What is Autism?

Image: a rainbow infinity symbol, used to represent neurodiversity
Autism is a neurological difference that is technically considered a developmental disability.  No two Autistics are the same, but many of them share these common characteristics:

  • Being hyper- or hyposensitive to certain stimuli, such as noises, visual patterns, food textures, etc.
  • Uncommon ways of problem solving, such as doing more difficult tasks first, then the easier tasks.  Executive functioning problems.
  • "Special interests" - deep fixations on certain topics.  For example, train schedules or even store locations on an advertisement.
  • Repetitive movements, known as "stimming".  These movements can include body-rocking, hand-flapping, jumping, etc.
  • Very focused on routine, consistency and order.  Can become very upset when the routine is broken.
  • Having trouble expressing and understanding language used in typical communication, both verbal and non-verbal.
  • Having trouble understanding and expressing typical social interaction.  For example, not saying "Hi." immediately after someone says it to you.
Autism can be diagnosed by a psychologist, psychiatrist, neuropsychologist or a licensed clinical social worker.  Keep in mind, that one does not need a diagnosis to be Autistic.

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