“Many people with autism experience bullying and name-calling - this is unacceptable” - What it is like living with autism

I am 30-years-old and I live in West Yorkshire with my mum, dad and my three sisters.

I am writing this article to raise awareness for anyone who doesn’t know or understand much about autism.

Autism is a lifelong condition that can affect people in many different ways. The ways it affects people are unique but generally, they can affect people’s eye contact, communication skills, senses and worries.

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It also has an effect on their interests. There are 700,000 people on the autism spectrum across the UK according to the national autistic society website. Here are some bits of info and advice:

Hammad Ul Haq.

The rate of Employment of Autistic people: Only 16 per cent of adults with autism are in full-time employment and 32 per cent are in some kind of paid work. Seventy-seven per cent that are unemployed say that they would like to work and 40 per cent say that they have never worked.   

Making Friends and Relationships: People on the spectrum will generally struggle to make friends because they might have strange interests that their peers aren’t interested in.

Communication can also make it difficult to interact with new people and they may be scared to talk about specific things.

What’s more, people who have autism may also find it difficult to form relationships either long or short-term or with family.

Communication and Eye Contact: Depending on the level of their condition people with autism may have poor communication. An example is a person who may end up repeating the same words.

People who are on the spectrum can also get distracted easily, so they can end up looking away even when they’re talking to people directly. This may make them seem uninterested in people, when actually they aren’t.

Senses: Lots of autistic people are scared of loud noises, don’t like strong smells, and don’t like bright lights.

Experiencing discrimination: Many people with autism experience bullying, discrimination and name-calling. This is unacceptable and can lead to the person being extra-sensitive if it keeps happening.

Friends and loneliness: People with autism might feel lonely due to the fact that they might find it difficult to make friends. This might affect their confidence.  

Advice for neurotypical people who meet autistic people: Be friendly.

Don’t presume that they aren’t interested if they aren’t looking at you or engaging in the conversation too much.

They may be shy and this is down to their autism.

This means that you should still continue to chat to them, but they may struggle interacting with you.

* Written by guest columnist Hammad Ul Haq.