Not All Autism Is The Same And Neither Is Every Child With Autism
Its called the Autism Spectrum because autism actually covers a wide scope of complex disorders in brain development. Included are Aspergers Syndrome, classic autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder, among others. The types of autism range in everything from communication skills, anxiety, social interaction, and repetitive behaviors, among other things. As with any kid, a child with autism should be treated as an individual with his or her own set of abilities and preferences.
What Is Asperger Syndrome
Asperger syndrome, or Aspergers, is a previously used diagnosis on the autism spectrum. In 2013, it became part of one umbrella diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5 .
Typical to strong verbal language skills and intellectual ability distinguish Asperger syndrome from other types of autism.
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
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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.
How Is Autism Diagnosed
Doctors check babies and little kids for signs of autism at each checkup visit. A parent may think that something is wrong and tell the doctor. Maybe the child is old enough to speak but doesn’t. Or a kid doesn’t seem interested in people or plays in unusual ways.
If the doctor suspects autism, a team of experts will evaluate a child.
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I Never Have A Hidden Agenda
If I say something, you can be sure its what I mean. Im not good at reading faces and body language, and sarcasm is foreign to me. This means that emotional games dont work with me. Im not good at telling you about my emotions, and Im also not good at reading yours. With me youre going to get a straightforward relationship with no hidden intentions and no ulterior motives. Youll never need to worry about interpreting or translating what I say.
What’s It Like To Have Autism Spectrum Disorder
ASD affects different people in different ways. Some people can’t speak or learn. Their behavior may seem strange they may avoid other people they may pace and move their bodies in unusual ways, like flapping their hands. They may repeat lines from TV shows or movies.
People with less severe ASD are able to talk and learn. But they may have trouble:
- expressing feelings. They may seem cold and distant.
- understanding the feelings of others. They may ignore or misunderstand how other people might feel or behave in a situation.
- reading social cues. They might not understand body language or facial expression they stand too close they ignore signs of boredom or frustration.
- handling sensory information. Loud noises, bright lights, or crowds may bother them.
- handling a new routine. It might be hard for them to sit in a different seat or having a substitute teacher.
Some might get get super-focused on a single topic or hobby, some of which may be unusual .
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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.
Why We Feel Pressured To Mask
One of the many reasons we feel pressured to mask is simply fear.
We are afraid they will reject us for being who we are. We worry we could lose our jobs, get treated as less than, struggle to find a romantic partner, and lack the ability to be accepted by our friends and family.
It is unfortunate the neurotypical world has forced us to live with this internal angst while wishing we could just be ourselves for once.
Since weve learned how to mask since childhood, we carry this well into adulthood and it affects every aspect of our lives.
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What Is One Thing You Wish More People Knew About Autism
Id like people to be aware that there is a giant spectrum. No two autistic people are the same. People should not stereotype. Josef
We are people too, and we deserve to be treated equally and with respect. Lucy
Autistic girls are often diagnosed with other health conditions before they are recognised as autistic. Olivia
It is not the sole purpose of my existence to make everyones life more complicated. Kieran
I wish people knew that having autism is not a bad thing. It isnt a bad label to have. Autism should not be a way to discriminate others. People should take the time to try and understand autism. Emily
My Answer To The Question ‘what Does Autism Feel Like’
One of the questions Im most often asked by parents of people living with autism is What does autism feel like?
My fear comes from two places.
The first is that I never want anyone to take my personal experience of living life on the spectrum as being the universal experience of living life on the spectrum. My story is just that my story, and while there can always be common denominators in the autistic experience, there is also much diversity. Thats why they call it a spectrum.
Dr. Stephen Shore once said, If youve met one person with autism, youve met one person with autism.
The specific ways that autism feels and manifests in me may be very different from the specific ways in which it feels and manifests in someone else. So, Im sometimes afraid to say how it feels because I dont ever want to be set up as the autistic standard.
The second source of my fear is that there have been some folks whove just not been very nice when theyve learned what lifes actually like for me. Ive been called crazy and cuckoo and a couple of fries short of a Happy Meal. Ive been labeled a lunatic and laughed at by those who really should know better. Ive had people talk terribly about me behind my back not knowing their words would eventually make their way to my face and more painfully, to the center of my heart.
So, today I go to that place where Ive often feared to publicly tread.
What does autism feel like in me? Well, autism often feels awful.
The Frayed Wire
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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.
How To Be Openly Autistic
This article was written by Luna Rose. Luna Rose is an autistic community member who specializes in writing and autism. She holds a degree in Informatics and has spoken at college events to improve understanding about disabilities. Luna Rose leads wikiHow’s Autism Project.There are 16 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 27,786 times.
Being publicly open about being autistic can be a big decision. You’re choosing to be authentic, to embrace yourself even if others disapprove, and show by example that it is possible to be happy and autistic at the same time.
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Celebrate All Of Your Childs Achievements
I wish I had known that unlike other parents we cant take even the smallest achievement or milestone for granted. When our son started wearing his coat without a fight and expressed that he was cold, when he was able to participate in circle time during music class and when he got up on stage with the other kids at his school show we celebrated.
