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The Colours of Autism - How an individual's unique trait shape their world

www.womenshine.in | April 2, 2024

World Autism Awareness Day is observed on April 2nd every year, towards the aims of increasing understanding, acceptance, and support for individuals living with autism. The theme for this year is "Empowering Autistic Voices," which highlights on augmenting the voices, contexts and perspectives of individuals on the autism spectrum, thereby promoting inclusivity, understanding, and empowerment.

For us to truly appreciate and support individuals with autism, it is crucial to understand their unique strengths. Autism, also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), constitutes a diverse group of neurodevelopmental conditions related to the development of the brain. This also impacts how these group of individuals perceive, function and interact with the world around them.

Society often establishes prescribed "typical” or “normal" behaviors, however, it is important to acknowledge and appreciate the unique traits of individuals with ASD. Embracing these traits promotes inclusivity and celebrates the variety within the human experience. A prominent feature of ASD is the desire for routine and repetition. Rather than viewing this as rigid and inflexibility, we should recognize the sense of comfort, predictability, safety and reassurance it brings to individuals with ASD.

Many individuals living with autism have strong responses to sensory inputs. Some find specific sounds, textures, or lights to be overwhelming, while others seek comfort in repetitive actions or sensory experiences. Instead of seeing these differences as challenges, we should appreciate them as alternative ways of experiencing the world. By designing spaces that accommodate and cater to diverse sensory needs, we can help individuals with autism participate and thrive in different environments.

When it comes to communicating, individuals living with autism often have different ways of expressing themselves. Some prefer to use non-verbal modes of communication, sign language or visual aids to express themselves. Instead of accepting verbal communication as the sole means of communication, society should embrace the alternative modes of communicating and meet them where they are most comfortable. This process allows societal members to facilitate meaningful connections with people on the spectrum.

As responsible members of the community, it is important for us to acknowledge that the strengths associated with autism often go unrecognized in mainstream society. People with autism frequently demonstrate extraordinary skills in areas like math, music, and art due to their distinctive thought and information processing skills. Nurturing these talents not only empowers individuals with autism but also benefits our communities by showcasing their valuable contributions.

While we celebrate the unique strengths of autistic individuals, we must acknowledge the difficulties they encounter in an environment tailored for neurotypical individuals (those without autism). From overwhelming sensory experiences to social hurdles, the challenges can be immense and deeply distressing. However, through fostering acceptance, understanding, showing empathy, and inclusivity, we can establish a community that values autistic individuals for their unique qualities rather than condemning them for their differences.

Autism is not a one-size-fits-all condition, but rather a spectrum of unique traits that shape the worldviews of individual in profound ways. By embracing these differences and creating a more inclusive and empathetic community, the larger society can ensure that every person, regardless of their neurodiversity, receives equal opportunity to thrive and reach their potential.

Author: Prof. Ketoki Mazumdar, Faculty of Psychology, FLAME University

(Source:- https://womenshine.in/the-colours-of-autism-how-an-individuals-unique-trait-shape-their-world/#google_vignette )