The challenges of autism
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.