The world is a difficult place to navigate as a person with autism due to the communication barriers and social difficulties. Navigating this world can be especially difficult when the person with autism doesn't have the desire or ability to understand the social nuances of the world around them. Here are 12 things that people with autism would like you to know.
1. Autistic people are just like anyone else and not all autistic people are the same.
Autistic people are just like any other person on the planet. They are all different, and they will not be the typical person you meet. 'When you have met one person with Autism, you have met one person with Autism'. One of the most common misconceptions about autism is that all autistic people typically experience the same thing. There’s a wide spectrum, and every autistic person can have different needs. Some people have a high level of intelligence, while others are severely impaired.
2. Autistic people want to be treated with respect.
Autistic people want to be treated with the same level of respect so many other groups of people are giving, but they often don't get it. That’s because they often have difficulty expressing themselves verbally and socially, or others’ outdated notions of autism. It's our responsibility to change that. We need to engage in meaningful interaction with autistic people and show them that we care. Treat them with respect and understanding. More broadly, autistic people want to be genuinely accepted, appreciated, and understood.
3. Autistic people want to be treated as individuals and not as a homogeneous group.
There is no 'one size fits all' definition of autism, so treating the condition as a homogeneous group isn't right. You can't speak to all people with autism as though they are the same; each individual is different. Autism is a spectrum disorder, so it can affect people in varying degrees. They have different levels and types of functioning, personality types, strengths, weaknesses, likes, and dislikes. Likewise, autistic people have different gifts and talents — some excel at math, some are talented artists — and they can have other conditions as well.
4. People with Autism are not geniuses or savants and not all are computer programmers.
It’s not true that autistic people are freaks of nature, or all geniuses, or all savants, or all computer programmers. Just like anyone else, they can have jobs in a variety of fields, and they can also have success in a variety of industries. There’s a wide range of personality types and capabilities among autistic people, just like there are among neurotypical people. Autistic people are not superheroes. They’re just people.
5. Autistic people struggle socially. However, Autistic people want to make friends too.
People with Autism are often misunderstood. They want to make friends but don’t always know how to. They may struggle to communicate, and this can make it difficult for them to make friends. Autistic people may feel anxious when they’re in a social situation. They may not know what’s expected of them in this type of environment and this can make them feel awkward. They may need an introduction or some other help to build their confidence and to settle in. It's important to find a social group they feel comfortable with and it may even be a good idea to take them to a place where the environment helps.
6. Autistic people are not broken.
People with Autism are not broken. Some people see it as a disability, and others see it as a gift. It’s complicated. It’s a spectrum condition, with more than one hundred different definitions. Regardless of the labels applied, it’s important to remember that autism is a part of who they are. Autistic people need support that will meet their needs, not some medication that will try to fix them.
7. Autistic people are not dangerous and they are not violent.
A lot of people think that autistic people are dangerous, because of movies, television, and media portrayal. But that's not the case. Autistic people are not violent. When they are running or screaming, that's not because they are angry or violent — that's how they release energy. They are not a threat and please don't assume that all people with autism have violent tendencies. It's just that children with autism may have difficulty regulating their emotions or their impulses.
8. Autistic people can enjoy music and they have fun.
Music is one of the most popular and universally loved art forms. It\'s no surprise that autistic people share that love. While autistic people may not show emotions in the same way non-autistic people do, they are still capable of experiencing feelings. Music is a terrific way to reach autistic people and make them feel comfortable. They might find it hard to engage in social interactions, but they can still enjoy music, even though it may be different. Autistic people can have fun and enjoy themselves if they play with the music themselves or have a little musical interaction with others.
9. Autistic people can live independently.
People with autism spectrum disorder often have characteristics that lead to impaired social interaction and repetition and fixation patterns. However, they can live independently like everyone else, but it can be challenging as they need to be realistic about their conditions. It's all about understanding the needs of the individual and being aware of any obstacles they may face, such as sensory difficulties or access to certain facilities.
10. Autistic people can work.
Autistic people are often left unemployed, or on the wrong side of the unemployment line, simply because they can't cope with how neurotypical people work. However, they can thrive in careers where they can excel at one specific task. They have a detailed skill set that is not usually found in the general population. There are a number of careers that autistic people excel at, including business, politics, and the arts. Remembering that people with autism could hold important abilities and skills could help you work with them more, instead of being judgmental.
11. Autistic people have feelings and they can love.
It’s important not to assume that autistic people are without feelings. Autistic people might not express themselves in the same way, but they still have feelings. They are people, not robots. They feel pain, love, and live real lives. And not being able to express oneself isn't\'t something that just affects autistic people. It's something that everyone struggles with at some point in their life. Autistic people love as anyone else does. It might be difficult for them to show it.
12. Autistic people think and learn differently.
There are many misconceptions about how autistic people think and learn. Actually, autistic people experience the world and think and learn differently than most people do. It can be challenging for them to process information, for example. Autistic people have to learn by repetition instead of hearing information once or after they see it. There is no right or wrong answer to how an autistic person needs to be, and to the extent of the differences are their responses to things.
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If you have a child with Autism in your life, be it your own child, a relative, a friend's child, or a student, then Magic and Meltdowns is just the book waiting for you to pick it up.
It is the journey of the young aunt of an Autistic child Emma, who is also a part caretaker and Godmother to her. There are not merely words to read in this book, but emotions to feel, experiences to teach you, and a lot of research that will answer many of your questions about Autism.