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Main Aspects of the Condition

There are three main areas of difficulty which all people with autism share.  They are:

  • Difficulty with social communication
  • Difficulty with social interaction
  • Difficulty with social imagination

Autism is often referred to as Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC), but the term Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is also used.  Asperger syndrome and Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) are part of the autism spectrum.

Asperger Syndrome

Asperger syndrome is a form of autism. People with Asperger Syndrome are less likely to have a learning disability and are likely to have fewer problems with speech, but will still have difficulties with understanding and processing language.

Asperger syndrome can often be associated with mental health difficulties such as anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and depression.  It is important for these not to be overlooked.

For information visit the National Autistic Society web: www.autism.org.uk

Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA)

Pathological Demand Avoidance is part of the autism spectrum.  Individuals with PDA share difficulties with others on the autism spectrum, but the central difficulty is that everyday demands and expectations cause increased anxiety, leading to avoidance.

People with PDA seem to have a better social understanding and communication skills than others on the spectrum and are able to use this to attempt to control a situation in order to alleviate anxiety.

For information visit the PDA Society web: www.pdasociety.org.uk

Related Conditions

Individuals on the Autistic Spectrum can often have an additional diagnosis of a related condition, for example ADHD or Dyspraxia.  This is referred to as a dual diagnosis.  For more information on these related conditions see our other information booklets on ADHD and Dyspraxia.