Wednesday, 9 September 2015

The Autism Spectrum

by Jack Rockett

As many of you in my year will know, I am on the Autism Spectrum. Since I experience it every day, I know a lot about it but many people know very little about this condition. A common but gigantic misconception is that the Autism Spectrum is a bad thing and that everyone on the spectrum is upset and wants to be off it. This is incredibly wrong as I really like being on the Autism Spectrum and seeing the world in a different way than to everyone else and the majority of people on the Autism Spectrum want acceptance into society for being different. By publishing articles about this from a personal perspective, I hope to increase knowledge and awareness about the Autism Spectrum within the school and, in the future, across the world as I hope that we can get rid of all of the prejudice judgements of ignorant people across the world.. 

First off all I would like to get some of the biggest misconceptions about the Autism Spectrum out of the way, of which some really make me think that some people have been living under a rock with no Wi-Fi for the past ten years. Autism isn’t one single thing; it includes many different traits which appear at varying degrees within people on the Autism Spectrum meaning that every single case of Autism Spectrum Disorder is different. It is not a disease or illness in any way and there is no cure and there never will be. I was born on the Autism Spectrum and I will be on it for the rest of my life. Neither vaccines nor ignorant parents cause Autism Spectrum Disorder. The cause is unknown and it never will be known but close estimates base it around genetic depletion, mutation or duplication. The average IQ of people on the Autism Spectrum isn’t below average. A very high proportion of people on the Autism Spectrum have above average IQs and are far smarter than most neurotypical people.

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a neurological disorder that is mainly characterised by lack of social understanding and social abilities. I usually find it hard to join in in a conversation and I sometimes find it petrifying to start a conversation. I also find it difficult to understand certain social concepts, facial expressions and body language and multiple meanings within the English language which meant that I was terrible at English Literature GCSE. However, I have always been very good at maths as it is a far more logical concept and I am able to work it out in my brain far easier. Because of this, many people on the Autism Spectrum excel in engineering and people believe that if the Autism Spectrum didn’t exist, the world wouldn’t be advanced as much in engineering as it is today. One thing that people are usually very unaware of is that people on the Autism Spectrum have hypersensitivity. I feel very uncomfortable in cold weather and I hate the feeling of rain on my body. There are also many foods that I can’t eat because I can’t stand the texture of them. These affect us a lot more than in neurotypical people as it can make us feel highly anxious or have a meltdown. A trait which many neurotypicals share with people on the Autism Spectrum is need for routine and being aware of what will be happening. However, instead of just getting annoyed when I don’t know what is happening, it sometimes makes me feel really sick and very stressed. 

Autism Spectrum Disorder is not apparent in people from appearance so people usually are surprised when I tell them that I am on the Autism Spectrum and they are very unaware of who around them is on the Autism Spectrum. Many people in the past have found it difficult to understand how I see the world and react to situations and they have got frustrated or been rude to me because of my lack of understanding. I can’t change this about me so if you get frustrated at me for not understanding the situation, do not have a go at me as I am not being ignorant; it is just a situation that I find difficult to work out. There have been many people that have got frustrated at me just because I don’t understand things how everyone else does or my opinion is different. However, I like that I see the world completely differently and I would never want to be neurotypical as my life wouldn’t be as unique as it is. 

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