I recently wrote a blog post called Living With Autism. It was mostly about the schools I attended in the past. It has recieved a lot of positive comments, so I must be doing something right. However, the original purpose of that blog post was to give people an idea of what autism is. It can redefine autism for peeople who already know about it, and it can give people with autism a better way of looking at it. However, for people who haven’t heard of it, I think I could do better.
Autism affects the aspects of the human mind that involve communication. For most people, autism affects general social skills. However, it can also affect language, and some people with autism never learn to speak. Although most people know this, a lot of people don’t know what to make of that definition. This post is there to clarify this definition, and to clear up what is and isn’t true.
To begin, autism isn’t always a disability and therefore shouldn’t always be treated like one. This mistake is made a lot, particularly by schools. At my previous school, I had someone sitting next to me in some of my classes telling me what to write in my lesson notes. One of my in class assistants insisted on reading to me what was written on the whiteboard. I didn’t need that and to be honest, it drove me mad.
The next thing I want to make clear is that people with autism generally think a lot more than other people realise. No matter what everyone thinks, this is nearly always true. This means that if someone makes fun of me for what they think I don’t understand, I’m going to know. A lot of people would get offended by that stuff, but I just laugh at those people and ignore them.
Something else I want to make clear is that I am more interested in getting to know people than you think. I haven’t always been interested in having a social life, but I am now, and that is the same for many other people with autism. When I am at school, I don’t talk to other people because I find it hard to start a conversation. However, if you talk to me, I will talk to you. As I get to know you, I will come out of my metaphorical shell and seem like a normal person by the mainstream definition.
One more thing I want to make clear about myself is that I am happy to be asked about my differences. That isn’t true for everyone, but people who don’t like to be asked about autism likely look at it as a negative thing. My previous post about autism, linked in the first paragraph, should be able to help those people by giving them a different point of view, as well as knowledge of the life of someone else with autism. If someone with autism looks at it with my point of view, they will see it as a good thing in some aspects, and they should therefore be quite happy to talk about it.
So, how do you tell who has autism? Well, obviously, it is easier said than done. However, there are common aspects of autism that can make it easier for you to take a guess. The most obvious way to tell is if someone isn’t talking to other people. However, that way of making a guess on who has autism shouldn’t be used exclusively. That person could be depressed, or simply, just choosing not to talk to anyone.
Another very common aspect of autism is an avoidance of eye contact with other people. In fact, this is one of the main reasons why people with autism don’t seem to be interested in talking to others. If that same person isn’t talking to other people, that person probably has autism. However, if they are talking to others, they could just be trying to ignore you.
The most reliable aspect of autism, for guessing who has it, is a sensitivity to loud noises. Not all people with autism have this problem, and a lot of people have this problem only some of the time. In my case, I am usually able to drown it out. However, I am less able to ignore it if I am sick, stressed out, or if I have to listen to it a lot. As far as I know, not many other people have this problem.
To sum it up, autism isn’t like many other mental conditions. I think of my mind as more like a computer in certain aspects. I programmed my mind to understand English and to talk to other people. I am a bit different, but I don’t see myself as “disabled”. Because of that, if scientists found a “cure” for autism, I would stay away from it and die before trying it. On the inside, I am a lot more like a normal person by the mainstream definition, and people realise that as they get to know me.
Sunday 11th November 2012 - 8 comments