People on the autism spectrum and their relatives and carers face many issues, and some problems, on a day to day basis.
This section identifies some of the most common issues and problems. However it is important to remember that each autistic person is a unique individual, with unique needs and abilities. Because of this, he or she will experience those issues in a unique way or may not experience them at all.
It is just as important to remember that some autistic individuals don't think of autism as an issue at all, it's just the way they are.
Some people on the autism spectrum do not think autism is a problem.
"People need to get over the idea that the neuro-typical way is 'right' and any other way is 'wrong'. The AS way is just as valid - in fact better in some respect. We should be accepted in our own right and the emphasis should be on educating NTs not to be so discriminatory and to get over the absurd and offensive idea that they are better then anyone else. People with AS don't need to be 'cured' or trained as to how to 'pretend' to be normal - it is the 'normal' people who need to learn that, contrary to what they think, they are not the pinnacle of God's creation and that there is in fact a lot they could learn from Aspies. They need to be taught not to be prejudiced and discriminatory and to accept and accommodate us for who we are."
(Quoted in Beardon, L and Edmonds, G. (2007). ASPECT Consultancy Report. A national report on the needs of adults with Asperger syndrome. Sheffield: Sheffield Hallam University.)
Autism is a condition that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them.
Individuals on the autism spectrum vary enormously from each other but they all share the two "core" features of autism:
- persistent difficulties with social communication and social interaction. For example, they may find it hard to begin or carry on a conversation, they may not understand social rules such as how far to stand from somebody else, or they may find it difficult to make friends.
- Restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviour, interests, or activities. For example, they may develop an overwhelming interest in something, they may follow inflexible routines or rituals, they may make repetitive body movements, or they may be hypersensitive to certain sounds.
Many autistic people are reported to have secondary difficulties, that is, issues not symptomatic of autism but very common in people on the autism spectrum. For example, many autistic people appear to have
Most people on the autism spectrum are reported to have additional conditions and syndromes which bring their own problems and which complicate the issues caused by autism. For example
For more information please see Conditions and syndromes related to or commonly occurring alongside autism
Most people on the autism spectrum find it hard to integrate into society. For example, they may struggle to
Relatives and carers of people on the autism spectrum also face issues and problems. For example they may
As Temple Grandin, an autistic woman says, there is no 'one-size fits all' solution to the issues faced by people on the autism spectrum. What works for one person may not work for another.
'People are always looking for the single magic bullet that will totally change everything. There is no single magic bullet.' (Temple Grandin)
This website aims to provide information about some of the interventions used to help overcome some of these issues.
You may also find it useful to look at the Resources on Autism section of this website. Here you will find organisations and other resources that may help you tackle some of the issues.