When it comes to the general public’s understanding of individuals with autism, it is apparent that most people are unacquainted and uninformed about their behaviours, symptoms, and personal struggles. This is likely due to a lack of interaction with them, creating a kind of distance that can cause stigma and biases.
A few of the key difficulties of individuals with autism are firstly, difficulty in social communication and interaction; secondly, a likelihood for their language and speech development to be impaired; and lastly, the tendency to exhibit repetitive or restrictive patterns of behaviours, interests, and activities. Though the conditions of each individual with autism can be different and vary across the spectrum, these are the common issues they face. Before we make any judgements that lead to misconceptions, it is important for us to be empathetic towards them and gain a deeper understanding of how and why they display such atypical behaviours.
Due to the aforementioned difficulties, individuals with autism are usually lonely and have to cope with tremendous amounts of stress on a daily basis. Hence, as compared to the general population, individuals on the autism spectrum are also more likely to be challenged with mental health issues due to the nature of autism.
The table below shows the different possible psychological struggles faced by individuals with autism and some suggestions to minimise or cope with them.
I hope the table gives you an overview of the psychological struggles that are commonly faced by individuals with autism. To think about it, they are facing a much tougher life than typical individuals and learning how to function purposefully and eventually integrating into society is a bigger challenge than most. Being part of the society, both us and them, the least we could do is lend a helping hand whenever needed and not spread prejudice and misconceptions about them. Fundamentally, we are all human beings and we should be encouraging and accepting that we are all different in our own ways. Cheers to being different!
Written by Mabel
Cognitive Rigidity: The 8-Ball from Hell. (2016, August 1). Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/sg/blog/making-sense-autistic-spectrum-disorders/201608/cognitive-rigidity-the-8-ball-hell
Pratt, C., Hopf, R., & Larriba-Quest, K. (2017). Characteristics of individuals with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The Reporter, 21(17). Retrieved from https://www.iidc.indiana.edu/pages/characteristics
Webb, S. J. (2019, July 16). For autistic children, emotional problems may hinder social success. Retrieved from https://www.spectrumnews.org/opinion/for-autistic-children-emotional-problems-may-hinder-social-success/