Autism: What exactly is it?

Autism spectrum is a broad term used to describe a group of developmental disabilities that results from differences in the brain. The condition may alter the way a person perceives and interacts with the world. While autistic people may differ widely in their functional levels, several traits are common among people with autism.

Characteristics of Autism


Fascination with objects

Autistic children and adults have a strong connection with various objects throughout their entire lives. These objects could be anything from tangible objects such as bicycles and engines to abstract things such as stories and music. Most experts believe that Professor Albert Einstein was fascinated with light beams throughout his entire life, which ultimately led him to discover relativity theory. Whatever the fascination is, experts acknowledge that these fascinations may last for weeks to years.


Impairment in social relations

The vast majority of autistic individuals may have difficulties with conforming to conventional social demands. For example, typical autistic children may prefer playing with puzzles to attend birthday celebrations with large audiences. On the other hand, adults may prefer small gatherings of one to two people as opposed to a crowd.


Difficulties with routines

Unlike neurotypicals, autistic people are genuinely uncomfortable with random changes or routines. Although autistic adults may have figured out how to circumvent such issues, children on the other end may experience a serious meltdown when ambushed with unexpected change in routines. It's noteworthy that autistic people significantly focus on everything they love, which can impair their flexibility with unstable routines or rules.


Myths about Autism


Autistic people are cruel

The uninformed majority of people may have been led to believe that autistic people are cruel and unfriendly. Autistic people are not cruel. Although they may exhibit aggressiveness when overwhelmed with sensory stimuli, they are unlikely to be abusive or violent. Most autistic people long to make friends or find someone who could understand them. Additionally, most of them are direct and sincere in their communication.


Autistic people are geniuses

When speaking of autism, most people imagine someone who can master number plates, perform quantum maths and play the violin. While it's true that most autistic people are creative and intellectually unique, it's estimated that only 0.05 per cent of autistic people have genius brilliance.


A cure for Autism

There's no cure for autism, at least in the meantime. Despite this, some pseudoscientists have seized this chance to scam families with fake medicines alleged to cure autism. The complexity of autism is rooted in genes and environmental influences. A more thorough investigation is being conducted for effective medications.


How to Interact with Autistics


Refrain from forcing communication

When addressing an autistic person, it's a recommended practice to have a gentle and flowing conversation. Moreover, it's suggested to keep your statements less vague and more precise. That way, you limit the chances of misinterpretations.


Maintain calmness

It's unadvisable to exhibit anxiety and worries while conversing with an autistic person. Try to demonstrate poise because it makes your counterpart more comfortable during interaction. Additionally, you can use the body mirroring technique to instill a calming effect.


Have respect to their passions

It's easy to misinterpret the passion of autistic people as “weird”. Try to understand that those passions are part of their being as any ordinary human would have it. Most of the time these passions are gate openers for their future job and leadership positions.


Famous Autistic People


Charles Darwin

Professor Michael Fitzgerald, one of the leading psychiatrists in the world, had made evidence-based conclusions that Charles Darwin was autistic. Of course, many scholars agree with these conclusions as Darwin had an intense focus that led to his groundbreaking discoveries, including formulation of the evolution theories.


Professor Albert Einstein

Many scholars attribute Einstein's brilliance to his autistic nature. For example, his fascination with a light beam, uncanny way of solving puzzles, and intense focus. Not to mention his rigidity with authority and his sarcastic humor. Regardless of all the autistic challenges, people with autism can live a successful life as with any ordinary human.


April is World Autism Awareness Month. You can celebrate be donating to autism nonprofits, like Autism Speaks, or to just simply educate yourself and spread kindness.


Until next time :)



REFERENCES

Autistica. (2020). Autism myths and causes. Retrieved from;https://www.autistica.org.uk/what-is-autism/autism-myths-and-causes

ASHA.(2020). Autism spectrum disorder. Retrieved from;https://www.asha.org/practice-portal/clinical-topics/autism/



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