Welcome. Healthtalkonline, an award-winning charity website, lets you share in other people's experiences of health and illness. This information is based on qualitative research into patient experiences led by experts at the University of Oxford.
The way in which autism is understood has changed over time and this is reflected in the changing use of language. For some people, autism is a form of difference rather than a disability and they use the term neurodiverse to describe people on the autism spectrum and the neurotypical to describe those who are not.
Life on the autism spectrum
We interviewed 37 people who are on the autism spectrum and, in four cases, their partners. The interviews include experiences across the life course as people were diagnosed during childhood and others had only recently been diagnosed relatively late in life.
Parents of children on the autism spectrum
We interviewed 45 parents of children on the autism spectrum. The interviews include experiences across the life course as some parents had pre-school age children who had recently been diagnosed, while other parents talked about their adult children.
Having a grandchild on the autism spectrum
We interviewed 15 people who have grandchildren on the autism spectrum. The grandchildren were aged between 6 and 21 and lived with their parents or in residential schools. Grandparents’ talked about different aspects of being a grandparent including their relationship with their grandchildren, the experiences of going out with them, their worries and concerns about the future and the rewards and challenges of ‘grandmothering plus’.
Having a sibling on the autism spectrum
We interviewed 14 people, aged between 17 and 54, who have siblings on the autism spectrum. The interviews were about their experiences from childhood to the present day and included their relationships with family and friends, the highs and lows of their life so far, and their thoughts about what the future may hold.