|Posted by [email protected] on March 14, 2012 at 2:50 AM|
What is Autism in your own words?
>> I believe that Autism, including Asperger's and PDD- NOS, are a failure of
>> the senses to fully perceive, understand and integrate information from the
>> objects or people in the environment. In essence, individuals with Autism
>> are in a disoriented state most of the time. Because each person
>> experiences this in a different way, we see a large variation of how this
>> looks for individuals, but, in most of my clients, I see that this has led
>> to a failure of the individual to develop appropriate executive functioning
>> and social skills. This affects things like focus and attention,
>> communication, basic social interactions, understanding unwritten rules,
>> and developing relationships... the list goes on and on...It also seems to
>> prevent a person from developing a complete sense of self, a true identity.
>> There is a positive side to Autism too though - because the senses of
>> individuals with Autism are different or are being used differently, they
>> are highly perceptive of many things others miss. Individuals with Autism
>> are often gifted visual-spatial thinkers too, and our history is rich with
>> contributions in physics, art, music, and business made by people who were
>> What are common assumptions about people with Autism?
>> Unfortunatley, some of the most common assumptions are about the
>> intelligence of people with Autism. Because people with Autism often have
>> trouble expressing themselves, they are often labeled as having a lower IQ
>> than others. This is not true. When given the tools to orient themselves to
>> their environment, they begin to show us their true intelligence and can
>> think in ways the rest of us can't begin to fathom. The other thing I hear
>> is the "Forest Gump" perception. Many people think that individuals with
>> Autism always have savant skills which, again, is not always true. Also,
>> because individuals with Autism often have trouble making or keeping
>> friends, people assume they want to be alone. This isn't always true. Many
>> Autistic individuals yearn to be part of a group and need to be invited and
>> included. Perhaps most saddening, is the belief that if someone is Autistic
>> and not very good at speaking that they don't have feelings and can't hear
>> people when they talk about the person. There is nothing further from the
>>> What does the “Autism Spectrum” mean?
>>> Each individual affected by Autism spends varying amounts of time in a
>> disoriented state and mis-perceives his or her environmnet in different
>> ways depending on which senses are affected. This adds up to huge variation
>> of the severity of the characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Some
>> people who may have the diagnosis of Autism may be socially akward but
>> highly intelligent and funtion fully in thier family, work, and community
>> while another person diagnosed with Autism may be fully non-verbal and
>> completely dependant on others for their care.
>>> What do you see as the biggest struggles for people with Autism?
>> First, the day to day things. With senses not perceiving the environment
>> accurately, life can be very confusing. Sounds and lights can be
>> overwhelming, certain situations can provoke anxiety. If someone is
>> severely affected, just finding clothing that can be tolerated can be a
>> huge struggle. Taking a wider view, I believe that stereotypes are the
>> biggest problem. Overcoming the stigma to be able to show the world that
>> people with Autism have valuable gifts. I also believe that societal norms
>> are difficult for peple with Autism. For example, a child with Autism may
>> be experiencing physical pain if forced to look a teacher or parent in the
>> eye, but, as a society, we expect it and don't understand why something
>> which seems so easy for most is so hard for some. Our society lacks
>> tolerance, and this makes the world very harsh for an individual with
What do you see as the biggest struggles for families supporting someone with Autism?
>> The biggest struggle I see for the families I work with is the
>> unpredictability of the sensitivity and behaviours of a person with Autism.
>> So many people with Autism become overwhelmed in typical settings and this
>> leads to meltdowns or other socially inappropriate behaviours. Also,
>> because individuals with Autism are just like the rest of us in that they
>> have good and bad days, one day a trip to the store may be tolerable, and
>> the next it leads to a difficult situation. So much of life with a person
>> on the Autism Spectrum is unpredictable. It makes it very hard to plan
>> ahead for things.
What advice would you give to families who are supporting someone with Autism?
>> Recognize that your loved one has no control over his or her
>> disorientation and it is very likely that they don't perceive or feel
>> things the way you do.
If you could say anything to the general public about Autism, what would it be?
>> Lose the stereotypes, celebrate what each individual has to offer, and be
>> tolerant of others.