No one knows what causes autism although a great deal of research is being undertaken.
It is certain that differing factors cause varying things and that within the spectrum, a cause identified for one symptom may not be the cause for all.
It is important that once someone is diagnosed they get the best possible help as soon as possible and support is available all through life whenever new challenges arise.
Diagnosis may take place at any age although it is harder in adulthood. The starting point is a GP who can then make a referral to a diagnostic team. It is good if diagnosis takes place as a young child so that helpful strategies are identified to maximise an individual’s potential for a full and happy life.
Later diagnosis can be helpful and may explain a great deal to the person diagnosed, helping them understand and make sense of their lives as well as enabling them to access specialist support. Private routes to diagnosis are available from the National Autistic Society website.