One in 100 people are on the autism spectrum and there are around 700,000 autistic adults and children in the UK.National Autistic Society
Autism is a disorder affecting a persons social interactions, language and how they communicate. It is believed that autism is caused by brain development and possibly genetics. Signs usually develop in children by the age of 2 and they will have it their whole lives.
Symptoms in autistic people can vary depending on the individual. Some people with autism struggle to understand certain social communications such as hand gestures, tone of voice, sarcasm, understanding others feelings, they may take longer to process information given to them, or repeat others. They may find comfort in repetitive behaviours or following routines, but can get anxious if routines are broken. Possible sensitivity to sensory information can cause distress, this can include but not limited to, sounds, touch and taste; they may avoid certain events because of the sensory sensitivity, even avoiding being hugged. When the previously mentioned symptoms are triggered, anxiety can become a major problem for the individual, they may also become overwhelmed and lose control of their behaviours or completely switch off. People with autism may be extremely focused on their hobbies and enjoy sharing what they know, which can increase chances of academic success, however can mean that other things are neglected.
Autism is measured on a spectrum, which means people may have autism to different degrees, with a variety of symptoms at different levels, which will in turn affect them differently. Certain symptoms can be managed if a person learns how to control their triggers, however this depends on the individual and their symptoms. Other symptoms require a person to have full time support, with others needing just a little help or none.
There is much judgement and misunderstanding around autism when looking from the outside. People may mistaken autistic people to be insensitive, or to act ‘different’. Often misunderstanding an autistic triggered experience as a tantrum. But it is important that we learn to understand and not judge people. Also to know that autism is NOT caused by neglect, diet, or any other judgmental ideas that people come up with.
Being autistic means that a persons brain works differently to other people’s brains, this uniqueness should be protected from judgement.
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