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Autism is a neurological condition which affects the way people communicate and experience the world around them. Autistic people have difficulties with social interaction, communication, and processing. They can also be restricted by repetitive behaviours.
Every autistic person is different but they will see, hear and experience the world differently. You may be diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Aspergers Syndrome and/or Pathological Demand Avoidance.
It’s estimated about 1 in every 100 people in the UK is autistic but these figures are changing as more people are being diagnosed. It was originally thought that more males were autistic than females. It is actually now thought that older girls and women may manage the condition differently and are therefore underdiagnosed.
Autistic people have brains that have developed differently. This is why they think and behave differently to neurotypical people.
Autism affects 1% of the population! That means that there are approximately 665735 autistic people in the UK right now!
Unlike a popular myth, most of them are not savant geniuses – but many are above average intelligence!
Autism effects every autistic person differently. As the saying goes, if you’ve met one person with autism, then you’ve met one person with autism.
No, everyone is NOT a little bit autistic. Only people on the spectrum, are on the spectrum.
Although some autistic people may have learning difficulties such as dyspraxia or dyslexia. They may also suffer from some mental health difficulties. However, Autism is part of a group of neurological conditions which includes ADHD.
There is a myth that autism can be easier to spot in men than in women. Boys are usually diagnosed earlier than girls. This is thought to be because girls mask better than boys. However, this is not true and there is no “girls autism” and no “boys autism”. Some boys mask and some girls don’t, some boys are diagnosed late and some girls are diagnosed early.
There is a myth that Autistic people lack empathy, but this isn’t true. Many autistic people actually have a lot of empathy but don’t show it in “conventional” ways. They actually experience a lot of sensory input from the world around them. This can lead to sensory overload or meltdowns, so they need a quiet place to recover.
However, autistic people are usually very direct, seeing things in ‘black and white’. They tend not to understand the need for small talk and this can be they’re assumed to be rude. Some autistic people find it hard to interpret non-verbal cues, pick up on moods or taking turns to speak. They can find hints and sarcasm confusing
Most autistic people find eye contact to be tiring, uncomfortable or even painful. Do not force it upon them. They often prefer routine and planned events, rather than spur of the moment events.
Neurotypicals can help autistic people at work by being clear about what you want and setting clear goals and measures of success. They will feel much more comfortable if you allow them to miss big meetings, work independently in a quiet area and take regular sensory breaks!
Autistic people work best when they have intellectually challenging projects to work on and deliver. Value and encourage their unique thinking. Support them to speak and contribute to group settings. Lastly, creative an atmosphere of neurodiversity and acceptance in your workplace!
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