Autism is defined as a neurological “disorder” or “condition”, how ever most of the autistic community dislike the phrasing disorder or condition, preferring neurotype or Neurodiversity.
Autism affects social interactions, imagination and communication, and no-one autistic person is like another.

Link is from The National Autistic Society explaining autism.

“If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism”

Dr Stephen Shore

Every autistic person has strengths and struggles, those that refer to autism as having “levels” are only describing how they’ve experienced someone’s autism. Under the medical model of autism functioning labels High and Low are referred to.

A autistic perspective: Describing an autistic person as “high-functioning” defers away from the significant struggles they can have but mask and blend in, often exploding later or falling asleep due to too much peopling!

Ever looking for something to show to others to help them understand what autism is?

This was originally shared to be by a clinical psychologist. It’s fantastic, very clear and very child friendly.  Click the link or watch it below.

Amazing Things Happen

I spent my childhood doing things my way, in away that suited me. 

I didn’t know I was autistic until I was 44! 

What does this mean for me?

It helped me better understand myself. 

Understanding the reasons why I might have been seen as weird, and different as a child.  I also benefitted from 2 amazing schools that adapted for me, this was 1988-1993. Virtually unheard of then. 

As I entered my last year in Secondary I was invited to be a prefect. After only a few weeks I wasn’t coping with the changing routines and areas. Now, the school could have said “you can’t be a prefect then!”- they didn’t. Instead, they made a prefect role just for me, a prefect librarian- I was able to stay in my preferred l place at breaks and lunch and helped monitor pupils there. 

At college, I managed 2 A levels and an AS, photography, Media, and French. (For some reason I had an aptitude for languages, but not English grammar. 😃

I was offered University places at Salford and Southampton, but I turned them down for my own reasons at the time. 

I applied for the Royal Navy, scoring 98% in only entry exams, so much I was offered an enhanced position that would normally take 2 years to achieve. I turned it down due to family health reasons. I never regretted it. 

For a few years, I flitted between jobs, these including nannying and Door Supervision (“bouncer”). 

I went on to get a photography job with a national company gaining up to being an area trainer. After having children, I retrained from what I am doing now. 

Now for some reading this, I can visualise comments such as “well, you’re obviously high functioning to be able to do what you do”! 

Autism doesn’t have functioning labels. For those that disagree, that’s fine, but please understand that the majority of the actually autistic community doesn’t use functioning labels either. 

What you see is us “coping”- masking. Yes, we can mask for a whole day!

What you don’t see is us in meltdown because a regular route home changed, my meltdown in a supermarket because things have been moved around. 

My blasting techno music to regulate. My stimming or doodling during a meeting helps me focus and regulate. 

My making excuses not to go out with friends as being social is exhausting. I wrote this whilst sitting at a BBQ for my youngests free-running group. I’ve chatted a little but mostly sat tying/working to look busy, hoping I’m not forced to talk to strangers. 

If you like to better understand autism, attend. one of my training sessions or webinars. 

You don’t see my managing a household of multiple autistics and a neurotypical, the clashes we have. Then crashing after dropping them to school as we have a bad morning. 

It is only now in the new Mental Health Act 2022 (still in draft) being proposed that Autism is removed as being classified within it as a “mental health” condition. As much as it can affect mental health it is not a mental health condition.