Autism spectrum disorder
Aly Gynn was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, a disorder on theautism spectrum,at the age of 45, even though he suspected he had the condition for some time.
"I actually 'self-diagnosed' three years before my formal diagnosis. I was teaching adults with autism and suddenly realised that I had a problem.
"Throughout my teaching career I had periods of Depression . I pushed myself too hard and worried intensely about my pupils. Sometimes, I came close to having a breakdown. Now I know that this was due to my Asperger syndrome.
"Despite having support from my homeopath, friends, family and GP, getting a diagnosis was very difficult. I struggled to convince doctors that I had autism because I didn't match their preconceived ideas about the disability. I think they felt that I had managed in life so far, but I just needed to know how to cope.
"Receiving the diagnosis felt like a mystery had been explained. But I was frightened of discovering how I differed from other people, and frightened of realising my areas of difficulty. I was genuinely shocked to discover that people didn't think like me, and weren't preoccupied by the same things. My sensory reactions are different. For example, I find the sound of pans banging together painful.
"I have now learnt what is good for my health, and I concentrate on my creative work. Sometimes, words come too quickly, so I have to write things down on a piece of paper.
"I'm keen to contribute and participate in future discussions about the complexity of autism and our increasing understanding of this condition."
The characteristics of autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) can vary both from person to person and across different environments. They can also be different for the same person at different times in their life.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a condition that affects social interaction, communication, interests and behavior. There's no "cure" for ASD, but speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, educational support and other interventions.
The main features of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are problems with social communication and interaction. Signs of ASD include: frequent repetition of set words and phrases, speech that sounds very monotonous or flat, preferring to communicate using single words, despite being able to speak in sentences, etc.
The exact cause of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is currently unknown. It's a complex condition and may occur as a result of genetic predisposition (a natural tendency), environmental or unknown factors.
See your GP or health visitor if your child is showing symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), or you're worried about their development. Some people with ASD grow up without their condition being recognised, but it's never too late to get a diagnosis.
There's no 'cure' for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, a range of specialist educational and behavioural programmes can help children with ASD.
Adults with ASD may also benefit from some of the treatments offered to children with ASD, such as psychological therapy and medication. Adults with ASD can live in all types of housing.
Daniel Weston, who has autism, experienced a transformation since taking up tandem cycling with his dad, Pat. "Daniels major impairment is social and communications skills, which affects his life drastically," says his mother.
Sarah Ridout lives in Exeter. At the age of 23, she was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, a condition on the autistic spectrum. "I'm passionate about raising awareness, particularly within the police force. I'm a member of the force's Disability Forum." she says.
Aly Gynn was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, a disorder on the autistic spectrum, at the age of 45, although he had suspected for some time that he had the condition.