When a person is diagnosed with Autism it can open the door for them to better understand themselves, and in turn try to explain to others so that they can better explain too. Holly, aged 12, wanted to explain to her classmates about her Autism and talk openly about it.
Along with the National Autistic Society and creativity agency Don’t Panic, Holly made a film about how not being given enough time to process things can overwhelm her. She then bravely led a school assembly with the film’s first ever screening. Coinciding with World Autism Awareness Week it is hoped that people will become more aware of the needs of people with Autism and adapt their behaviour accordingly.
In fact, based on a 2017 Censuswide online poll of 2,321 adults:
- 56% of respondents think someone who doesn’t reply immediately to a question in person isn’t paying attention,
- and 24% think they’re rude
- Almost 80% (78%) say they would change their behaviour if they knew autistic people needed extra time to process information
- 48% say they’d wait for someone to answer and 42% said they’d repeat the question, if someone didn’t reply immediately to them.
Small changes can make a big difference: For example Holly is allowed to leave her classroom 5 minutes early because the noisy and busyness is too overwhelming for her otherwise. Other problems and solutions at school can be found here. Those who have Autism may also have Sensory Integration problems and struggle to filter out the sounds, smells, sights and information in their environment. This can affect their whole lives including issues such as sleeping, brushing their teeth, having their hair and nails cut, and this is just the beginning of a day. It can be exhausting for them and is sometimes referred to as running out of spoons.
According to a 2017 survey of 1,610 autistic people and their families in the UK:
- 77% think the public don’t understand their need for more time to process information.
- 82% said this makes them feel anxious; 48.5% said it can lead to a meltdown or shutdown.
- In the last year, due to worries about not being given enough processing time:
- 5% said they’d chosen not to socialise
- 39% said they’d avoided going shopping
- 35% said they’d chosen not to go to a café or restaurant
- 28% said they’d chosen not to visit their GP or apply for a job
- The top three things that could help when someone needs extra processing time are:
- more time to respond (79%)
- a quiet, calm setting (74%)
- Information in advance (71%).
More than 1 in 100 people are on the autism spectrum, including an estimated 700,000 people in the UK. To find out more about the Too Much Information campaign and learn more about the pledges, visit: www.autism.org.uk/TMI
- See also why you should claim benefits for your child who has Autism and other Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder Information.