What does living with Autism feel like?

 18th Jul 2016

Over 700,000 people are currently living with some form of autism in the UK alone, making it an incredibly widespread issue and one which needs to be understood.

Despite so many people being affected, it can often be difficult to truly understand what it’s like to live with autism.

Spectrum Disorder

Autism is classed as a spectrum disorder and, therefore, symptoms can vary greatly from person to person.

As a result, it may be difficult to detect whether or not a person is autistic or not as the disorder can affect people in subtle or more obvious ways depending on the situation.

Autism is, however, a lifelong condition for all who are diagnosed and this can make it easy for people to see it as a part of their identity.

Communication Difficulties

People living with autism often find social interaction challenging and some claim they see the world around them differently to how others describe it.

For instance, autistic people usually see language for its literal meaning and struggle comprehending the flow and meaning of conversation.

Sarcasm, phrases and jargon, and implied meaning are common pain points for people living with autism and these all affect the natural flow of their discourse.

Some autistic people may even find it difficult to convey their opinion correctly when talking with others and this can make them appear rude having honest intentions.

Whilst Autisim Spectrum Disorder (ASD) typically affects communication and motor skills, many can work excellently on creative tasks including music and art projects.

Increased Health Risks

Autism causes people to become at increased risks of various health problems, negative social behaviour and even death.

Overall, the mortality rate amongst people living with autism is twice as high as the general population and this is the result of a number of factors.

These include health defects attributed to the condition itself such as seizures as well as environmental accidents which can include drowning and oxygen deprivation.

Young people with autism are also more likely to abscond from their home or residential facility and this entails a number of other risks.

For instance, almost half of all children living with ASD will attempt to leave a safe environment. This is around four times as high as children are not affected by the condition.

Of these, over 30% of parents claimed their child had almost been involved in a car related accident as a result of leaving their home environment.

As previously mentioned, water also becomes a substantial risk area with accidental drowning accounting for 91% of the deaths for American children living with autism aged 14 and under over three consecutive years (2009, 2010 and 2011).

Early Signs

The development of autism can become apparent during early childhood with symptoms such as poor speech development, lack of name recognition and a lack of affection to parents and other close relatives.

Poor social skills can also be a warning sign of the onset of autism.

Children with ASD can often struggle in events such as parties where unaffected children may have no problem playing with their friends and engaging in conversation.

Issues with communication can make it hard for autistic children to convey their emotions as well as use appropriate body language and conventional etiquette such as greetings and goodbyes.

These issues can make children feel alienated during social encounters and even instigate anxiety before meeting with others.

Other behaviour traits characteristic of autism are numerous and can include repetitive hand movements, restlessness and choosing to play with objects in favour of people.

Autistic children can also become obsessed with routine and many find it difficult or upsetting when they are required to divert from what they deem to be the norm.

However, people with autism can sometimes benefit from routine behaviour as this can make it easier to engage in hobbies such as learning a musical instrument and playing sport.

Living with autism can be challenging and it is important for both children and adults to seek support when necessary in order to help them cope with their condition and live a more fulfilling life.

Encompass is a registered charity which works to improve the quality of life for people living with mental health illnesses and learning disabilities on a daily basis.

Find out how Encompass Support Workers can help your or a loved one by clicking here.

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