• Shelley

Autism…things I have learnt

This week I have been trying to further develop my knowledge of autism and so 1 am currently enrolled on an online course, I have been listening to a few webinars and I thoroughly enjoyed viewing a discussion with Temple Grandin, an amazing autistic lady who has never let the challenges she experiences define her.…. I thought I'd share some of the thoughts on Autism that have been meaningful to me this week.

I am changing my language as apparently most autistic people like to be known as autistics rather than described as 'having autism' or even being diagnosed with autism' They want to own their identity and not have it added to them as though they have an ailment or a disorder.

Autistics who have a special talent, known as a savant, often don't like the idea of being an

inspiration to others. This makes them stand out and almost promotes the idea that they are

doing something amazing that nobody would expect because they are autistic.

The four areas that professionals look at when thinking about a diagnosis of autism are social

communication, the ability to read non-verbal cues, emotional regulation and sensory issues. An individual has to experience difficulties in all of these areas to be given a diagnosis. Aspergers, commonly thought of as high functioning autism, is no longer diagnosed as such. Anybody having significant difficulties in these four areas will simply be diagnosed as autistic which may not be helpful as it is readily acknowledged that these traits can be present in people who are able to communicate and function in very different ways.

Anxiety, although not a diagnostic requirement of autism, seems to be the trait that is universally experienced by all autistics. Anyone living or working with an autistic knows that structure, routine and consistency are highly valued by them and create a necessary framework for being able to manage successfully in most settings.

I feel that my understanding has been greatly expanded, I still have a lot to learn but one thing I have had reinforced is what Temple Grandin says of autistics, "different, not less".

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