The Blog

The Importance of Understanding Autism

Autism can have a huge effect on us and families although improving support and misjudgement can make a real difference with how we can become more accepted in life.

Autism is something you all may be aware of and have heard about before, however, how many of you reading this actually have little knowledge about it?

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects the way we communicate. We also have difficulties with forming relationships with people who surround us. Social awareness and behaviour is something we struggle with which can affect us in our everyday lives. Some people are more severe than others which I am high functioning but mostly on the Aspergers side. Autism affects more than one in 100 people in the UK.

We often become sensitive to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours. But we can find it difficult to recognise these emotions in ourselves and sometimes express these in different ways to others.

What's the difference between autism and aspergers? Well, they're both part of the 'autism spectrum'. The difference between the two are thought to be in language development; people with Aspergers may not have had delayed language development when younger. These two diagnoses are commonly given together on a daily basis.

Growing up while I was a child. The two most common traits I developed were behavioural difficulties and social awareness. I have always struggled with my behaviour from a young age. I often have meltdowns which will sometimes lead to the involvement of becoming arrested by the police. These outbursts of anger happens within my family home and can be caused by myself responding aggressively to the word 'no' of being told what to do. I respond negatively because I don't understand which in recent years my behaviour is improving and I learn more and more everyday.

Social awareness is also a struggle for me. I'm not very clear on understanding other people's feelings. I can't understand when somebody is feeling upset or angry. I don't like seeing people cry in front of me as I find it sometimes uncomfortable and feel very awkward. That's where I don't understand people's feelings enough. I'm not very good with forming relationships with people too. I feel more comfortable being around females than males as I don't always get on with them or I feel intimidated. I feel women are more understanding than men.

It's important for everyone to understand autism as it can be often misunderstood. Autism awareness has improved in recent years although theirs still a long way to go. People often wrongly judge the way people with autism can act. Judgemental attitudes are typically made with the misunderstanding of stereotypes. It's more to do with the behavioural difficulties side. People seem to presume that us autistic people are just naughty when we're not. We just think and act differently to how most people can. We struggle with recognising people's feelings and emotions which can most often cause confusion which may lead to behaviour struggles.

When I was young, my mum tells me of the time I had a meltdown in a supermarket. When I was sent back to the car during the shop, people were staring and would mumble 'what a very naughty child' under their breath and just label as a 'naughty child'.

I believe giving people a better understanding of autism will improve every part of our lives which I'm sure would contribute to getting people the early diagnosis and support they need. It will also improve people's judgement and how they really see autism for what it is.

Autism can have a huge effect on us and families although improving support and misjudgement can make a real difference with how we can become more accepted in life.