Some of the young adults who will be working at Brownies&downieS will have a disability called Autism. It is hard to explain exactly what it is, but let’s delve into it so that you, our customers and readers, can learn and understand a bit more about it.

What Is Autism?

Autism is actually called Autism Spectrum Disorder, which infers that it covers a wide spectrum, or levels of severity. For some people with autism it can be hard to communicate, while others have problems with their sight, hearing or touch.

There is not one explanation that specifies autism, but it is disorder that affects the brain and the body. Their brain processes things differently from ours.

Sometimes people with autism throw what some people could call a tantrum. This is not because they want to, but rather because all of their senses are overloading. They hear people talking, they smell food, they see bright light, and everything is amplified 4-fold, and it gets too much for them. They will then act out and behave differently.

Another important thing to mention is that when you talk about people with autism, is that they don’t read social cues, facial expressions or voice inflections. They will only know how you feel by you telling them. The best way to explain this is that it would be the same as us looking at a robot – you can’t know how a robot feels because its voice and face are always the same. That is what it looks like to an autistic child when they see people showing their emotions: they just see them in a neutral sense.

No matter the disability, people will always fear what they do not understand. Once you understand, you can start to accept. When you start to accept, your thinking of people with autism will change. You will learn to understand that every person is different – some may need a little bit more time, help, love or even a little bit more attention. Working with people with autism is not easy, and it can expose some tough and scary feelings; like frustration, and anger. But that is no different from working with anybody else. On the other hand, it can teach you that everyone is different and to look back on your own life and change, begin anew, take nothing for granted, and live each day with a new sense of appreciation.  They will teach you life lessons you’d never guess would have been possible.

Written by Wendy Vermeulen and Wade Schultz.

Published by Wade Schultz.