and tone of voice)

The autism spectrum

Autism is seen as a spectrum condition, which means that while all people with autism share certain difficulties, your condition may affect you in a different way than someone else with autism.

Some people with autism are able to live relatively independent lives but others may have accompanying learning disabilities and need a lifetime of specialist support.

  • You may experience over- or under-sensitivity to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours.
  • You may have Asperger's syndrome, which is a form of autism. People with Asperger's are often of average or above average intelligence (an IQ of 70 or above).  You may have fewer problems with speech but may still have difficulties with understanding and processing language.
  • In 2011, The National Autistic Society estimated that 50% of those with autism may also have a learning disability.
  • You may also have other conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Deficits in Attention and Motor Perception (DAMP), epilepsy, dyslexia and dyspraxia.

Warrington Joint Autism and Learning Disability Partnership Board

The Partnership Board brings together council departments and health services and other organisations that give you support. This means that everyone can share information about what is happening in Warrington. Everyone can agree what needs to be done and can check that the work they are doing fits in with what everyone else is doing.

Find out more on the council website.