Is Autism a Disability?

What is Autism?

Autism is a developmental disorder and a spectrum condition that affects the male population more than their female counterparts. It is a lifelong disorder and has no known cure. Individuals diagnosed with autism experience the symptoms all their life.

They will always have difficulty interacting with other people socially because they behave and think differently. The way their brains process information is different from ordinary people.

In some cases, it afflicts people with learning disabilities, sensory processing disorders, mental health issues or other disorders. It has a broad range of conditions depending on the person’s symptoms or behavior.

Some autistic persons only exhibit one symptom while others seem to suffer from multiple symptoms. 

Seeing the possible signs of autism vary per individual. For some, the red flags can be clearly seen in babies as early as six months while others exhibit the symptoms much later. Early detection and intervention can help improve the quality of life for the autistic person and their respective families.

Children or adults diagnosed with autism can only experience relief in the form of therapy.

Is Autism a disability?

Autism is not a disability and should never be considered as such.

They struggle to make sense of their environment because of the way their brains are wired. Some are perfectly fine on their own while others need assistance to complete their daily tasks.

People with autism are just the same as any other human being. They have individual preferences, mannerisms, a way of doing things, or interpreting information that set them apart from other people without any handicaps.

Signs that tell you a person has autism

The signs and symptoms of autism vary widely. The information you get from this article is only meant to educate. It’s not a valid replacement for a doctor's medical diagnosis.

Problems with communication and social interaction

They avoid interacting with other people because it overwhelms their senses like establishing eye contact or being touched. They have difficulties communicating or understanding facial expressions, the tone of voice during conversations, jokes, or euphemisms.

Exhibits repetitive or restrictive behavior

They try to say a word repeatedly or stick to a routine such as turning a doorknob four or five times before going out the door. Other times, they have an unusual inclination or interest about a particular topic or hobby and talks about it endlessly. Most of all, they quickly get upset when there are unexpected changes in their daily routine.

Exhibits unusual reactions when exposed to sounds, visuals, touch, smell, or taste.

They can either be under- or over-sensitive because of their sensory processing disorders. Some of the examples are:

  • Sounds (sense of hearing) – They don’t like people whispering in their ears or hearing sudden loud noises.
  • Visuals (sense of sight) – They either love seeing a striped pattern or hates seeing bright and flashing lights.
  • Tactile (sense of touch) – They don’t like being touched by other people through handshakes or can’t stand touching a smooth or rough surface.
  • Scents (sense of smell) – They can’t tell if it’s a pleasant odor or not while some want to smell a specific scent all the time.
  • Taste (sense of taste) – They prefer eating sweet or salty food or only eat homecooked meals.

Excel in Math, Science, Arts, Music, etc.

Persons with high functioning autism are blessed with superior IQ or talent. Their auditory or visual learning skills are sometimes better than average. Some possess a photographic memory or a genius IQ.

What causes autism?

There is no known cause for autism. Medical professionals often cite environmental conditions and genetics to play a significant role.

Environmental conditions

The living conditions affected the child’s development during pregnancy. The mother may have had a history of alcohol or substance abuse before or during pregnancy. Sometimes, it’s the exposure to harmful chemicals that may have affected the child’s condition.

Genetics

The child’s family either from the mother or father side has a known history of autism. The older brother also has autism, has a low birth weight, or the child is a menopausal baby.

It is not caused in any way by how the parents brought up the child while growing up.

What is living with an autistic person like?

Caring for an autistic child is a real challenge in itself. They need special attention and have different sets of needs. You need to talk to them in a manner they can easily understand.

You must learn how to see things from their perspective to understand how they think. Teach them to learn new things through fun activities or support them in their hobbies. Visit museums, local shows or attend events where their hobbies are featured.

Encourage but never force them to join groups or clubs that share a similar interest to foster social interaction with other people.

Create an environment that helps them feel and become better. Assign tasks that are appropriate for their abilities and physical or mental condition.

Use their situation to learn more about yourself and become a better person.