Autism Feels Different To Different People
Autism is more recently referred to as ASD or autism spectrum disorder the operative word here being spectrum. This shift in language stresses the diversity for those who are differently abled in this way. There are those who have autism who can live independently , but then there are those whose autism can require assistance in most, if not all, areas of their lives. An important way to talk about autism, should you be asked about it, is to focus on how you experience it as an individual. Remind people that you do not speak for all those with autism.
Can You Be A Little Bit Autistic
It is not uncommon for people to ascribe certain behaviors or moods to medical conditions or suggest that they are driven by a diagnosable psychological disorder. Examples might include:
- “Oh, I know I’m picky. I’m just a little obsessive-compulsive.”
- “Yes, I’m moody. I guess I’m sort of bipolar.”
- “I’m in a crappy mood. I think I’m depressed.”
All of these statements, which are used all the time, equate a passing mood or mild preference with a major mental illness.
But of course, picky eating is a far cry from obsessive-compulsive disorder , which can make it impossible to fulfill the demands of daily life. And, a passing feeling of unhappiness or moodiness can’t be compared in any meaningful way to the extreme challenges of bipolar disorder or clinical depression.
Some people may truly believe that spending 20 minutes choosing a color scheme for a party is akin to true OCD, or that a rotten mood is the same thing as major depression.
Others know better but will still use these terms as a colorful way to describe a passing emotion or a behavior that’s not quite appropriate. This has extended to behaviors that some have haphazardly labeled as “autistic” or being “on the spectrum.”
Variability In Adults With Autism
Not all adults with autism are alike.
- Some adults with autism have successful careers in demanding fields such as information technology, robotics, and video game production.
- Some work part-time while also taking advantage of day programs and resources.
- Some are unable to function in the workplace and spend their days in sheltered settings.
- Some adults on the spectrum are happily married or partnered.
- Others have romantic friendships.
- A significant number are unable to form meaningful, reciprocal relationships with peers.
These vast differences make it just as tough to define or provide services for adults with autism as for children on the spectrum.
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Autism Caregiving: Treatment Helps
Caregiving for a loved one with autism can be tremendously difficult. But happily, treatment can often make a difference.
âThe good thing is that people with autism can learn many of the things that they donât know intuitively,â says Shore. âIt just requires direct instruction.â Skills that neurotypical children learn unconsciously â such as evaluating a social situation or reading a personâs behavior â can be taught, step-by-step.
There are many different approaches to instructing children with autism, including the Applied Behavior Analysis , the Miller Method, and the Floortime method. Shore says that there is no single best approach. As a caregiver, the key is to be flexible, to try different approaches, and see what works best with your child.
The Core Symptoms Of Autism Are:
social communication challengesand
- begin in early childhood
- interfere with daily living.
Specialized healthcare providers diagnose autism using a checklist of criteria in the two categories above. They also assess autism symptomseverity. Autisms severity scale reflects how much support a person needs for daily function.
Many people with autism have sensory issues. These typically involve over- or under-sensitivities to sounds, lights, touch, tastes, smells, pain and other stimuli.
Autism is also associated with high rates of certain physical and mental health conditions.
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When Facts > People
I was diagnosed with an Autism spectrum disorder back in 2002. Up until that point, I would tend to fixate on subjects, such as paleontology, mineralogy, botany and mathematics, and learn everything I possibly could about them, as a distraction from not being able to fit in with other people.
The easiest way to describe that? Its like, my social life and social skills were just another small and unimportant piece of life, and werent something that I could master, so they didnt matter. People werent very important, but damned if I didnt know what the dinosaur with the thick skull plating was or the spiky one with a club tail . In a world full of interesting facts, whats the point in trying to understand arbitrary and impermanent concepts like sadness, anger, joy or fear? Theyre too complex and conditional, and at least to my mind, learning how they worked for other people wasnt as big an achievement as nailing my times tables out in year 1. Geminiilover
You Often Find Sarcasm Puns And Irony Difficult To Understand
People with autism sometimes don’t quite “get” jokes and humor of certain kinds, partially because of social difficulty. A 2014 study of high school students, some of whom had autism, found that autistic teens respond far better to certain types of humor than others: nonsense jokes and aggressive humor. They didn’t have the same ease with stuff like puns or self-defeating humor. You may also have a bit of difficulty with sarcasm, irony, or weird idioms.
