Mother and Baby

7 things you may not know about children with autism

Raising an autistic child can be a daunting prospect, but while his behavior may be challenging, it’s also incredibly rewarding

Today World Autism Awareness Day is being marked globally with fundraising and awareness-raising events. The developmental disability affects more than one in 100 adults and children in the UK and is a condition that you may worry your little one is showing signs of.

While there’s no denying it’s tough, and there is no cure, it will affect every person in different ways and comes hand in hand with lots of positives.

1. Incredible potential

Whether a child wants to grow up to be an astronaut or a pianist – it’s all possible for autistic children as they tend to be incredibly motivated and driven.

‘Autistic people can focus for incredibly long periods of time,’ explains Carol Povey, Director of the National Autistic Society's Centre for Autism. ‘This can lead to incredibly successful careers and the development of very special talents.’

2. Hilarious one-liners

People with autism are very honest and aren’t self-conscious, which can lead to very comical comments and observations – and sometimes cringe worthy moments for parents!

3. Harder to diagnose in girls

More males have been diagnosed with the disability than females, but this isn’t to say that a great deal more men are autistic. ‘Autism can be diagnosed from around the age of two and a half to three years old,’ explains Carol. ‘But girls are often never referred for diagnosis and are missed from the statistics,’ says Carol.

This could be for a number of reason, including the fact that girls are more inclined to interact socially and tend to have interests similar to girls without autisim – such as animals, celebrities and classic literature.

4. A unique take on life

While most children have a very short attention span, autistic tots are incredibly concentrated.  

‘People with autism are very focused on the moment,’ says Carol. ‘So they take a lot more from that one moment than most people would.’ Imagine what we would notice if we all took the time to stop and really absorb each moment.

‘They react to sensory stimuli differently and can be over- or under-sensitive to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colour,’ Carol continues.

5. Strong personalities

Just like every child is different, every autistic child is different and has a personality of his, or her, own.

‘Autism is a spectrum condition, meaning that each child’s level of severity is different,’ Carol explains. ‘But each child’s personality really shines through and is clear and defined.

6. The love of solitude

Autistic toddlers tend to prefer playing alone rather than with other children. ‘An autistic child may not use pretend play,’ says Carol. ‘For example, he may spend time lining up toy cars rather then making them zoom around – as another infant would.

7. A different way of communicating

Avoiding eye contact is another sign of autism as is a delay in language development, which can make communicating difficult. ‘An autistic toddler may have an unusual way or saying words or sound stilted when he speaks,’ Carol says.

And they tend to have a literal understanding of language – so sarcasm is difficult for them to use or understand. ‘It helps to speak in a clear, consistent way and give people with autism time to process what has been said to them,’ explains Carol.

Is your child autistic? If so, what do you want the world to know about him or her? Let us know in the comments box below.


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