Did you know that Albert Einstein, Amadeus Mozart, and Isaac Newton had autism? How about Nikola Tesla, Charles Darwin, and Michaelangelo? Autism isn’t the debilitating disorder that we perceive it to be, and the myths that people with autism are violent or intellectually-challenged, need to go away.
With 1 out of 68 people having autism, it’s very likely that some of our friends or relatives are autistic. Many of these people with autism are misunderstood due to their inability to blend into regular social situations, and a lot of them are bullied in schools and have problems fitting into working life.
To celebrate World Autism Day and all the amazing people with autism, we decided to educate ourselves about what autism really means to the people who have them, so we can understand what they go through and see the world through their eyes. The best way you can help, is to stop perpetuating the myths and learn the truth.
What is Autism?
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) a neuro-development disorder which affects one’s social skills, social development, and restricted or repetitive behaviours and interests. People with autism have problems relating to others, or making sense of the world around them.
This difficulty in communicating can cause them to have meltdowns, which are different from tantrums as the meltdowns are not a choice.
Some people with autism find it difficult to:
- Tell people what they need, or how they feel
- Meet people and make new friends
- Understand what people think and feel
However, everyone with autism is unique and the term “spectrum” reflects the fact that no two of them are alike. To help you see just exactly how different each individual with autism can be, here are 10 things children with autism said:
Rosie, 13, United Kingdom
1. “I don’t want to be different. I am different.”
2. “Every single thing, even things that are not living has a personality and life. If there’s two pairs of shoes, and I pick one, I feel like the other pair will feel left out or something.”
3. “I can feel words. I used to describe a word as slimy and prickly, because that’s how it felt when I said it or how other people said it,”
4. “(Autism) gives me my incredible skill of remembering hundreds of remarkable facts. The inventor of the waffle iron didn’t like waffles. Spain literally means a land of rabbits.”
Ben, United Kingdom
5. “I was bullied in school because people didn’t understand that I had autism. Autism to me, enlargens your emotions to make them more potent. For me it made my anger a lot bigger. When I completely lost it, I will sort of lose my vision. I will be able to hear but I won’t be able to see. And the next thing I know, I’ve been informed by somebody that I sort of attacked somebody or done some sort of damage. They continuously taunted me, called me a bear, I was feared, I was hated. Imagine going to school everyday and not having a single friend. I was very depressed.”
6. “I used to think that every time I got near somebody, they would call the cops on me.”
Elijah, 20, United States
7. “We don’t usually understand emotions. Oftentimes we won’t react appropriately, simply because we don’t understand the emotion in that given situation. It doesn’t mean we don’t care, it just means we don’t know how to react.”
8. “Sometimes it takes us a lot longer to answer questions and do tasks. Simply because we’re thinking about it in a lot more detail than most people normally would.”
9. “Sudden change can make us very anxious and nervous. In these situations, we don’t know what to do because we haven’t mentally prepared for them yet.”
10. “We’re not broken. We don’t need fixing, we don’t need some kind of solution, and we certainly don’t need some kind of cure. We need people to love and accept us and we need them to understand that this is who we are.”
We’ll leave you with three videos that help you learn more about the disorder, and give you a glimpse into the mind of someone with autism:
To learn more about autism, check out:
Do you have autism, or know anyone who does? How do you deal with it? Share with us your experience in the comments below or on our Facebook page.