Autism is a neurovariety that affects how an autistic person communicates and interacts with their environment.
It is diagnostically characterized by challenges in social interaction, communication, and repetitive or restrictive behaviours. However, many of the traits included in the diagnostic criteria are often simply how an autistic person experiences distress when their needs are not met and they are not supported by adaptations.
Autistic socialising and communication may look different from neurotypical interactions, but the autistic way is not “worse” or “problematic”, it’s just different.
No two autistic individuals are the same and they have varied strengths and traits. Autistic individuals typically experience difficulties in understanding and responding to inferred social cues, and they may have a preference for routine, prefer direct and clear speech, and are comforted by predictability.
Many autistic folks have sensory sensitivities and struggle with executive dysfunctions.
The disabling aspects of autism can be greatly reduced by accommodations, adjustments, and creating a more accessible and less ableist society.
Can you have both Autism and ADHD?
Are autistic people intellectually disabled?
Autism is not an intellectual disability. Few autistic adults have intellectual disabilities1, but autism is highly prevalent in intellectually disabled people.