Kent Connect to Support
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Autism is a lifelong condition that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people. It also affects how a person makes sense of the world around them.

Autism is known as a spectrum condition both because of the range of difficulties that affect adults with autism and the way that these present in different people. This means that while some people can lead relatively independent lives, others will require significant support.

Autistic people may:

  • find it hard to communicate and interact with other people – they may have difficulty understanding verbal and non-verbal communication, such as gestures, facial expressions and tone of voice
  • find it difficult recognising and understanding other people’s feelings and managing their own
  • find it difficult understanding and predicting other people’s intentions and behaviour
  • may experience sensory sensitivity or under sensitivity to certain sounds, tastes, smells, colours or touch
  • get anxious or upset about unfamiliar situations and social events
  • take longer to understand information
  • do or think the same things over and over.

Many people can also have other conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a learning disability, dyspraxia, dysphasia, anxiety or depression, epilepsy and difficulties understanding the spoken word.

Getting a diagnosis

A diagnosis is the formal identification of autism. This will be done by a health professional such as a pediatrician or psychiatrist.

Having a diagnosis is helpful for two reasons:

  1. It helps people with autism, and their families, to understand why they may experience certain difficulties and what they can do about them.
  2. It enables people to access services and support.

Your GP can refer you to a diagnostic service.

Useful Contacts and Information

  • Kent Libraries, Registration and Archives can help and support anyone on the autism
    spectrum in the following ways:
  • Our libraries welcome all customers.
  • We try to make our libraries autism friendly where possible, balancing the needs of all our
  • Customers on the autism spectrum are entitled to an exempt card which has added benefits, such as: no late charges for books, a longer loan period (six weeks instead of the standard three weeks) and free black and white printing and photocopying, up to 20 pages per day.

What’s in the library

  •  We have books for all ages, abilities and interests. These are free if you return or renew them by the due date.
  • Staff can show you round the library or direct you to areas of interest if it is your first visit. If you would like this, please contact the library in advance so we can be sure someone will be
    available to help you.
  • Some libraries have quieter times – ask staff when these are if it would help your visit to the library.
  • For those who like them, we have multi-sensory books and storysacks in many of our
    children’s libraries. There are multi-sensory Bag Books too for all ages.
  • We have information books about the autism spectrum. We can also signpost families and
    carers to support groups.
    Accessing the library service 24 hours a day
  • You can find many online resources on our website. This includes eMagazines and
    eNewspapers, as well as eBooks and eAudio – all free!
  • You can check our library catalogue and manage your library account (eg to renew books) online at any time of the day or night.
  • We also have an online enquiry service, available 24/7. If you are stuck with a question or need some information (it can be about anything), you can phone or chat online. Our Ask A Kent Librarian team will help you find what you are looking for.

For more information contact your local library, visit the Kent County Council website or call 03000 41 31 31.

Last updated: 08/03/2024