Autism Conversations

Could I be Autistic?

If you have all of the following difficulties:

  1. Social-emotional reciprocity

This is the capacity to begin conversation with other people, keep a conversation flow and interact socially. Difficulties in this area is one the most common in Autism. You could have: difficulty in beginning or entering a group conversation, knowing when is your time to talk, interrupt others or leaving pauses in the conversation, difficulty in looking excited over other people’s good news (this does not mean you are not happy for them), not enjoying social occasions as much as other people, hating chit-chat, and others.

2. Non-verbal communication in social interaction

This means that you have difficulty in understanding, decoding and replicating body language, eye contact, facial expression, gestures. You may have an atypical body language, difficulty in looking someone in the eyes or looking too much, in coordinating body language with speech, inappropriate facial expressions for the situation, difficulty in recognizing sarcasm, and imitation of other people’s non verbal cues.

3. Developing and creating relationships

You may find it difficult to develop new relationships and keep old ones. This obviously doens’t mean we don’t want friends, but it means we have difficulty in understanding the social norms around relationships. You may have difficulties in judging what people think of you, prefering solo activities or interaction with one person instead of a group, having less necessity of social interaction, prefering one-on-one conversations instead of group, losing friends without understanding why, not reaching someone else’s expectactions of sensitivity, imagining possible or past conversations in your head and responding to someone else’s experiences with our own. Above all have in mind we do want relationships, but we need a little bit of tolerance and understanding from neurotypicals since we have different ways to connect.

And you have at least 2 of the following:

  1. Stimming

Stimming is the self-stimulatory behaviour and everyone has it as a child. Stimming in Autism however, persists throughout life and it is constant, since we need to process more of the environment around us. It serves to process emotional and external input, and it looks like repetitive speech, movement or use of objects. It can be hand-flapping, jumping, singing, biting, twirling the hair,etc.

2. Strict routines and resistance to change

Sometimes autistic people do have routines changed, or even changing country, but they are in control of the change. This is pertinent to when suddenly they are invited to a social occasion when not expected, or they can’t spend the time on their special interest as they wanted to.

3. Different intensity and focus in specific interests

Special interests are incredibly important in Autism. Everyone has interests, but autistic people spend hours on them, sometimes forgetting to eat or go to the toilet. They can be trains, politics, feminism, books, or something specific as a particular behavour in bugs. