Autism explained in an easy-to-understand way

What is autism?

Autism is a lifelong difference in the way we communicate, think, and relate to others. Here is autism explained in an easy-to-understand way.


Autism is more common than you think.

1 in 42 boys is diagnosed.

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Currently 1 in 189 girls, but that is because autism in women was misunderstood. The estimate is actually:

1 in 84 girls.

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Autism exists on a spectrum.

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Every one of us is different (that makes us hard to understand).

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Image source: Autism

Some of us have high-level jobs like doctors, graphic designers, and computer hackers.

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Whilst others need a lifetime of support.

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Image source: Hand

But we share some characteristics:

We love routine.

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Sensory issues (such as noises, smells, or light) are a problem. That is because we see, hear and smell more. For example, 85% of us see colours so bright they are fluorescent.

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We have special interests, that we really love engaging in—almost all of the time.

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Image source: Musings of an Aspie

Some of us have difficulty relating to others.

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Body language and facial expressions can be confusing to us.

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And idioms and metaphors can be confusing to us.

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As can jokes or sarcasm.

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Image source: https://www.appannie.com/en/apps/ios/app/joke-telling-social-story/

Stimming (repeated movements or sounds) helps calm us down.

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And we like lots of alone time.

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Image source: Buzzfeed – Erin Larosa

Because socializing can overstimulate us.

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Image source: Laughing with Aspergers

We are unique problem-solvers, but may not express it verbally.

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We are truth-seekers. We are well-adapted to the information age.

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Image source: Dude I’m An Aspie

We focus on observing the patterns and structure in our environment.

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Image source: Dude I’m An Aspie

Many of us do not look like that we have autism. People think kids with autism are naughty, and as adults, we are often misunderstood. That is why it is called a hidden disorder.

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Layman's explanation


Dr. Natalie Engelbrecht

Dr. Natalie Engelbrecht

Dr. Natalie Engelbrecht RP ND is a dually licensed registered psychotherapist and naturopathic doctor, a Canadian leader in trauma and PTSD, and integrative medicine strictly informed by scientific research, and she happens to be autistic.

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