It's common for people to misunderstand the spectrum of Autism Spectrum Disorders.
I read a post online recently that was written by an adult on the autism spectrum. He writes frequently explaining and defending the concept of neurodiversity in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
The writer stated, “. . . I find that a lot of people use the word autism to describe a person with an intellectual disability. . .”
The writer continued with this statement, “. . . Autistic people tend to not have intellectual disabilities.”
He is partially correct.
In those two statements, this writer has uncovered Misunderstanding #1 about those with autism.
The diagnostic characteristics of autism, including social problems and repetitive behaviors, can occur on a continuum, ranging from mild to severe. That’s the SPECTRUM of autism.
The official diagnostic criteria for autism includes with or without accompanying intellectual impairment.
So does that means there is also a range of intellectual ability? Yes.
Various statistics show almost half of those with ASD demonstrate average or above abilities. That means a little more than half of these individuals exhibit moderate to severe intellectual challenges. That’s a range. It’s the spectrum.
Then there are neurodiverisity questions
I understand the confusion.There seems to be a growing number of individuals with an ASD diagnosis who are struggling to be respected for their skills and abilities rather than being identified has having a disorder.
Neurodiversity emphasizes having a brain that is wired differently. It’s not better. Not worse. It’s just different. But "differently wired" does not automatically mean intellectual impairment.
More autism confusion
And that highlights the struggle experienced by many with an ASD diagnosis. This battle can be experienced by those who experience more ability or those with greater challenges, all along the spectrum.
Educators and parents can easily misjudge the abilities and challenges experienced by an individual, no matter where his or her skills fall on the spectrum.
A student’s uneven learning profile will complicate this situation further. Unexpected skills or bewildering deficits make it more difficult to fully assess these individuals.
And one more thing
Some of those characteristics that result in the ASD diagnosis can actually camouflage or confuse the individual’s true ability.
No wonder many of these students or adults feel misunderstood. Especially those who have or would have received a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome in the past.
Somehow that Asperger’s label helps communication partners form an opinion that is different from the ASD label.
The world doesn't understand
My ebook, AUTISM SUCCESS SECRETS, discusses the topic of skill level in more detail along with many other topics that are often misunderstood about those who have received a diagnosis on the autism spectrum.
Explore how neurodiversity, uneven learning profiles, communication challenges and other complex issues need to be addressed.
Comprehending some of these complicated issues will help you help your students to achieve greater success in school and in life.
These students are growing up in a world that still doesn't understand them very well.
It's time to untangle the spectrum of autism.
But wait. . . there's more. . . .
After I finished writing Autism Success Secrets, I received a lot of questions from parents who have children with an autism diagnosis. I realized they needed something extra.
Parents needed some additional information and clarifications that were not in the first book. Sometimes parents have questions and concerns that are slightly different from those in the educational community.
It includes a discussion guide to help use this book for parent support or group discussion. That will help untangle the spectrum of autism.