When You Have An Interest Its Intense And All
Obsessions are a very common part of autistic experiences. They tend to involve learning everything possible about one particular thing or range of things, from television shows to objects to people. It can either be an entire topic or something seriously specific, too. Its not the same as being a super-fan, though a special interest, as its termed for the autistic, is an integral part of your identity and how you live your life, and is pursued in every avenue possible. One study calls them intense, interfering, and idiosyncratic, which sounds like a trio of childrens book characters. And pursuing your special interest is also deeply comforting.
Dont Miss: Autism In Hindi
New Situations Make Communication A Challenge
For many people, talking with your best friend is a lot easier than having a conversation with someone you just met. This is definitely true for many people on the spectrum. A lot of neurotypical people may have never spoken with an autistic person before, so its more likely there will be communication difficulties at first. It may just take some time to adjust for both parties.
As a person with Aspergers syndrome, I find it a challenge talking to new people one-on-one and can hesitate, be wary and stammer. For example, I am used to having the same support workers and can happily speak to them but make no eye contact, but if a new carer is brought in it takes a while to adjust and I can be wary and unsure, not talking much change to routine is something I dislike. I communicate better with those I know and close family. On the phone I find it hard to talk to people and can get upset as people get impatient when I hesitate. Sarah B.
Pointers To Help People With Asd If They Get Off Topic Or Spend Too Much Time On A Topic:
- Gentle nudge or prompt to get back on topic such as, What were we talking about again? Or redirect them by bringing up the topic you were originally discussing like, Where should we go for lunch? It sounds like you love Chinese Food, how about XYZ place at 11:45 am?
- So to summarize, our next steps are XYZ, your part will be this and it will be due by x date. Does that seem to cover what we discussed?
- In a kind yet concrete way, say, I hear you really like talking about dinosaurs, but I am not really interested in that and dont want to talk about it anymore, can we talk about something we are both interested in? Then suggest something that you have in common or could such as favorite movies or food.
Don’t Miss: Can Autism Be Passed Down
Essential Ways To Support The Autistic Community In Autism Acceptance
Group of friends smiling and talking while sitting at a restaurant together
Howd your April go this year?
As an autistic person, I dread every April. Most commonly known as Autism Awareness Month, but reclaimed by the autistic community as Autism Acceptance Month, the month is aimed at supporting the autistic community.
But depending on how that support is executed, it can be fairly problematic and can actually hurt those of us in the autistic community.
I and many other actually autistic advocates dont think we really need any more autism awareness. A majority of people in the United States are aware of autism.
What we really need is autism acceptance, and we need allistic allies to participate in this.
The autistic community has been asking for acceptance since weve existed, but now that most people have a general idea of what autism is and how it might affect someone, we want our allies and advocates to go a step further: Show up for us, and support us in the autism acceptance movement.
Here are some ways to make it happen.
Tailored Support For Fulfilled Lives
Access to personalised support and specialist interventions can help autistic adults build on their strengths and reduce isolation.
Social workers can:
- Find out about local and national sources of information and support for autistic people and their families.
- Be sensitive to issues of sexuality and recognise the importance of developing personal and sexual relationships.
- Provide advice, encouragement and support to help people access information and services, including activities in the community that may support social opportunities, a healthy lifestyle or employment.
Don’t Miss: What Does Level 2 Autism Look Like
When You Have An Interest It’s Intense And All
Obsessions are a very common part of autistic experiences. They tend to involve learning everything possible about one particular thing or range of things, from television shows to objects to people. It can either be an entire topic or something seriously specific, too. It’s not the same as being a super-fan, though a “special interest,” as it’s termed for the autistic, is an integral part of your identity and how you live your life, and is pursued in every avenue possible. One study calls them “intense, interfering, and idiosyncratic,” which sounds like a trio of children’s book characters. And pursuing your special interest is also deeply comforting.
The Problem With Person
The most frequent argument infavour of PFL is that autistic people are more than their autism that onediagnosis should not summarise the entirety of a person.