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You Don’t Recognize Sarcasm
Much like the inability to understand a colloquialism, a person on the spectrum may not understand jokes or sarcasm. They require a level of out-of-the-box thinking that is hard for a person on the spectrum to process in real time.
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Do You Know The Signs Of An Autistic Meltdown
Sarinah discusses autistic meltdowns what they are and how to identify them.
Common signs of a meltdown include hand flapping, head hitting, kicking, pacing, rocking, hyperventilating, being unable to communicate, and completely withdrawing into myself. All of these behaviours are methods of coping.
There are many things that can cause a meltdown but perhaps the most prevalent is heightened sensory processing. This can increase sensitivity to light, smell, heat, sound, taste and touch. An example of this can be the increased awareness of feeling your clothes against the skin. Underlying feelings of anxiety, stress or ambivalence can often make the sensory overload more severe.
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Signs You Could Be On The Autism Spectrum
Most of the stories you hear about people on the autistic spectrum feature them being diagnosed as children. It’s definitely common for signs of autism to first be noticed in childhood, when autistic kids don’t do much pretend play and find social interaction difficult. But it’s also perfectly possible for people, particularly those with more functional forms of autism , to reach adulthood without ever knowing they actually have a place in the autistic community.
When we talk about “the autistic spectrum,” we’re referring to a very wide range of disorders under the one banner of autism. There’s no one way to present autistic signs, which is why diagnostic tests about the possibility of autism in adults tend to be seriously involved. One quiz, offered by Psych Central to determine whether you might want to seek diagnosis from a medical professional, offers 50 different questions, from social interaction to patterns and empathy. But the basics of autism of any kind, according to The National Autistic Society, are three difficulties: with social communication, social interaction, and social imagination.
You Become Very Fixated On One Thing
People with autism often become fixated on one thing, and in that moment, nothing else mattersit’s the most important thing in their life. “It could be how the towels are foldedone of my big onesor how the pencils are aligned, or putting all the little cars in a row, or only eating the vowels out of the Alphabits cereal,” says Swain.
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Autism Is Not An Illness
Being autistic does not mean you have an illness or disease. It means your brain works in a different way from other people.
It’s something you’re born with or first appears when you’re very young.
If you’re autistic, you’re autistic your whole life.
Autism is not a medical condition with treatments or a “cure”. But some people need support to help them with certain things.
You Notice Patterns Everywhere
It’s often a special feature of the autistic brain to be able to see patterns all over the place: in letters, numbers, formations of objects, anything. A 2011 study of nearly 750 people found that the brain regions that process patterns are very active in autistic people, while the regions associated with planning and decisions were less active. If you’re able to pick out patterns nobody else can see, without even thinking, you may have one of autism’s peculiar advantages.
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What Does Autism Feel Like
Special Strong> What Does Autism Feel Like?
If you have autism, it can be difficult to help those who are neurotypical understand what youre going through. On the one hand, you shouldnt have to explain yourself society should accept you exactly as you are, without you having to change your behavior. However, society is run by NT people, so it can be a true advantage to be understood: People will alter their expectations in job interviews, in classrooms, and in health-related environments when they understand the different ways you experience the world. To get people on your side, heres Special Strongs answer to What does autism feel like?
I Have A Strong Sense Of Justice
Even though I struggle to understand what most people mean when they talk about being empathetic, I do have a strong sense of justice and fairness. If I find a cause that resonates with me, I will pursue a solution with a level of singular focus and passion beyond what could be expected from most neurotypical people and will fight for what is right with every ounce of who I am. My tendency to focus on a particular subject makes me likely to champion causes I believe in. I also have a strong sense of whats right and wrong, and this sense tends to guide me throughout my life.
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Repetitive And Restrictive Behaviour
With its unwritten rules, the world can seem a very unpredictable and confusing place to autistic people. This is why they often prefer to have routines so that they know what is going to happen. They may want to travel the same way to and from school or work, wear the same clothes or eat exactly the same food for breakfast.
Autistic people may also repeat movements such as hand flapping, rocking or the repetitive use of an object such as twirling a pen or opening and closing a door. Autistic people often engage in these behaviours to help calm themselves when they are stressed or anxious, but many autistic people do it because they find it enjoyable.
Change to routine can also be very distressing for autistic people and make them very anxious. It could be having to adjust to big events like Christmas or changing schools, facing uncertainty at work, or something simpler like a bus detour that can trigger their anxiety.
