Autism Awareness Week: What is it really like to be an autistic adult?

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that can affect how people communicate, perceive the world and interact with others.

It is estimated around 1% of the population in the UK have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) - that is 34,000 people in Wales.

Autistic children grow up to be autistic adults - the level and kind of support changes with each individual - and at different stages of their life.

The National Autistic Society says getting a timely diagnosis is key to helping people.

The NAS say without understanding, autistic people and families are at risk of "being isolated and developing mental health problems".

Read more: Extra £7m to support Wales' autism services

Often, autistic individuals have a high intelligence rate - but many struggle with maintaining employment.

Individuals can be affected with autism in a variety of ways but many have difficulty communicating socially including reading other people and understanding body language and intentions.

Other common traits include:

  • Highly-focused interests

  • Sensory sensitivity

  • Repetitive behaviour

All this week, ITV Wales will be sharing the lived experiences of autistic adults to raise awareness of what it is like for some people on a day-to-day basis.

Professor Ian Walker is a retired university lecturer who was only diagnosed with autism at the age of 71.

He told his story on Wales at Six.

Read more: Brilliant artist with Asperger's draws lifelike pictures