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Autism and social communication difficulties online learning

  • Behaviour, emotions and mental health
  • Child development and growing up
  • Speech, language and communication
Woman looking at a computer screen with back of her head shown.

This page has a series of online learning sessions that have been specifically created to support families to understand autism and social communications difficulties. Please take your time to watch through each session.

What does autism and social communication difficulties mean

Autism is a lifelong condition that affects the way that a person communicates and relates to the people and world around them. Symptoms of autism are often seen in early childhood and will impact on the person's ability to function in every day life. The differences associated with a diagnosis of autism can fall into 4 key areas. These include interaction, communication, sensory processing and processing information. 

Pause the session in the above video at 5:00 to watch 'how autism freed me to be myself'.


Your child may want to be sociable but may have difficulty initiating and sustaining social relationships. They may misunderstand the norms of different social situations, which most of us pick up without thinking. To support your child to develop their interaction with others it can be helpful to break down a situation and practice the skills that are needed for effective interaction in that situation. 

Pause the session in the above video at:

Sensory processing

There are 5 main senses including sight, smell, taste hearing and touch. There are 2 more senses which are proprioception and vestibular. If your child finds sensory information too much, try to keep the environment calm and ordered. Reduce distractions from noise levels, colour schemes, smells, lighting and clutter. This may help to reduce anxiety and aid concentration.

Pause the session in the above video at 3:30 to watch 'autism and sensory sensitivity'.

What can help

SPELL is a framework for understanding and responding to the needs of the people on the autism spectrum. It might be called something different at your child's school and different aspects of this approach may be more relevant than others for your child. 

Take a look at our useful websites for more information. 

Last reviewed: 1 November, 2023


Who can help

If you have any questions or concerns about your child, a health professional in our team will be able to offer advice and support. You can call us on 0300 029 50 50.

Open Monday to Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm (excluding bank holidays).

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