What is Autism?

04 September 2019

We asked one of our employees, Alex, to write this blog. Alex has 28 years of lived experience with autism, which he was very happy to write about. It’s worth noting that these are his words.

 

This is a picture of me. I called it ‘Real Estate Representation’ because I look like a house sales person. I had 114 photos taken of me one afternoon, and then I asked my colleagues to vote on the photo they liked best. This one won the vote – it’s a winning shot of my winning smile.

About me

Hi there, my name is Alex.

I’m a young man with autism and an intellectual disability, who works four days a week at the Endeavour Foundation Support Centre as a Marketing Assistant in open employment with support. I used to be a Supported Employee and that was great too.

When they asked me to write this blog, I felt really honoured. I love to help give people a voice. It was the perfect opportunity to share my views around autism.

I hope that when you read this blog you feel inspired by people with autism, you are more aware of the characteristics of autism and thankful that we live in a diverse and varied community.

More about me? Well, I play a reasonably high level of tennis in competitions specifically tailored for men and women with intellectual disability, and compete in mainstream fixtures weekly. I am very proud of me.

Many people know me for my jokes. I like to tell jokes because it gives people a bit of fun in their day.

I also live semi independently with support and absolutely love it.

How do you know if you have autism?

Here is how you might know if you have autism.

The way you know if you’ve got autism, is that you’re often very delayed with speech, communication and the way you connect socially. There can also be a tendency to not participate in the same way that the mainstream population would. You can find it terribly hard work to consider others and easy to think only about yourself most of, if not all the time.

It’s pretty easy to tell if you have autism, when you find yourself:

  • Flapping uncontrollably, this is done with one’s hands and can be as a result of emotional distress, thoughts and feelings
  • Humming beyond usual limits
  • Screaming and yelling at loud noises
  • An inability to modulate your own audible sound levels.

Some people with autism can talk fluently, however a certain percentage of people with autism have very limited talking ability to being non-verbal. I have great speech, which I hope you can see in this blog. A good indicator of your autism likelihood, is your intellectual functioning (people with autism usually have some level of intellectual impairment). It’s a struggle when changes happen in life.

People with autism have interesting and exciting ways of thinking about life, participating in the activities they undertake and contributing to the roles in their occupation/ workplace.

Autism is just one diverse part of the community and society, people with autism make a hugely positive difference.

What does it feel like to have autism?

Having autism is challenging from the cognitive consideration of others and awareness point of view. However, it’s rather cool from the thinking outside the box side of things. It’s a little difficult when it comes to controlling one’s voice modulation and humor sharing amounts. I have very high humour sharing amounts.

Having autism feels like a key in diversity, with the way we share our ideas for things, and the logistics we use while we’re working. It feels like a unique part of us.

Having autism does present extra behavioral challenges and social oddities, which the mainstream society don’t have, but makes for an awesome, different and varied society and community. It’s vital that people minus autism get to know people with it before they judge them.

Having autism is just one of our human components and adds to our qualities as a person. Having autism can make sporting teams tactically ahead of the pack, as the team members with autism have unusual outside the box strategic ideas.

What should people know about autism?

The main thing that people should know about autism, is it’s basically a condition which impedes/ effects people’s behaviour and ability to communicate, socialise and consciously participate. People with autism mostly look at life and things from their own point of view and can have trouble consider others views, feelings and boundaries. People with autism quite often can have decent amounts of anxiety and sensitivity, due to sounds, social activity and participation. People with autism can have various physical behaviours such as flapping, humming and thumb sucking.

In some cases autism can over time have less impact on people’s lives with early intervention and therapies, such as Speech Pathology and Occupational Therapy.

Although autism is a struggle, autism can lead to outside the box thinking, which can be extremely useful when it comes to education and diverse workplaces. People with autism can have really rich, fulfilling and highly successful lives. They’re just as nice, useful, and an enjoyable part of society and community as the mainstream population.

In summary, let’s see People with Autism for the quality of person they are, and not the troubles they have.

Myths about autism

Earlier in the year, I helped out with a video project that looked at some myths about autism.

Here are the videos:

MYTH - People with autism dont want friends

MYTH: People with autism can't achieve a normal life

MYTH - People with autism dont feel emotions

MYTH - Autism is caused by bad parenting

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