If you’re new to Autism, here are some facts and 6 common traits of Autism to look out for!
Autism is a neurological condition which affects the way people communicate and experience the world around them. Every autistic person is different. Some will live and work independently while others may require life long support. Some autistic people will have learning differences and additional health issues and other diagnoses.
For some Autistics, looking people in the eye can be very distressing. Most get around this by looking at someone’s nose, mouth or shoulder. It’s not that Autistics are disinterested or trying to be rude. It’s that it makes them physically uncomfortable, for me it feels like someone is squeezing my head in a vice.
Most Autistic people suffer from Sensory Processing Difficulties (SPD). This is when they are over or under sensitive to things such as light or sound. Most Autistic people tend to use sunglasses or headphones to help them keep this under control. Although it should be noted that the severity and cause of the SPD may change day to day. It depends on whether they are having a good or bad day etc.
Routine is very important for many Autistic People. It is a way factor in the way they successfully navigate the world around them. They may have the same food every day or take the same route to school or work. Change in routine can be very disruptive for people with Autism and it may help to prepare for changes far in advance.
Echolalia is the repetition or echoing of words or sounds. It may be one of the first steps many autistic children take toward using speech to communicate. You might notice that your child will copy something they’ve heard on tv, in the exact voice or tone as that character. This is Echolalia. It is a normal part of child development, but usually, neurotypical children outgrow it before neurodiverse children.
Hand Flapping, Rocking, Vocal Sounds and spinning are all examples of Stimming. Stimming is short for Self-Stimulatory Behaviour. This is when Autistic people do certain repetitive movements or sounds to calm down. While some neurotypical people might think it is weird, many neurotypicals actually stim themselves, the most common are tapping a pencil, tapping their foot on the floor or biting their lips.
Lining things up is a common trait of Autism. It helps us feel like we are in control and the repetition can be calming. Young children might be seen lining up their teddies or dolls or toys. What helps me when having a bad day is emptying my pencil case and lining the contents up by colour and type.
So there you have it, 6 common traits of Autism to look out for.
One of the most important things about these traits and stimming in general is to remember that it is not a bad thing to do. It should only be a concern if you or your child have self-harming stims, in which case I would reach out to a professional for help in how to redirect said stims.
If you think you or your child may be autistic it would be a good idea to seek a diagnosis as soon as possible. You can start the process by visiting your GP who will be able to refer you appropriately.
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