Autistic Spectrum Disorders

Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is the generic term used for a range of disorders affecting the development of social interaction and imagination. Asperger Syndrome is a form of autism, a condition that affects the way a person communicates and relates to others.

A number of traits of autism are common to Asperger Syndrome; both can give those affected severe problems in making sense of experiences and other peoples' thoughts and feelings and difficulty in acquiring the subtle, unspoken rules of social interaction, especially in a complicated, constantly changing social world.

There is strong evidence to suggest that autism can be caused by a variety of physical factors, all of which affect brain development.

Some carers, frequently parents of autistic children, can experience sensations of guilt, especially early on, that somehow "it's my fault". This is not the case, however. ASD does not come about because of emotional deprivation or the way a person has been brought up.

To help cope with the responsibility of caring for someone with autism, sharing in the experience of others can help to relieve the pressure. Hearing about somebody else's child displaying the same symptoms as yours, for example, could help you to realise that you're not alone, especially at the beginning when these feelings can be common.

The following sites provide a whole range of useful information relating to Autism and Asperger's:

Autism: An Overview

Or visit our discussion boards or chat room to contact people in similar situations and pick up invaluable expert emotional support and practical advice.