Autism Sydney




Posted by 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

>> Autistic.

>> 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

>> truth.

>>> 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

>> Autism.


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.

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