I realise I have only posted about myself, so far, and this is supposed to be a way of sharing my whole family’s experiences so here is more about them. Well it’s more about the ways in which they differ from each other because as we know autism is not a ‘cone size fits all’ sort of thing.
As I mentioned before 2 of my children have a diagnosis and 2 don’t, yet I suspect they are all on the spectrum. So, I’ll call them 1,2,3 & 4 (one being the oldest) to save confusion! (Maybe I’ll change their names to numbers in real life!? Maybe I won’t call them the wrong name all the time then!)
I will put in a table the issues they may have so it will be clear. There are some traits they all have but in other ways in which they are very different. This is not an exhaustive list but I’ve just picked out some of the main issues.
|Sensory issues||none||Heat, bright lights, loud noises||noises and clothes (only wears pants at home)||Certain materials he doesn’t like to touch|
|Has friends?||1 and a few she knows but isn’t close with||1||2||No – mainly age related|
|Talks to strangers||struggles||Vary rarely||Yes if calm||Takes a long time to come round.|
|Emotional regulation||Uncontrollable crying if criticized or thinks she’s made a mistake||Unable to regulate, identify or act appropriately to emotions.||Anger issues, seems oblivious to many emotions.||Difficult to say at his age|
|empathy||minimal||Some issues||none||None but age appropriate|
|Meltdowns||no||Yes – some leading to school exclusion||Very on edge emotionally, at home but not at school||Yes but at his age difficult to distinguish|
|Food issues||Eats the same foods every day||Dry foods only, same foods every day||Very restrictive diet||Not too bad|
|Learning issues||Far from it||Very able||Delayed speech and behind at school||No seems bright and vocal so far|
|Avoids tasks||Yes but will do if asked||Usually and not very persuadable||always||no|
|Mental health issues
|Anger issues (also diagnosed with ADHD)
|Signs of OCD
I know it seems a bit of a mean or odd thing to do like I’m comparing my children but I’m more comparing the way they display (or don’t) autistic traits. This seemed like a good way to highlight the differences and similarities. I think there’s a stereotype associated with autism and it is inaccurate. There are traits, I agree, that ‘most’ autistic people display but the point is just because someone doesn’t have one of these it doesn’t mean they are not autistic. It is a very broad spectrum as we know and just as 2 neurotypical people are very different as are 2 autistic people.
If I added myself to the list, I’m sure I’d be different to all f them too in some ways (even though we are members of the same family). As would all of the autistic people out there I’m sure.