During the first week of April, people all over the UK will be marking Autism Awareness Week.

Autism is a lifelong developmental disorder that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others. This can mean they see, hear and feel the world differently to others.

Autism is what is known as a spectrum condition, meaning it affects individuals in different ways. Some autistic people, for example, also have learning disabilities, mental health issues or other conditions.

  • There are around 700,000 people on the autism spectrum in the UK – that’s more than 1 in 100.
  • 34% of children on the autism spectrum say that the worst thing about being at school is being picked on.
  • At least one in three autistic adults are experiencing severe mental health difficulties due to a lack of support
  • Only 16% of autistic adults in the UK are in full-time paid employment, and only 32% are in some kind of paid work
  • 17% of autistic children have been suspended from school; 48% of these had been suspended three or more times; 4% had been expelled from one or more schools

Some famous faces with autism include TV presenter Chris Packham, actors Daryl Hannah and Dan Akroyd, and musician Gary Numan.