AUTISM
aCTUALLYaUTISTIC

Mulán

Foto: Magnus Aronsson

People tend to be uneducated even when it's their job to take care of us and that makes me feel unsafe.

Mulán

WHAT DO PEOPLE WITH AUTISM NEED?

Your understanding, your respect and your willingness to adjust the situation and relationship so that the autistic person is able to participate on his or hers premises.


Like all people, autistic people need to feel loved, accepted and appreciated for who they are. Because of high sensitivity, address an autistic person in distress with low arousal approach.

DON'T!

Pity, blame, bully or demand that a person with autism behave neurotypical.

WHAT IS AUTISM?


Autism is a spectrum condition. That means that people with autism share certain difficulties but are affected differently depending on how prominent a certain autistic trait is.


Let's be clear. Autism is not a disease. People with autism do not need to be healed, cured or fixed. It's lifelong and debute in early childhood.


People with Autism has difficulties with social communication and social interaction. It means, for instance, they can't read people's mimic, tone of voice and body language the same way neurotypicals do. And vice versa! Neurotypicals tend to have a very hard time to understand the intents, emotions and behavour of people with Autism.


Moreover, people with Autism in different ways show a restriced and repetitive pattern in behaviour, activities and interests. They might prefere a fixed way to do things, have an extreme interest and knowledge about their favorite soccer team, k-pop band or NASA space rockets.


They often struggle with executive and cognitive difficulties, mentalizing and high sensibility to sound, smell, bright light and touch. It means, for instance, that they can't draw conclusions on previous experiences as neurotypicals do.

As a result a lot of energy need to be directed towards things other people do automatically, leaving an Autistic person easily overwhelmed and exhausted.

Jiang

Foto: Magnus Aronsson

School/Skolan 

(in Swedish)


Redan i lågstadiet har hälften av flickorna med autism problem med närvaron, orsakad av en skola och ett skolsystem som vare sig har kompetens eller vilja att möta elever med autism. Trots Skollagens portalparagraf om individanpassad undervisning och uppdrag att stötta barn att utvecklas till sin fulla potential, är skolgången för elever med autism en katastrof. Över hälften av elever i grundskolan som har autism går ut, utan grundläggande gymnasiebehörighet.


Ett alldeles för vanligt scenario är att barnen får ångest i en miljö som inte är anpassad och som saknar kompetens att förstå vad barnen behöver. De får ont i magen, ont i huvudet, raseriutbrott hemma och snart nog klarar de inte av att gå dit. Eftersom vi (tack och lov) har skolplikt avkrävs vårdnadshavarna att se till att barnet kommer till skolan. Många föräldrar vittnar om det kompakta ointresse som möter dem när de vill diskutera anpassningar och barnets behov. Inte sällan resulterar det i ett destruktivt ömsesidigt skuldbeläggande och orosanmälningar till socialförvaltningen.


Känner du igen dig? Gå med i föräldranätverket Barn i Behov på Facebook, i Autism- och aspergerförbundet eller Riksförbundet Attention. Du är inte ensam och hjälp finns att få! Jiang håller också föreläsningar om skolan och går att boka här.



Picture from the homepage: hejlskov.se
Low Arousal Approach, logo

Low Arousal Resources

Bo Hejlskov Elvén,

clinical psychologist. Homepage in Swedish and English.

Low Arousal Approach and Studio III.

Low Arousal Approach


One way to approach people with Autism, at home, in school and in public, is to use the Low Arousal approach. It's an approach focusing on reducing stress and on preventing situations to escalate into a meltdown or crisis.


By identifying triggers and using early identification and intervention, paired with low intensity strategies and solutions, the goal is to make the person with Autism keep, or regain control of him- or herself, in that way avoiding the person to panic. Panic may cause people (not just with Autism) to be aggresive, hysterical and unable to control his or hers behaviour.


Working with Low Arousal Approach, punitive and aggressive responses can be avoided and situations not becoming dangerous, for the person or for his or hers surrounding.

Above all, life with with Autism have taught me to be humble of other people's experiences and behaviour.

Jiang

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Big shoutout to Magnus Aronson, amazing photographer and FRIEND!