What is autism and why is public understanding important?

Awareness and understanding of autism has improved markedly in recent times. But there is still a long way to go, as is shown by the fact that autism was the fifth most common ‘what is?’ question on Google in 2014.

All too often, we hear from individuals and families living with autism who have experienced misunderstandings or faced judgmental attitudes based on misinformed stereotypes, such as autism only affects children, all people with the condition are geniuses or that they lack empathy.

As is often the case with stereotypes, these examples are fallacies; they are also unhelpful and can be deeply upsetting for families and individuals affected by autism. They also reinforce misinformation about autism, limiting what people with the condition can achieve and making it more difficult for them to get their needs recognised and to access the right support.

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16th December 2014