Its a lovely-soundingargument, which could almost feel empowering if it werent misguided because thisattitude simply isnt applied across the board. For example, I am a left-handedwhite British Christian cisgender male, and I am more than each of thosethings. However, I have yet to meet someone who calls me a person withleft-handedness, a person with whiteness, a person with British citizenship,a person with Christianity or a person with a penis.
So why is the word autism supposedto be thrown to the end of the sentence when these other facts about me arent?
In my opinion, itssymptomatic of the prevailing attitude that autism must be seen as a negativeattribute above all else.
And besides, what is it about autism that makes people need to be reminded of our humanity?
The extra factor is that the argument is often taken too far. Like the people who say you wouldnt call someone with cancer a cancerous person, so why would you call someone with autism an autistic person?
More frighteningly, I havealso heard the argument that PFL implies that if someone can be with autism,theres a possibility that they can be without it too. That if autism is not seen as an intrinsic part of apersons being, it can be seen as something that can be separated from thereal person hiding beneath the autism.
Don’t Miss: Does James Holzhauer Have Autism
Dont Assume Abstract Or Hidden Meanings
According to autistic people in The Mightys community, you dont need to do gymnastics looking for hidden meanings or abstract thoughts when youre in conversation with someone on the spectrum. Make sure you hear everything the person has to say before jumping into the conversation and keep everything concrete. And dont get offended if a message comes out very direct.
I very rarely have a hidden meaning behind what Im saying, if ever. Its better to not read too much into what Im saying. Emmie W.
It is hard for guys with autism to think on the abstract, please take your time and listen to what the whole idea of the message is before thinking that you already know what they are trying to tell you. You kind of have to decipher the message. Mario B.
How Is Asd Treated
There arent any standardized treatment recommendations for different levels of ASD. Treatment depends on each persons unique symptoms.
People with different levels of ASD may all need the same kinds of treatment, but those with level 2 or level 3 ASD will likely need more intensive, long-term treatment than those with level 1 ASD.
Potential ASD treatments include:
You May Like: What Is The Life Expectancy Of People With Autism
We Laugh At Inappropriate Moments
When I was at school, we use to have an annual sponsored silence in which students would raise funds on the anniversary of WWII. For the event, a guest speaker would be invited to discuss their experiences of living through one of the worlds bleakest times and, every year, I would start laughing uncontrollably. Inevitably I would be punished by teachers, but the look of disapproval from fellow students was far worse.
Since then, laughter in autistic people has come to be understood a bit better with the prevailing theory suggesting that, as laughter is one of our most innate methods of communication , it could be that when autistic people are experiencing high emotions, our body immediately falls back on to this inherent response and gets the giggles.
Subsequently, to interfere with an autistic person during this time is to tell them to not feel at all and so, while its okay to move us to a more secluded environment, its not okay to scold us for reacting in a way which has been incorrectly perceived as rude. .
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.
Recommended Reading: Is Level 2 Autism High Functioning
What Causes Autism Spectrum Disorder
There is no clear-cut cause of ASD. Some causes that are supported by research include genetic and some environmental factors. Specific genetic causes can only be identified in 10% to 20% of cases. These cases include specific genetic syndromes associated with ASD and rare changes in the genetic code.
Risk factors include older parental age, low birth weight, prematurity and maternal use of valproic acid or thalidomide during pregnancy, among others. This field of study is an active one for reasearch.
They May Not Know What To Say Or How To Say It
Conversation can be a difficult minefield for people with autism. Initiating conversation can be challenging. Even though they may like to speak about a particular interest, they may be too worried to do so or may be unsure of whether the other person is engaged in the conversation. When people feel especially anxious, they may get tongue-tied or forget what they want to say altogether. This is very true for some people on the spectrum.
For Those Who Are More Impacted On The Spectrum Nonverbal Or Need Extra Assistance
With people who are more impacted, they will have higher needs in areas such as communication and sensory issues and will need more extensive support in daily living. However, being nonverbal does not necessarily mean higher impacted. Dont presume a persons intellectual capacity based on their being low-verbal or nonverbal.
