Frequently Asked Questions
What is autism?
Autism spectrum condition is the name for a range of similar conditions that affect people’s social interaction, communication, interests, and behaviour.
How do I know what type of autism someone has?
All autistic people who are diagnosed receive an autism spectrum condition diagnosis, indicating that autism is a spectrum with each autistic individual having different traits and needs. The autistic community find that labels, including functioning labels, can be extremely unhelpful as they do not celebrate achievements and can conversely trivialise the difficulties autistic people can face in an allistic world.
What does your charity do?
Autism Puzzles provides a bespoke outreach service supporting families going through (and following) diagnosis of autism. Through workshops, clinics, guest speakers, and family-fun sessions, we help autistic people understand the puzzle of the allistic world whilst guiding parent/carers as they navigate the sometimes-perplexing world of special education provision and other support systems. Our aim is to end the stigma surrounding autism within society and empower families to achieve positive outcomes for themselves. With core staff all having autistic children, and many being autistic themselves, our insight and experience are invaluable to the families they support.
How do you help reduce stigma?
AP expands on the Welsh Government Strategy to raise awareness of autism in towns, cities and local communities across Wales by creating ‘Autism Champions’. We provide fun and interactive workshops, run and hosted by autistic individuals and parents of autistic children, and offer organisations and businesses of all sizes (including schools) an opportunity to engage in continued professional development that will enhance the day-to-day experiences of thousands of autistic people. We also provide autism awareness assemblies tailored to pupils of all ages, from Foundation Phase up to Key Stage 3.
Why are there more autistic people these days?
There isn’t an increase in the number of autistic people, however it’s understandable to think there could be. Research, clearer understanding regarding autism being a spectrum, and more comprehensive diagnostic criteria have all contributed to an increase in autistic people receiving a diagnosis. This is particularly visible within the adult community, as people are receiving a diagnosis after years of struggling to understand the world around them, and why they felt different.
Why is my toddler being assessed, surely they’re too young?
Research has shown that early intervention is key to achieving positive outcomes for the autistic person. It is not about changing who the person is, or trying to rid them of their autistic traits, it’s providing the tools and guidance for the autistic person to be able to navigate a world designed for and by allistic people. If done early, there is a positive shift in the well-being of the autistic child and adult. Whilst early intervention is beneficial, it is never too late to understand and support your child.
What causes autism?
Autism is a neuro-developmental condition which affects the way the brain processes information. As yet, scientists have not conclusively found what causes autism, although it is thought that genetics is a key contributor, something which is currently being researched in more detail. It is known, however, what doesn’t cause autism: vaccinations , parenting styles and foods such as cow’s milk are not linked to autism, and any previous research into these areas has been debunked.
Can autism be cured?
Autism is a life-long condition; autistic children will become autistic adults. Whilst therapies can help with things like speech and language development, and sensory differences, it doesn’t mean that the person is no longer autistic. We believe that greater understanding and acceptance of autism are key, and that focus should be on making life and the world easier and more comfortable for autistic people to live in.
Many autistic adults wouldn’t want to change their autism – it’s who they are – and they would be offended by anyone trying to cure them.
 NHS Choices – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/autism/
 Autism and Vaccinations – http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264410X14006367?np=y