What is autism?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a lifelong developmental disability caused by differences in the brain. These differences can affect the way a person interacts with others and the way they perceive the world. Approximately 1 in every 100 people has autism, which means there are around 700,000 autistic individuals in the UK.
Autism is a spectrum condition, which means it affects different people in different ways.
Research has shown that individuals with autism often also experience mental health issues such as anxiety. Therefore, it can be very beneficial for autistic individuals to seek help to improve their well-being. At our private psychology clinic in London, our therapists help people with autism learn new coping techniques and strategies so that they find it easier to engage in the world.
Signs and symptoms of autism disorder
People with autism communicate and interact in a different way and display repetitive or restricted behaviours. This can result in difficulties with:
- Interpreting gestures, facial expressions and tone of voice. Although some people with autism are unable to speak, others may have very good language skills but struggle to understand communication nuances like sarcasm.
- Expressing and understanding emotions. It is common for autistic people to face challenges with understanding what other people are thinking and feeling. Sometimes, they may also struggle to identify emotions within themselves.
- Forming friendships. The extra communication challenges autistic people face sometimes mean they seem cold or insensitive to other people, which can make building relationships more difficult.
- Attending social events. People with autism often experience anxiety before and during social events and may become overwhelmed in situations where they are surrounded by people.
- Dealing with uncertainty, unfamiliar situations and changes to routine. People with autism may get upset or anxious before or during unfamiliar situations, whether this may be something big like moving home or something smaller like being directed onto a detour due to roadworks.
- Processing sensory information, including over- or under-sensitivity to sounds, light, smells, tastes, touch, temperature or colour. For example, some people with autism may become stressed or overwhelmed by what other people consider background noises and barely notice. They may find loud noises and bright lights overwhelming. Sensory overload can cause many autistic people to avoid busy public situations such as shops, schools and workplaces.
- Regulating their emotions, including dealing with extreme anxiety. People with autism often find it difficult to manage their emotions, which can result in them becoming quickly overwhelmed when faced with a trigger. More than a third of autistic individuals have a serious mental health condition.
However, autism does not just present challenges. Many autistic people have highly focused interests and hobbies, such as a passion for a certain game, sport, or collectable item. They are often experts in their area of interest and enjoy sharing their knowledge with others. Their intense focus can also enable them to excel at school or work.
What causes autism?
Autism occurs as a result of differences in the brain. It is not known what causes autism (or if there even is a cause). Although, research suggests that autism may be linked to both genetic and environmental factors.
Sometimes, autism occurs in the children of parents with autism, which suggests a genetic link. And sometimes, autism occurs in children who were born prematurely, had a low birth weight or have older parents, which suggests an environmental link.
However, it is important to realise that just because these factors have been linked to autism, that does not mean they necessarily cause it. For example, most people who were born prematurely or had a low birth weight do not have autism.
It is believed that autism occurs as a result of changes to a baby’s brain development that affects the way nerve cells in the brain communicate with each other. Researchers continue to investigate these changes in the hopes of finding ways to help people with autism get better-quality support, but there is a lot about autism that scientists still do not know.
What scientists do know, however, is that autism is not caused by vaccines. Sometimes, children are diagnosed with autism around the same time they receive their first vaccinations; however, extensive research over the last 20 years has shown that there is no link between childhood vaccinations and autism.
Autism treatment at the Blue Tree Clinic
At the Blue Tree Clinic, our goal is to help all our clients live happy and fulfilled lives, no matter what neurological or mental health challenges they face.
Our team of highly-specialised doctors and therapists are trained to help you to find ways to handle overwhelming situations, manage your anxiety and improve your quality of life. If you believe you or a loved one may have autism, we have a very supportive and understanding team who are here to listen and help you get clarity with a diagnosis.
The Blue Tree Clinic offers private autism assessments in London. Our team of specialists will help you understand your diagnosis and teach you methods to overcome the challenges you have been facing. We will help you to learn strategies that enable you to feel confident and comfortable in situations that previously felt overwhelming.
We pride ourselves on being a private mental health clinic that will support you throughout your time with us and after you leave us. Please get in touch with us by completing our contact form. We can then discuss the best course of treatment to help get you on the road to a happier life.
Autism Assessments & Therapy
If you believe you are suffering from autism, we have a very supportive and understanding team who are here to listen to you and help you with your symptoms. We will help you to understand your autism, how to manage your symptoms and teach you techniques on how to deal with situations you find particularly difficult.
Here at The Blue Tree Clinic, we pride ourselves on being a private mental health clinic that will support you throughout your time with us and after you leave us. Please give our mental health specialists a call or complete our contact form. We can then discuss the best course of treatment to help get you on to the road to a happier life.