What is autism?

Autism is a lifelong, developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, and how they experience the world around them.

The National Autistic Society website gives lots of information about autism and the Autistic Spectrum. To find out more, please click here https://www.autism.org.uk/about/what-is.aspx

What is ADHD?

ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, a complex brain disorder. Neuroscience, brain imaging, and clinical research challenge the old understanding of ADHD as a behaviour disorder. We now understand that ADHD is a developmental impairment of the brain’s self-management system — its executive functions.

It usually starts in early childhood with the core behaviours of ADHD typically present from before the age of 7 years and symptoms sometimes persisting into adulthood.

What are the key symptoms of ADHD?

The symptoms of ADHD include:

Inattentiveness – inability to concentrate for a long time or finish tasks, disorganisation and forgetfulness.
Hyperactivity – fidgetiness, inability to stay still or restlessness.
Impulsivity – speaking and doing things without thinking about consequences, interrupting other people, inability to wait or take turns.

Who does ADHD affect and how common is the condition?

ADHD affects all sexes but is more common in boys (3.6%) than girls (0.85%) in the UK. Because of increasing recognition of ADHD, 3 out of every 1000 children were found to be receiving medication for the condition in the late 1990s compared to 0.5 for every 1000 children 30 years ago. It affects 3-4% of adults in the UK, as well.

For more information about ADHD, the ADHD Foundation have produced this useful resource with a great deal of information about the condition and how it should be supported.

What is Tourette Syndrome?

Tourette Syndrome (TS) is an inherited neurological condition. It affects one school child in every hundred and is more common amongst boys. Over 300,000 children and adults are living with TS in the UK.

Key features

The key features are tics – involuntary sounds and movements, which must be present for at least 12 months to meet the diagnostic criteria. Up to 85% of people with TS will also experience co-occurring conditions and features which might include Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Anxiety.

Destroying the myths about TS

TS is often misunderstood as a condition which makes people swear, or say socially inappropriate things. Although it is true that ‘coprolalia’ – the clinical term for involuntary swearing – is a symptom of TS, it only affects a minority of people. 90% of people with TS do not have coprolalia.

Who has TS?

It is estimated that TS affects one school child in every hundred and more than 300,000 children and adults in the UK live with the condition. TS is more prevelant in boys.

Currently there is no technology that can predict how TS might affect someone long-term. It is thought that approximately half of children with a TS diagnosis will see a significant reduction in their symptoms as they approach adulthood. For some people, living with TS will continue throughout their life, but symptoms are likely to wax and wane (a term often used to describe the coming and going of tics).

Source: Tourettes Action

Further help and support

For more information about treatment and support, contact the charity

Tourettes Action

What is ADHD?
What is autism?