What is Autism?

Hello, and welcome to my blog post. My name is Ashley and for this post I am going to tell you about autism.

Autism, also known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a serious developmental disorder that impacts the nervous system and impairs the ability to communicate and interact. It is a common condition, with more than 200,000 cases per year. Autistic people may have different ways of learning, moving, or paying attention. And there are different forms of it as well. Some people have severe forms of autism. They may be nonverbal, they may need help taking care of their basic needs, and they may have trouble learning as well as other people their age.

Some people have high-functioning forms of autism, such as myself. From my perspective, I can speak, I can advocate for myself, and I can take care of my basic needs. But I have trouble understanding certain things, such as expressions or jokes. I often need extra clarifications when it comes to doing something for the first time, especially if it’s a task at work, because I don’t want to make a mistake or get anything wrong. I also have trouble being independent. I often need help from people when making phone calls about my medications, or scheduling appointments.

A few symptoms of autism are obsessive interests, difficulty with social interactions, and repetitive behaviors. But the range of symptoms can vary widely. A few other noticeable symptoms are getting upset with changes, avoiding eye contact, obsessed with certain routines, or being very picky with the way things look, smell, taste, sound or feel. Another thing about autism is stimming.

From my own perspective, I love spinning in circles in a desk chair. This is called stimming, or self-stimulating behavior. Other stims are rocking, jumping, or hand/arm-flapping. Stimming happens when a person is feeling overstimulated by things they cannot control, or when they are feeling understimulated. Sometimes it can be to reduce pain, or to self-soothe, or for enjoyment. The reasons behind stimming can vary.

There are some famous people who are autistic, too. Theoretical physicist Albert Einstein was one of them. American academic and animal behaviorist Mary Temple Grandin is another. Even the rapper Eminem has it, which really surprised me. To be specific, he has high functioning Asperger’s syndrome. Singer Susan Boyle, who was once on Britain’s Got Talent, also has Asperger’s syndrome. This surprised me as well, as I did not know that.

While some autistic people often have trouble learning and taking care of themselves, other autistic people are very intelligent. Those people are called savants. They have something called savant syndrome. It is a rare condition in which people with serious mental disabilities have some “island of genius.” But not all savants are autistic. Approximately half of all savants are autistic and the other half often have some form of central nervous system injury or disease.

Autism may affect people in different ways, but at the same time, many autistic people have noticeable characteristics that are similar. For example, many autistic people don’t like to be touched. And many autistic children enjoy water very much, and studies found that autistic children enjoy swimming more than children without autism.

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Meet the Author, Ashley

My name is Ashley. I am a writer. I started writing stories when I was seven years old. They were mostly based on books like Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Dork Diaries, because those series are books that look like they were written in a diary. So I took a notebook and made my own versions, using my imaginary friends as the characters. I don’t remember when it was, but at some point I started writing actual stories and have been doing so ever since. I wrote my first real story when I was nine. I got the inspiration from a story written by a girl I knew, who was much older than me. That’s how I usually come up with my books. I get inspiration from totally random things. Sometimes it’s a song, or a scenery, or something I watched, or all kinds of things.