- Pause after giving directions to allow the person to process the verbal information.
- Offer to provide simply worded written directions or a checklist for routine or novel tasks.
- Give the person choices in the conversation .
- Questions should be worded to only provide acceptable options when possible. For example, if a boss says, “Would you like to join us in this meeting?” the individual with ASD saying “no” and returning to their desk is a potential response. This is because a command is being worded as a question. In this case, instead, say, Please come with us for a meeting in the conference room at 10:00 am.
- Have the person repeat important information to confirm understanding .
- Use pictures or drawings to help the person communicate .
- Visual schedules in which you provide a photo or graphic to designate different activities planned can also be helpful.
- Although some people can carry on conversations that last for hours, some individuals may only be able to answer a single question, or engage in in a conversation for 5 minutes. In these situations, building in breaks for the individual can be productive and help them stay calmer and more focused.
You Find It Much Easier To Be Alone
Autism in many forms is distinguished by feelings of social difficulty: not quite understanding, integrating, keeping up, or doing the “right thing” in social situations. Many autistics feel, obviously, that being on their own is a much easier option. Interestingly, some scientists believe that autistics could actually have originally been early “solitary foragers,”who survived in the wild on the strength of their attention to detail and ability to see patterns rather than their social ties. It’s still early days for that hypothesis, but it’s an intriguing idea.
Recommended Reading: Comorbid Autism And Adhd
Restricted Or Repetitive Behaviors Or Interests
People with ASD have behaviors or interests that can seem unusual. These behaviors or interests set ASD apart from conditions defined by only problems with social communication and interaction.
Examples of restricted or repetitive interests and behaviors related to ASD can include:
- Lines up toys or other objects and gets upset when order is changed
- Repeats words or phrases over and over
- Plays with toys the same way every time
- Is focused on parts of objects
- Gets upset by minor changes
- Has obsessive interests
- Flaps hands, rocks body, or spins self in circles
- Has unusual reactions to the way things sound, smell, taste, look, or feel
Signs And Symptoms Of Autism Spectrum Disorders
Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain. Some people with ASD have a known difference, such as a genetic condition. Other causes are not yet known. Scientists believe there are multiple causes of ASD that act together to change the most common ways people develop. We still have much to learn about these causes and how they impact people with ASD.
There is often nothing about how people with ASD look that sets them apart from other people. They may behave, communicate, interact, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. The abilities of people with ASD can vary significantly. For example, some people with ASD may have advanced conversation skills whereas others may be nonverbal. Some people with ASD need a lot of help in their daily lives others can work and live with little to no support.
ASD begins before the age of 3 years and can last throughout a persons life, although symptoms may improve over time. Some children show ASD symptoms within the first 12 months of life. In others, symptoms may not show up until 24 months or later. Some children with ASD gain new skills and meet developmental milestones, until around 18 to 24 months of age and then they stop gaining new skills, or they lose the skills they once had.
Also Check: Can Autism Be Passed Down
How Should I Refer To People Affected By Autism
Ask them how they would like to be referred to. Some people like to be referred to as autistic while other prefer to be referred to as a person with autism. Some like to say they are on the spectrum, while many now prefer the term neurodiverse.
One of the main things I like to explain is that people with autism have varied abilities and character traits, theres not one single experience of autism.
I have Aspergers syndrome and that means Im sometimes a bit different from the norm. And – given the right circumstances – being different is a superpower.
I would play with numbers in a way that other kids would play with their friends.
People on the spectrum experience the neurotypical world as relentlessly unpredictable and chaotic, perpetually turned up too loud, and full of people who have little respect for personal space.
Everyone has a mountain to climb and autism has not been my mountain, it has been my opportunity for victory.
Although people with autism look like other people physically, we are in fact very different in many ways. We are more like travellers from the distant, distant past. And if, by being here, we could help the people of the world remember what truly matters for the Earth, that would give us a quiet pleasure.
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.
Also Check: The Symbol For Autism