Redbridge SERC



Autism is a lifelong developmental disability. It is part of the autism spectrum and is sometimes referred to as an autism spectrum disorder, or ASD.

The word 'spectrum' is used because, while all people with autism share three main areas of difficulty, their condition will affect them in very different ways.

The three main areas of difficulty which all people with autism share are sometimes known as the 'triad of impairments'. 

They are:

  • difficulty with social communication
  • difficulty with social interaction
  • difficulty with social imagination

Fact sheets

Training / Help

Further help and support can be obtained from:

  • Early Years Assessment Service
  • Hatton Outreach
  • Little Heath Outreach
  • Speech and Language 
  • Occupational Therapist


Screenshot for video: Autism simulation

Autism simulation

This video will give you an idea of what its like to walk down a city/town street when you have autism.

Learning Aids

Twinkl Website great resources

Twinkl Website great resources

Available from: Twinkl resources

Highly recommended This is a great site with great clear resources for Literacy, Numeracy, Assessment, Language, Rewards, Visual timetable, Curriculum areas


Stickman Communication

Stickman Communication

Stickman Communications create brilliantly simple cards to help communicate a variety of conditions/ disabilities. They currently cover; * ASD * Sensory overload * Allergies  * Medical conditions  * Bowel and bladder conditions * Hypermobility and EDS * Migraine * Seizures * POTS /SVT * Visual impairment * Mental Health *…
Full Size image


Frequently Asked Questions

  • What to you mean by social imagination difficulties?

    Students with autism can have difficulty with:

    • understanding other people's thoughts, feelings and actions
    • predicting 'What could happen next?'
    • sense of danger
    • engaging in imaginative play, although some students will have certain pretend play games they like to replay over and over
    • change 
    • unfamiliar situations

    However difficulties with imagination must not be confused with lack of imagination/creativity, as some students with Autism/Aspergers can have a particular talent in a specific area.

  • Why are routines important?

    The difficulty with interpreting language, processing sensory stimuli etc. can mean the world is a very stressful/challenging place for students with Autism.

    The world can seem very unpredictable and a confusing place, therefore elements of the day that can be routine and predictable help students settle and interpret the daily events.

    Change to routine and structure with no warning, can lead to students becoming very distressed. The need for routine can become obsessional, leading to students demanding the same cup, type of cereal etc. so a mix of routine features with some changes that are prepared for, is best. Life can be very variable and it would be very difficult to keep all factors consistent, so students do need support to experience new things, however this needs to be planned for and be surrounded either side with experiences that are calming. 

  • What do you mean by social communication difficulties?

    Autistic students can have difficulty

    • interpreting body language
    • interpreting spoken language and often they will understand language in a very literal manner 
    • using or understanding jokes, sarcasm, facial expressions, common phrases or tone of voice

    Some students who have Autism

    • do not speak and access alternative forms of communication e.g. signs, symbols, communication apps
    • can repeat a phrase or sound this is known as echolalia
    • can be fixated upon specific topics of interest
  • What to you mean by social interaction difficulties?

    'Socialising doesn't come naturally- we have to learn it'.

    Students with autism can have difficutly:

    • recognising or understanding other people's emotions and feelings
    • expressing their own feelings
    • understanding unwritten social rules eg personal space, inappropriate topic of conversation
    • expressing empathy and can appear insensitive
    • mixing in large groups, preferring time alone
    • behaving appropriately when stressed or upset
    • forming friendships or they can develop an obsessive interest in one person/activity
  • Are there different names used for students who are on the Autistic spectrum?

    There are several different names used to identify the different aspects of the spectrum:

    • ASD- Autistic Spectrum Disorder
    • Classic autism
    • Kanner autism
    • Pervasive developmental disorder (PDD)
    • High functioning autism ( HFA)
  • What is sensory sensitivity?

    Students with Autism can experience sensory sensitivity with one or more senses.

    Senses can become intensified (hypersensitivity) or under-sensitive (hypo-sensitive).

    This can mean students can find sensory stimulation overwhelming and they can process sound, light, smell to a much higher level resulting in the stimuli being perceived as unbearably loud or distracting.

    Watch the Autism simulation video clip listed on the Autism web page- this illustrates this point very well.

    Alternatively students cannot process pain, temperature, pressure in the same way and can often present as being very 'heavy handed' or seeking pressure through their body e.g. leaning on other people, clapping etc

Family Resources

Autism UK


Autism UK aims to provide up to date information relating to Autism focusing upon news, historical overview, research, data.

The National Autistic Society


Comprehensive website which specific advice for families with specific advice relating to:

  • home enviroment
  • toys and leisure ideas
  • behaviour support
  • oral health

Contact a family


A UK wide charity providing advice, information and support to parents of all disabled children.