AUTISM is often called the hidden disability. It can take years to diagnose and can be difficult to understand.
Bigger And Better In Leeds - BABIL - staged an event all about autism today (Tuesday) at Leeds Civic Hall.
The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Eileen Taylor, opened the now annual event, which aims to promote autism awareness, understanding and acceptance.
A centrepiece of Lego bricks, created by Brick 42, with each brick representing the 8,000 children and adults in Leeds who have a diagnosis of autism, and up to 20,000 more who are unaware they may have it.
Susan McDonagh, said: “There are thousands of people in Leeds affected by autism. This is always a great opportunity for people to find out more. There are between 12,000 and 20,000 more people who are currently going through the diagnostic spectrum or others who are unaware they have autism.
"There is lots of support in Leeds, so this is a chance to get together and share ideas."
The event was organised by Leeds Autism Services in conjunction with Leeds ABC Group, Leeds Autism Aim (part of Advonet), Specialist Autism Services, Brick 42 and 4Neurodiversity.
There was more than 30 information stalls run by autism-specific services for children and adults, as well as workshops.
For more information go to www.biggerandbetterinleeds.org
The term 'autism' is used to describe all diagnostic profiles, including Asperger syndrome and Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA).
Without understanding, autistic people and families are at risk of being isolated and developing mental health problems.
Autism is much more common than many people think. There are around 700,000 people on the autism spectrum in the UK – that's more than 1 in 1001. If you include their families, autism is a part of daily life for 2.8 million people.
Autism doesn't just affect children. Autistic children grow up to be autistic adults.
Autism is a hidden disability – you can't always tell if someone is autistic.
While autism is incurable, the right support at the right time can make an enormous difference to people's lives.
34% of children on the autism spectrum say that the worst thing about being at school is being picked on.