Read more about repetitive behaviours and dealing with change here
Bright Lights And Noises Are A Challenge
When you’re walking through a store or sitting in a restaurant, you might not think twice about what’s going on around you. For those with autism who have sensory issues, that’s a different story. Hypersensitivities to sights, sounds, smells, taste, and touch are commonespecially bright lights and loud noiseswhich can make someone with autism feel very overwhelmed. That also includes hyposensitivities due to under-responsiveness to signals that help control balance and coordination, which can lead to clumsiness.
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Lack Of Joint Attention Skills
Joint attention skills are the skills we use when we attend to something with another person. People use joint attention skills when they share a game together, look at a puzzle together, or otherwise think and work in a pair or group.
People with autism often have impaired joint attention skills. While these skills can be taught, they may never develop on their own.
Bluntness Can Be Misinterpreted As Being Rude
Sometimes those with autism are mistaken for being rude, just because of how brutally honest and blunt they are. Even though they’re just saying what they’re thinking or feeling, the directive nature of their communiques can be interpreted as insensitive and possibly offensive, even if that’s not at all what they meant to do.
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Communication Is Like Mixing Paint
Communication is really hard. Its hard for two reasons.
First.I say a sentence, and someone else hears the sentence but randomly inserts words into it. What I meant to say were the exact words I said, but they decided to hear some additional or different words. Ive already expended all of my energy into the first attempt. I dont have the energy for another attempt, so Im going to have to just go with whatever they heard.
Second, and more common, thoughts arent words, but words are the only tool I have with which to express them. A thought needs to change into something else in order for anyone else to understand it. I cant just lift the thought and give it to someone, I have to change it until it fits into a format someone else will understand. Having done that, I am no longer expressing what I wanted to. It reminds me of paint. If I want a specific shade of green, I have to take the blue and the yellow and mix them together. I have to keep adding bits of blue and bits of green until I have the shade I wantonly now Ive mixed so much paint that I dont know what to do with it all. I just wanted a bit of green. Now I have four different shades and a mess, and Ive wasted all that paint. Thats what turning thought into words is like. Its messy and wasteful and always results in an insane, unnecessary amount of words. Yeeshas_Island
What Does It Feel Like To Have Autism
The CDC cites that 1 in 59 children is now being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder so that means that if youre not a parent, you may have a niece or nephew, grandchild, neighbor, childs classmate or family friend with that diagnosis. There is hardly a person in our community who doesnt know at least one child on the autism spectrum. By taking a pro-active role this month, each one of us can take steps to better understand the needs of people with autismand the parents raising them. Most people do not understand what autism is, how it feels to be autistic, nor how to interact with members of the community who have been diagnosed with autism. I chose to write this article because I want to help build autism awareness in our community. I am a mother of a child on the autism spectrum who understands the daily struggles of raising a child with ASD.
If your child is inviting the whole class to a birthday party, make sure to include autistic classmates who are fully or partially included in the class with or without supports. Reach out and email or text the parent and let them know that youre excited for the child to comeand ask about whether there are supports that would help the child to participate. So many of us parents experience isolation and sadness on behalf of our kids that they arent included in school/social events. This kind of invite shouldnt be newsit should be the norm and you can help to make it that way.
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It’s Hard To Change Routines
Some people like to switch their day-to-days up, but for those with autism, it’s very important to have a consistent routine. If anything goes off-course from the norm, a meltdown could be triggered due to the panic they feel about an unexpected change, even as small as it may be. If there is a change that needs to be made, it needs to be communicated in a clear, descriptive way in order to make them feel comfortable and calm throughout the process.
Child With Autism=adult With Autism
Despite stories you may have read on the Internet, it is incredibly rare for a child accurately diagnosed with autism to become an adult who is no longer diagnosable.
Yes, children with autism may build skills and workarounds that make autism less obvious. Yes, teens with autism may learn social skills and be able to “pass” in some situations. But no, a child with autism won’t just get over their autism to become a typical adult.
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What Causes Autism Spectrum Disorder
No one knows exactly what causes ASD. It probably has something to do with DNA the genes passed down from your parents and other things, like infections or toxins that change the way the brain develops. Problems during pregnancy and around the time of birth raise the chance of getting autism.
Vaccines do not cause autism.