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  • When we examine 100 random teenagers, we would find that while they all look different, their

  • minds work in very similar ways.

  • 1 to 2 however, have minds that are atypical in a particular way.

  • They could be diagnosed with autism.

  • This happens to boys four times as much, perhaps because diagnosing them is easier.

  • Children - and adults - who are on the autism spectrum experience the world differently

  • because they were born with various degrees of neurodivergent traits.

  • Most autistic children have more refined senses and share a deep desire to bring logic into

  • their surroundings.

  • Some seek repetitive behaviors that follow specific patterns and many appear to be asocial

  • and avoid eye contact.

  • Autism is not a disease and therefore can not be cured.

  • Since all our brains are different and there is an endless range of nuances in their architecture,

  • autism is defined as a spectrum.

  • On one side of the spectrum is the mildest form of autism, in the past often also referred

  • to as Aspergers.

  • These children are highly intelligent, and have extreme abilities and strong interest

  • in specific areas.

  • In the middle are those with average intelligence and some problems learning new things.

  • On the far end of the spectrum are children with severe learning disabilities.

  • Children on the spectrum may require various degrees of support in their daily lives.

  • Timo, a young boy, can help us understand how living with a neurodivergent mind can

  • be.

  • His mum noticed early on that her boy would avoid eye contact and that he would often

  • become upset if she hugged him.

  • He never returned smiles and engaging him in play with friends often ended in a tantrum.

  • His mother suspected something to be wrong, when Timo still wasn't speaking more than

  • two or three words at a time even after turning four years old.

  • She sought help and Timo was diagnosed with a mild form of autism spectrum disorder, or

  • ASD for short .

  • Timo has an atypical perception.

  • When reading books or watching movies, Timo's brain picks up and organizes the information

  • differently.

  • While his neurotypical peers categorise things and form schemas - for example, they identify

  • everything with four legs that barks as a dog.

  • For Timo, each type of dog is unique and categorised in Timo's mind individually.

  • His attention to detail and difficulty when generalizing, makes Timo more objective in

  • his perception of the world and less prone to a framing bias.

  • However, it also makes all sorts of new experiences incredibly complex, which is why he loves

  • to follow a rigid daily routine to limit his sensory input.

  • Timo is highly sensitive.

  • His brain amplifies whatever input it receiveshe hears everything and has a heightened

  • sense of touch.

  • However, this superpower makes situations where many people speak simultaneously very

  • challengingTimo hears everyone but understands nothing.

  • The sensitivity to touch makes eating an intense experience.

  • If a texture or flavour is too much to handle, Timo won't eat it.

  • Also walking barefoot on wet grass or playing in dirt overwhelms his brain.

  • He has a fascination with logic.

  • Timo naturally looks for patterns that bring logic into this world.

  • Sometimes he would also try to bring order into his own behavior and ways of moving his

  • body.

  • When he experiences structured patterns breaking, he gets upset.

  • It freaks him out when someone counts to 8 but doesn't continue to 10.

  • Doctors call it an obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD, which is a different diagnosis but

  • often goes along with autism.

  • Timo experiences social disconnection.

  • He has trouble connecting with others, because social settings overwhelm his sensitivity

  • and desire for order.

  • Because human emotions are incredibly complex and don't follow a set of predictable patterns,

  • Timo often finds himself misreading situations and upsetting people around him.

  • As a consequence, he avoids people and rarely makes eye contact.

  • Which doesn't matter that much to him, since most of the things other people talk about,

  • are illogical, irrelevant and boring anyways.

  • For 4 years, his mother had him be treated by a therapist who would show him images of

  • faces to help him learn to identify feelings.

  • By doing this he got better at identifying facial expressions and their corresponding

  • emotions.

  • However, personally he is still not very interested in reading faces or establishing new social

  • contacts.

  • He has two friends who share the same interests and couldn't wish for more.

  • Since Timo's autism is not an illness we can treat, but rather a different way of him

  • experiencing the world, the question remains whether we should try to change him through

  • therapy or accept him for who he is.

  • So what do you think?

  • Should we treat children with autism with therapy or celebrate them for who they are?

  • Or perhaps do both?

  • Maybe it's not their atypical minds, but our stereotypical way of looking at them that

  • needs correction?

  • To get a 3-dimensional glimpse of how an autistic girl experiences her own surprise birthday

  • party, or to download this video without background music, check the descriptions below or visit

  • sproutsschools.com

When we examine 100 random teenagers, we would find that while they all look different, their

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B1 autism spectrum eye contact autistic stereotypical hears

Autism: Atypical Minds in a Stereotypical World

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    Summer posted on 2021/07/01
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