8 Things People on the Autism Spectrum Wish People Knew
For those on the autism spectrum, one of the biggest challenges can be explaining it to others. They may not look like anything is wrong but their brain simply processing things differently, there is no autism ‘look’ and this is all just a part of who we are.
Learn What You Can Do to Help
If you know someone or are close with someone who is on the autism spectrum, keep an eye out for opportunities to help. This may be in a situation where you know they are likely to be overstimulated by their surroundings or if you see difficult or tell-tale behavior that they are struggling. It may not always be possible to directly help the person in need, but providing support and assistance to their family can make a huge amount of difference. If you see a parent you don’t know struggling to handle an autistic child having a meltdown, please be kind and do not judge their parenting abilities. The child is not behaving like this to be bad rebellious or defiant, they are just struggling to process a world that was not built for them.
We Experience the World in a Unique Way
We don’t see, feel, or hear the world in the same way as other people do, sometimes we will encounter sounds, smells, lights, or any other types of stimulation that can easily be overwhelming to me; it can be stressful, distracting, scary and sometimes even painful. Often physical contact can be like this and we may pull away but it’s not me rejecting your affection or not wanting to be close to other people. There are times when I feel calm and safe when it is easier for me to process these things.
Abby Tyler, a health writer at Australia2write and Nextcoursework, says: “Bear in mind that I not only experience the world differently than you but also differently than other autistic people. Autism manifests itself in different ways; it is not ‘one-size-fits-all’.”
Educate Yourself and Your Family
Remember that, as much as you may struggle to understand what an autistic individual is going through, your children or children in your life understand it even less. Paige Tomlinson, a lifestyle blogger at Writemyx and Britstudent, explains: “Children can be mean and critical towards things they can’t figure out and often even more neuro-typical kids can be on the receiving end of hurtful words and bullying.” This is why it is so important to communicate with your children and try to help them understand what is happening when they see an autistic child or even adult acting ‘differently’.
If you need some help, remember that there are countless resources out there to help you learn more about our experience of the world.
Understand How We Communicate
Even the most verbally fluent autistic people can often experience difficulty when it comes to communication. It is common for such individuals to use nonverbal methods for communicating and if you pay attention you can learn to understand what they are trying to say. Remember that autistic individuals often interpret things very literally, so try not to default to using metaphorical language, analogies, or humor that relies on interpretation like puns.
I want friends just like everyone else and while I may struggle with knowing how to make and keep friends, it doesn’t mean I don’t want to form relationships. Try to speak plainly to me and remember I likely won’t pick up on innuendos, subtext, sarcasm, and slang. Often people think I am being rude, harsh, or blunt, but I am just doing my best to communicate without understanding the implied meanings of your words.
For those who are nonverbal, remember that they still hear and understand things going on or being said around them and they just interpret it in their own way.
At the end of the day, just be patient, kind, and open to learning – being autistic comes with some amazing things, too. Often these are highly-intelligent people, so embrace our uniqueness and focus on what we can do instead of what we can’t.
*This blog post was written by Beatrice Beard.
Beatrice is a professional copywriter at Origin writings and Academic Brits specializing in a range of topics. Beatrice is always open and ready to share her personal experience at PhD Kingdom and give some helpful advice to beginner writers uncovering all the unique challenges and peculiarities of creating high-quality content that really sells.