Steven Grossman, Los Angeles
What This Means For You
This research highlights the importance of timely diagnosis and support for autistic individuals. It is why O’Connor says, “If we can identify autism early on, understand and meet the unique needs of autistic kids while celebrating them for exactly who they are, we are on track for raising happy, healthy autistic people. And that’s the ultimate goal.”
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Know That Medical Issues Can Be Involved
I wish I had known about the invisible medical issues of autism right from the start. For years, I had no idea that gastrointestinal dysfunction, including constipation, acid reflux, inflammation and pain, could dramatically affect my sons sleep patterns, mood, irritability, aggression, attention, and even communication. Our son had to power through those problems all by himself on a daily basis, and it breaks my heart that we never suspected the cause of many of his struggles.
Janet Lintala, West Virginia
Social Communication And Social Interaction Challenges
Autistic people have difficulties with interpreting both verbal and non-verbal language like gestures or tone of voice. Some autistic people are unable to speak or have limited speech while other autistic people have very good language skills but struggle to understand sarcasm or tone of voice. Other challenges include:
- taking things literally and not understanding abstract concepts
- needing extra time to process information or answer questions
- repeating what others say to them
Autistic people often have difficulty ‘reading’ other people – recognising or understanding others’ feelings and intentions – and expressing their own emotions. This can make it very hard to navigate the social world. Autistic people may:
- appear to be insensitive
- seek out time alone when overloaded by other people
- not seek comfort from other people
- appear to behave ‘strangely’ or in a way thought to be socially inappropriate
- find it hard to form friendships.
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What Its Like To Be Autistic Ii
In his post What its like to be autistic, Greg Burns did a great job describing what it is like to be autistic. As I read through his description though, I was struck by how similar and how individually different we all are. Since I was diagnosed this year with ASD-1 at age 61, I will try to describe my experiences.
These are my experiences, and may not apply to everyone:
What Is It Like Being Autistic
It means experiencing life in both an extremely positive and negative way. It is living in constant chaos that is both exciting and overwhelming. It is working with a head that is both so unique and illogical. Saffron
I may get stressed by sensory stimuli at times but I can also get a lot of joy from sensory experiences, like a good texture. It is wonderful to get so much enjoyment out of such simple things. Josephina
When you get an autism diagnosis, its nice because you dont put as much pressure on yourself. Having autistic friends is nice because you have people who understand you, you can be open and honest. Aishah
Imagine being dropped into the jungle, into an indigenous tribe. You are expected to fit in without being able to speak their language or understand them. Eventually you will be able to fit in, but you will never be one of them. Emily
It is the hardest thing to explain, ever. Patrick
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We Know Best When It Comes To Our Autistic Children
All parents know their own children best, but this statement is especially true of parents of children on the Autism Spectrum. Most parents of autistic children have spent countless hours researching and consulting with doctors. They know their childrens ticks and the best ways to avoid meltdowns. Autism Speaks advises other parents keep the unsolicited parenting advice to themselves, saying, Do ask the family whether theres something you can do to help, but he prepared for a no.
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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It Won’t Always Be Like This
“During the hardest times, when my son wasnt sleeping or eating or when he melted down over lights and sounds, I wish I knew it wouldnt always be like this. I wish someone would have told me that the child I have now will grow and change and regress and thrive. You will feel frozen in time at different points. Know that it will get better. And harder. It will change.”
Kate Swenson, Cottage Grove, Minnesota
You Have A Tendency To Monologue
People with autism have a tough time interacting with others. It goes to follow that having a conversation is difficult for them at times, usually because they don’t know when to speak, when to ask questions, and do other things that people often take for granted.
“You can lecture at length on topics of interest to you, but you freeze up when confronted with making ‘small talk’ or responding to another persons questions,” says Dr. Marsh.
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When It Comes To Autism One Size Doesnt Fit All
If you put a PlayStation game into an Xbox, would it work? Of course not. So does that mean the Xbox is broken? No. The same thing applies for a child with autism. Just because they dont learn the way typical children do doesnt mean there is something wrong with them. It means that we as parents, caregivers, friends, neighbors and teachers need to find different ways to try and make a connection.
Laura Jones, Lambertville, New Jersey
My Kid Works Harder Than Any Other Child Her Age
As already mentioned, we do not live in a society that is accommodating to people on the Autism Spectrum. This means that an autistic kid has to work much, much harder to function just about anywhere they go. Behind that hard-working kid are parents, teachers, and therapists who are also working hard to help that child. An autistic child acting like their neurotypical peers has not been cured. Hes simply working 100 times harder to keep up, and thats something we should all keep in mind.
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How Is Autism In Adults Treated
Adults arent generally given the same treatments as children with ASD. Sometimes adults with ASD may be treated with cognitive, verbal, and applied behavioral therapy. More often, youll need to seek out specific treatments based on the challenges youre experiencing .
Some possibilities include:
- seeing a psychiatrist experienced in autism treatment for medical evaluation
- consulting a social worker or psychologist for group and individual therapy
- getting counseling on an ongoing basis
- getting vocational rehabilitation
- taking prescription medication for symptoms like anxiety, depression, and behavioral issues that may occur alongside ASD
Many adults with autism have found support through online groups and forums, as well as by connecting in person with other adults on the autism spectrum.
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.
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