The challenges of autism

It is estimated that 1.2% of the Dutch population has been diagnosed with autism, which is approximately 190,000 people. But not everyone has an official diagnosis.

Autism is different for everyone. Autism is a spectrum disorder, and what one person experiences may not necessarily mean another will experience it. The characteristics, challenges, and talents are unique to each person.

According to the DSM-5, autism is characterized by experiencing obstacles in social communication skills and/or in repetitive patterns of behavior, limited interests and activities. Within that you will find a spectrum of differences and it can sometimes be difficult to find out where the obstacles and opportunities lie for an individual.

Our society is designed for ‘the average child’. Schools are based on a curriculum and standard learning lines that the average child should be able to follow and in which an average course of development takes place. But with autism, the development is different. This means that autistics do not always go along with what is expected of them from their environment. Sometimes someone with autism can pick up great theories, but collaborating with others or planning homework is a challenge.

On the other hand, people with autism often possess unique talents that society also needs. For example, the Dutch Autism Association names talents such as an eye for detail, analytical thinking, honesty, loyalty and technical insight as talents of people with autism. But again, this means that one person with autism may have a talent for analytical thinking, but another is incredibly creative. The challenges of people with autism are unique, but so are the talents and possibilities.

Autism involves many challenges, such as processing stimuli, for example sound, light, tension, emotions; processing information, such as applying learned theories and skills in practice and to different situations; emotion regulation, for example understanding and responding to emotions of oneself and others; and 21st-century skills, such as flexibility, communication, social interaction, and contextualization.

Uitdagingen in Onderwijs bij Autisme - Begeleiding door Odett

Autistic challenges in education

Education is intended to further develop you as a person by acquiring new competencies. Competencies consist of skills, knowledge, and professional attitude. People with autism often experience a lot of pressure and stress within regular education because it does not match their learning needs. The higher the education, the more independently you are expected to solve these challenges yourself. This causes a negative effect to an individuals well-being, and a reduction or lack of competency development. In turn this lack of support could make it more difficult for autistic young adults to successfully complete an education and find a job.

Everyone has the right to good and meaningful education, regardless of the way in which you develop as a person. Personalized life coaching can help you with regards to education by working on developing the 21st-century skills you need. This includes studying more effectively, developing social skills, flexibility, planning and organizing your time, as well as balancing school/private life.

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Autisti challenges at work

Finding and keeping meaningful work can be difficult for people with autism. Only, slechts 28% says that have work fitting their ambitions and education.
Even though many autistics have characteristics and skills that are very valuable for the job market. Besides experiencing bias, not every company offers the right amount of support or understands autism and the needs of the individual. Discussing the possibilities for support with a manager can sometimes be experienced as stressful.

With the help of a life coach, we can see how we can achieve your work goals. For example, finding a job (the right job, job interviews, and personal development) or preparing for a meeting with your manager (communicative skills, goal-oriented communication, and conflict management).

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Uitdagingen in Werk bij Autisme - Begeleiding door Odett
Uitdagingen in Wonen bij Autisme - Begeleiding door Odett

Autistic challenges when living independently

Growing up also includes moving out of your parental home and taking care of yourself. This can be a challenge for people with autism. Challenges can include finding a suitable living space (because of overstimulation of noise, smells, or social safety), but also challenges such as grocery shopping, and developing healthy lifestyles such as healthy cooking, exercise, sleeping, and working. Many young adults with autism experience challenges in this regard and as a result, often continue to live at home or switch to 24-hour care (protected living) with continuous supervision.
In average in the Netherlands, 46% of autistic people live on their own without guidance and an additional 10% has the added support of a life coach.

A life coach can help you by supporting you in the process of learning to support yourself by making the steps smaller and achievable

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Autistic challenges in social relationships

Establishing and maintaining social relationships is not always easy for people with autism, despite the fact that many wish for more social contact. But because society often expects different behaviors, you may sometimes feel pressured or out of place. Disadvantages of few social contacts or negative experiences in relationships can lead to low self-confidence and loneliness, which leads to a decrease in the quality of life. Establishing and maintaining social relationships is key for a happy and healthy life.

Through life coaching we would work on developing your self-confidence and self-understanding. The next step would be to engage in social events and to build relationships, for example, a sports- or hobby club or perhaps even a speed dating event.

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Uitdagingen in Relaties, Vrienden, Familie bij Autisme - Begeleiding door Odett