April is autism awareness month and so I thought I’d take this opportunity to highlight the condition.
You probably know someone with undiagnosed autism.
It is estimated that one in every hundred people have autism, but a diagnosis is often only obtained for those at the more severe end of the spectrum.
Does this sound like someone you know?
- Rigidly follows rules
- Talks endlessly about a single subject
- Unable to understand facial expressions
- Incapable of lying
- Has inflexible routines
- Thinks literally
- Has difficulty understanding sarcasm
My eldest son has Asperger’s syndrome – a type of high-functioning autism. He is a wonderful little boy and he leads a very happy life at home. The problems occur when he has to go outside and meet other people. He gets upset when people lie, cheat, and tell him confusing, scary stories. He doesn’t understand our complex interactions and gets frustrated when plans change.
People with autism don’t understand why others behave in such a strange way and feel like aliens on their own planet. They can’t cope with the number of unwritten social rules that we live with and often become isolated and depressed.
Autism is a spectrum condition, meaning that it affects people to varying degrees. When you say autism most people think of the film Rainman, but the character played by Dustin Hoffman was an autistic savant – a condition which is very rare. To see what life is like for someone with a more common form of autism I highly recommend the film Adam.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time did a lot to bring the condition to the attention of the world, but I also recommend Born on a Blue Day and Marcelo in the Real World to anyone interested in finding out more.
Which books/films do you recommend?