‘You’re looking at me as I blink three times.
I can feel your eyes, and other people’s, whilst I try to avoid yours.
Your mouth is moving but it blends into the rest of the NOISE. Even though we are sat in a quiet corner away from everyone. I can hear the buzz of their talking. I’d much rather look outside the window, to the busy traffic outside as I rock forwards and backwards (I like to – it makes me feel good, safer even).
I’m trying to LISTEN and pay AtTenTiON. The colours blurring past interest ME more than your face. Even though this sight is giving me a big headache. I stand up^ whilst you’re in –mid- conversation; I miss your expression of confusion.
I just WaNt to go home, where things make more sense. I want to be at PEACE.
Let me be. My autism is only a part of me. Don’t single me out with only this.’
Disclaimer: this is not a real-life excerpt from someone living with Autism, but merely an impression of how one may feel.
How many people have an autistic spectrum disorder?
- Approximately 1% of the population has an autistic spectrum condition.
- The prevalence rate of autistic spectrum conditions is higher in men than it is in women (1.8% vs. 0.2%).
- 60-70% of people who have an autistic spectrum condition will also have a learning disability.
Data taken from the NHS ‘Information Centre’, Estimating the prevalence of autistic spectrum conditions in adults, 2012 (PDF).
A learning disability can affect someone in a wide variety of ways and people with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) may also receive support; this can range from requiring minimal support to lead an active life through to those requiring lifelong, specialist support.
Recent research by the Learning Disabilities Observatory indicates that around 20-30% of people with learning disabilities have an ASD.
ASD is known to be a spectrum disorder, therefore characteristics of ASD are unique to the individual, as well as sharing some common traits. Symptoms of autism usually appear during the first three years of childhood and continue throughout life. Although there is no cure and the cause unknown (in some cases they can be passed down genetically), appropriate management may foster relatively ‘normal’ development and reduce undesirable behaviours. With the help of an understanding support network e.g. parents, it can be less hectic for someone with ASD.
Whether or not some agree it to be a developmental or learning disability – any learning/developmental disorder can be life changing for any child, and sometimes devastating for any parent. However, it’s important to remember that no hardship is given for us to surrender to helplessness or hopelessness – there is always help, and there is always hope.
“Our Lord! Put not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear. Pardon us and grant us Forgiveness. Have mercy on us.”
As mentioned before, the parental support for a child with ASD can be crucial to the wellbeing of the child, but have we ever considered what it is actually like? How difficult it must be to defeat common taboos? How draining it must be to live up to “good standard of parenting”? Are you a parent with a child or family member with ASD? If you would like to share your story, please get in touch!