About ASC

An Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) is a lifelong, developmental disorder affecting the way a person communicates and relates to people around them.  

A person with an ASC can have difficulty with social interaction and can find it hard to form friendships and understand emotions.

ASC is often referred to as a "hidden disability" because of the lack of outward physical signs.  

A diagnosis of ASC is characterised by a person having difficulties in three areas (these are sometimes called the "triad of impairments"):

  • Social interaction: the ability to relate and interact with others in a socially appropriate way
  • Social communication: the ability to communicate verbally and/or non-verbally
  • Social imagination/flexibility of thought: the ability to understand and predict other peopleʼs behaviour, to understand abstract ideas and to cope with unfamiliar situations.

How ASC manifests itself varies enormously from person to person. Some people may have very limited language skills. Others may have extremely good verbal skills, although these often hide a difficulty in understanding the social use of language.

Some children with an ASC can attend a mainstream school, either with or without extra support. Other children may need a higher degree of support in a specialist school. Some children with an ASC have a learning difficulty, others do not.

Some people with an ASC have very intense interests which make them oblivious to other things. Many people with ASC have ritualistic routines, are resistant to change and may lack motivation.

People with ASC also often experience differences in the way they understand the world around them. This is often contributed to by sensory processing differences, and a lack of ability to understand other peopleʼs thoughts, feelings and points of view.

The causes of ASC are not yet known although there is evidence that ASC is associated with differences in how the brain works. These may be the result of more than one contributory factor.  


"Having an ASC is a lifelong condition, however there is much that can be done in terms of learning skills and helping to enjoy a fulfilling life.