What is Autism?
Autism is a lifelong developmental condition which affects how someone thinks and feels and how they communicate and interact with the world around them.
Autism can occur with other mental health and neurodevelopmental conditions, such as anxiety, depression, ADHD among others.
Autism is a spectrum condition and affects people in different ways. Like everyone else, people with a diagnosis of autism have their own strengths and weaknesses.
Signs of Autism can include but are not limited to:
- Reduced or unusual eye contact
- Unusual sensory responses
- Dislike of change
- Prefers familiar routines
- Narrow range of interests, routines
- Repetitive behaviours
- Reduced or no imagination
- Taking things literally
- Difficulties socialising with others
At Melo, we understand that with all of these difficulties, day-to-day life can be challenging and overwhelming for some people. We hope the resources below will be useful and help you with any difficulties you may be experiencing.
The information on this page is for adults who have been diagnosed with or suspect they have Autism. Our page for Autism, Children and Young Adults is under development. Whilst this is in development, please visit Autism Wales for more information.
Self-help advice for Autistic Adults
- Looking after your own physical and mental wellbeing is important. There are simple things we can all do to help look after our mental health. Visit our looking after yourself section for more information and advice.
- There are 5 steps we can all take to look after our mental wellbeing, see if you can incorporate some of our Five Ways to Wellbeing into your everyday life. There you can find some ideas on how to do this, or make up your own.
- If you are feeling anxious, have a look on Melo’s Anxiety page.
- You may want to join a group to meet with others with a diagnosis of autism, to help you feel less isolated and help you create a support network and develop friendships. Some organisations that offer support groups, are listed in the resources below.
- Many of the support services listed below offer advocacy, information and guidance on training, education, housing, employment and much more.
If you, or someone you know needs urgent help – go to our urgent help page immediately.
If you need further help
If the information, advice, resources and courses on this page have not been helpful and / or you feel you need more help, there are many free services available. See resources and helplines below.
What to do if you think you, or someone you know has autism?
If you are an adult, live in Gwent and believe that you may have Autism you can self-refer to the Integrated Autism Service in ABUHB. You can find more information on the assessment and diagnosis process here: ABUHB Autism Service. If you are under a community mental health team, your care coordinator will need to refer you to the appropriate professional.
What will the assessment involve?
An autism assessment is completed by qualified specialist clinicians. The way the assessment is carried out can vary, but it will usually involve at least two clinicians carrying out different parts and will follow NICE guidelines. The assessments can include,
- A pre diagnostic consultation
- A clinical interview using a validated tool
- An observational assessment
Where possible we would try and include someone who knows you well, and ideally knew you as a child.
What happens if I am diagnosed?
You will be sent a copy of the diagnostic report. If you are diagnosed as Autistic, you will be offered the opportunity to book a follow-on appointment. This will enable you to discuss what this means for you, and what support may be available.
To find out more about autism and how it can be managed, see our resources below.
Or you can contact another approved service / helpline listed below. Some services are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
If you are worried about your mental health:
You could make an appointment with your Psychological Health Practitioner (PHP) or GP. PHPs are NHS mental health practitioners who provide a free service for people experiencing mild to moderate mental health problems.
Last updated: 09.03.2023