Living with Autism
By: Hannah S.
From the perspective of someone who understands.
Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is classified as a developmental disability. It’s a neurological variation and impacts all types of people all over the world. However, it is also classified as a spectrum disorder and the impact it has on each individual is different. This can make it hard to understand or even diagnose but, there are a few key factors that are present throughout the spectrum. The list of symptoms is far too long to explain in detail; however, a few key things most Autistics have in common are:
- Sensory issues (issues with light, physical contact, and sound are common)
- Hyperfixation or “special interests” (an intense interest on a focused subject. This can be anything at all.)
- Repetitive, atypical movement. (rocking and hand flapping are the most commonly discussed. These movements are classified as stimming (self stimulation)
- Struggles with social interaction. (this can range from problems making eye contact to being unable to keep up small talk.)
These are not the only classifications required for a diagnosis of autism, but they all are present in most every Autistic.
Autism can cause struggles for people. Though, it can also create good in your life. While it can be incredibly difficult for some to go out to crowded spaces or to deal with change or even loud noise, there’s more to autism than just what can be considered “bad” about it. I’ve talked to several different autistic people and learned what they love most about being autistic.
For me, personally, it’s my special interests. I love that I have such a passion for forensics and that it may lead me to a successful career today. For my friend Erica, she loves stimming. She loves the way she reacts to being excited. Another friend agreed that special interests are amazing and bring incredible joy to him. He also commented that it’s incredibly empowering to be surrounded by online communities encouraging him to be proud of his autism.
Autism is incredibly complicated and impacts people in so many different ways. But at least for the people I interviewed today; we wouldn’t change it for the world. It makes us who we are and it’s something we are born with. To take that away, we all agree, we just wouldn’t feel like ourselves.