Telephone: 01227 656953  Email: info@autismkent.co.uk follow us on facebook follow

What is autism?

What is autism?

Autism is a lifelong developmental condition and affects different people in different ways. People on the autism spectrum are likely to share some of the following challenges:

Social communication and interaction difficulties

Autistic people often struggle to interpret verbal and non-verbal social communication. Challenges that are sometimes experienced include:

  • needing additional time to process what has been said, particularly when in group situations
  • taking things literally, understanding literal concepts, sarcasm or jokes
  • understanding tone of voice, facial expressions, body language, and gestures
  • regulating eye contact 

When in social interactions, people with autism often find "reading" other people difficult. They may struggle to understand other people's feelings and intentions, as well as understanding and expressing their own emotions. Challenges include:

  • initiating and maintaining conversations (e.g. small talk, social "chit-chat", conversations about a topic they're uninterested in)
  • forming and maintaining friendships/social connections
  • appearing insensitive or "without a filter" when in conversation with others
  • requiring time alone when feeling socially overwhelmed and exhausted
  • judging what is and is not socially appropriate

Repetitive or restricted behaviour

People with autism often like to have routines or rituals, which can help them to feel that their circumstances are more predictable and less confusing. In a world where there are many unwritten rules and unpredictable events, having particular routines can reduce feelings of stress, overwhelm and anxiety. 

Autistic people may also engage in repetitive behaviours such as spinning, rocking or hand/finger movements. They might repetitively use an object such as twirling a pen or using a fidget spinner. These behaviours may be enjoyable to the person or may help to reduce feelings of anxiety or stress.

Change in routine and dealing with uncertainty can be very upsetting for people with autism. Adjusting to changes in day to day routine, changes in their usual environment, or changes to planned activities can lead to difficult feelings such as anxiety, stress or anger. 

Sensory sensitivities 

Many people with autism experience a heightened sensitivity to sounds, tastes, smells, textures or visual stimuli such as light or particular shapes/patterns. Sometimes these sensory sensitivities can be distracting or can become unbearable/repulsive. The person may avoid particular situations or particular objects so as to avoid sensory overload, overwhelm or burnout.

People with autism can also be drawn to particular sensory stimuli, such as certain fabrics and textures. 

Highly focused interests or hobbies

Often from a young age, people with autism develop interests or hobbies that they are highly focused on. Autistic people often have an expert knowledge about their areas of interest and enjoy talking to other people about these interests. Examples include developing an intense interest in a particular celebrity, a period in history, a TV program, architecture, philosophy, or in a certain genre of music/film. These interests often take up a lot of their time and can provide a great deal of enjoyment, relaxation and comfort.

For face-to-face appointments we are in Whitstable, Kent, which is within easy reach of Canterbury, Faversham, Herne Bay, Maidstone, Medway, Ashford, Sittingbourne, Thanet, Dover and Deal. We also offer online consultations. Please contact us for further information or to arrange an initial consultation on 01227 656953 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


For further information please contact us on: Telephone: 01227 656953  Email: info@autismkent.co.uk.