Autism and Asperger syndrome

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. This means that, while all autistic people share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways. Some autistic people are able to live relatively independent lives, but others may have accompanying learning disabilities. Consequently they may need a lifetime of specialist support.

Autistic people may also experience over- or under-sensitivity to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours.

Asperger syndrome

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. Source: National Autistic Society

Autism is also referred to as an:

  • Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC)
  • Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Diagnosis and assessments

If you think you're autistic and would like a diagnosis, talk to your General Practitioner (GP). They will ask you some questions and find out how the condition is affecting you. They can also refer you to Harrow Autism Diagnostic Service.

If you have an autistic diagnosis and need care and support, you should receive a care needs assessment. If you'd like to receive a care needs assessment, the organisation carrying out your diagnosis will inform the relevant department. If you're not offered an assessment within a reasonable amount of time, you have the right to request one. Contact details are at the bottom of this page.

If you have a learning disability

People with a learning disability who think they have autism can receive a diagnosis from the CNWL, Learning Disabilities service. If you would like to be assessed for your social care needs you should contact Harrow Council's adult social services.

What support is available?

The organisations listed below offer support to autistic people, people with Asperger syndrome, and their families or carers:

  • The National Autistic Society: NAS is a UK charity for autistic people, people with Asperger syndrome and their families. They can provide you with information and support about Autism.
  • Centre for ADHD and Autism Support: We support those affected by a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). We also support parents, carers, and professionals associated with someone with a diagnosis. We provide information, training, support groups and practical help, and we're local.
  • Harrow Association for Disabled people: HAD provides support and information to people with disabilities. Their free advocacy service can help you have your say, to take responsibility and control of the decisions that affect you.
  • Harrow Mencap: Harrow Mencap work with and represent people with learning disabilities, their families, and carers. They ensure their needs, rights and aspirations are met.

Government strategy

The Autism Act 2009 committed the government to publishing an adult Autism strategy to transform services for autistic adults.

Fulfilling and rewarding lives: The strategy for autistic adults in England. This strategy sets out a number of key actions and recommendations for:

  • central government
  • local authorities
  • the NHS
  • Jobcentre