(Please note: Not everything mentioned in this article will apply for every person on the spectrum, as Autism affects people differently).
Understanding What Autism Is
Put simply, Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects the way we sense the world and how we communicate with others. We see, feel and hear the world differently, meaning that we may be over or undersensitive to sight, sounds, textures, taste and touch.
Known as a ‘spectrum’ condition, although we share certain difficulties, Autism can affect us all differently and at different levels. Some people can lead independent lives, but others may require lifelong support. Some of the common characteristics include:
Autism as a ‘Spectrum’
Now you know the basics, how does Autism affect us all differently? To begin with, while many of the above characteristics are shared, we may experience them all differently or some of us may not experience some of the characteristics at all. On top of this, Autism can also range from severe to mild.
For example: Those on the severe end of the spectrum may be highly over or undersensitive to sensory stimuli, have difficulties with social communication and can only communicate in minimal terms, if at all. On the other hand, Autism can look fairly minimal; a person may be able to communicate well and not have as many difficulties processing language, but that doesn’t mean the characteristics aren’t there. Some people on the spectrum may choose to mask their behaviors, and this can sometimes be out of fear that they may be judged by others. Maintaining eye contact, copying others behavior, trying to stay still and forcing ourselves to initiate a conversation, are just some examples of masking behaviors.
With Autism affecting us all differently, being on the spectrum may not be immediately obvious. While we share certain difficulties, it’s vital to note that they can affect us all differently. However, there are also many positives to being on the Spectrum, which can not only been seen individually, but can also be brought into the workplace. In the next section, we’ll look at just some of the many reasons why Autism should be embraced, and tips for managing an Autistic employee.
If you would like to find out more about Autism, be sure to check out these links: