Is Autism Really A Disorder?

, Is Autism Really A Disorder?

autism in adults

Are You Wondering If Autism Is A Disorder?

According to DSM-5 and many specialists, Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that impacts communication, social interactions, and behavior. Also referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Autism encompasses various symptoms with differing severity levels.

But is Level 1 Autism (formerly Aspergers ) considered a disorder too?

Level 1 Autism or (formally) Asperger's is considered an official disorder by both DSM-5 and most experts. People living with Level 1 Autism frequently face social difficulties as well as difficulties communicating nonverbally; their interests often run deep with intense routines that make for rigid schedules; yet most possess good language abilities with average to above-average intelligence quotient. Each person with autism will present different symptoms and abilities unique to themselves.

What are the strengths of autistic people?

Autistic individuals possess many assets, which include:

  • Strong attention to detail
  • Long-term memory capabilities.
  • Gained a unique perspective of the world.
  • Ability to focus intensely on tasks
  • Creative problem-solving skills
  • Communication that emphasizes honesty and directness
  • Passion and dedication for one's interests or hobbies

Are companies wanting to hire adults with autism?

Many companies are beginning to understand and recognize the unique skills and abilities adults with autism bring to the workplace, with many creating special initiatives or programs in order to recruit and hire those on the autism spectrum. Below are a few examples:

Microsoft's Autism Hiring Program and SAP's Autism at Work Program, Ernst & Young's Neurodiversity Program and JPMorgan Chase Autism at Work Program as well as Ford Inclusive Works are just a few examples.

 

So if this is the case, why does Autism still qualify as a disorder or condition?

Autism can be considered a disorder or condition as its impact differs according to individuals, often necessitating specific support and accommodations for optimal well-being. But having Autism does not define who a person is; in fact, many have unique strengths that make them valued assets in both the workplace and beyond.

Is Autism Is A Superpower?

A common belief among many is that those living with Autism possess unique talents or "superpowers", often referred to as their strengths or abilities, such as attention to detail, exceptional memory recall or brilliant creativity. Yet it's important to keep in mind that Autism covers such a diverse spectrum that not all possess these specific attributes - further complicating everyday life for all affected by it.

But isn't Autism like Deafness... And Deafness Isn't A Disorder, Right?

Deafness can be classified as an impairment to hearing. Although deafness should not be seen as something negative, however; rather it should be seen as simply another experience of life for individuals who experience it differently from hearing people. Many deaf individuals prefer using Deaf with a capital "D" to celebrate cultural identity and community involvement.

Are Deaf Communities Similar to Autistic Ones?

Deaf and autistic communities share many similarities; however, each can also be seen as being individualistic in some respects. Here are a few points of comparison between the two communities.

Both communities possess their own culture, language and way of life.

Communication obstacles often hinder members from both communities from engaging with those from hearing/neurotypical backgrounds.

Both communities may experience discrimination or misunderstanding from society as a whole.

Noting the differences, deafness is defined as hearing loss whereas autism refers to neurological conditions and individual experiences within both communities can vary significantly.

Concluding thoughts: So while many adults with Autism (Level 1) do experience difficulties, I see the Autistic community moving in the same direction as the Deaf community. Yes, challenges do exist, but we all have challenges. The Autistic community should be seen as simply different, with different needs and accommodations afforded them.

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