A Spectrum of Humans


Kaelen Tynes, Staff Writer

Day to day life may be challenging for some people. The bright lights, the noise, being social, as well as the need for communication, these are things that may be challenging for people on the Autism spectrum. Someone with Autism may be overwhelmed by these situations, them having a set routine in their daily life can help create a sense of order.

ASD or Autism Spectrum Disorder is described by Autistic Self Advocacy Network as a “neurological variation that occurs in about one percent of the population and is classified as a developmental disability.” People with autism may not be able to socialize and communicate well; this may make social relationships challenging. They are susceptible to sensory problems which means that certain sounds, taste, textures and smells may bother them compared to a neurotypical (someone who isn’t autistic).

According to Raphael Vigil, a sophomore at Da Vinci Communications, there are many misconceptions about people that are on the Autism spectrum.

“Mostly bad, dank memers always make fun of Autistic people and the media pretty much ignores them,” Vigil responded in concern to how people online make fun of Autistic people, as well as the media not acknowledging Autistics.

Vigil also explained how he feels that the media and organizations such as “Autism Speaks” contribute to the dehumanization and misrepresentation of Autistics. “They portray them terribly, they say that they cause their parent’s marriages to fail, like in the ‘I am autism’ video.”

Youth on the Autism Spectrum can be seen as violent; someone with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) may have a meltdown because they may be overwhelmed with sensory or emotion, and this could then be misinterpreted as a tantrum or intentional violence.

Although being on the spectrum has its difficulties, just like neurotypicals, many people on the Autism spectrum find themselves in their interests. These interests can be a love for math and science, drawing, reading or video games. For autistic people, being able to focus on something they love can give them an advantage in certain skills in life.

“Autistic people are very smart and have amazing ideas that most people don’t think of. Some think that Autistic people are dumb, but those who make fun of Autistics need to look in the mirror.” Vigil stated, referring to how people are blind to any form of intelligence in people with Autism.

Sometimes, individuals on the Autism spectrum can take things such as a joke and sarcasm literally, or they may not understand social or verbal cues. Cynthia Harris, a mother of a moderately Autistic 17-year-old teen, explains her son’s disability.

“I would categorize Jordan’s level of autism as moderate to severe,” she said. “He has very good receptive language and he is able to understand a lot. His expressive language is very weak, he has great difficulty communicating his needs to others, He has behaviors that would put him in the category of severe. He displays at times aggressive behaviors to others and can be very hyper at times. Even though at times he may be aggressive he is not violent towards others at all.”

“In social situations Jordan is not able to regulate his body, he does not understand boundaries and will often display inappropriate behaviors while in public. For example he will engage in verbal stimming, making loud sounds, and approach strangers in public. He does not initiate interactions with his same age peers. He enjoys being around others in the community he does not know how to interact appropriately,” Harris added.

According to Lizeth Robles, a child behavioral therapist from Intercare Therapy,“There are many outreach programs that can support teens become more involved socially. Programs are available through regional center or through your healthcare provider. Programs that focus on developmental and social growth, Mychal’s learning place, Friendship foundation and YMCA.”

Robles explained that many teenagers are misdiagnosed, as well as, undiagnosed. “Yes, Autism is often misdiagnosed under ADHD, learning disability and other times as children they don’t quite qualify under the spectrum. There might also be in denial from parents to take their children to be tested.”

Many people on the Autism spectrum despite their disability, have an advantage of using their interests to enhance their life. To help or support people on the Autism spectrum you can donate to an organization such as the Autism Self Advocacy Network.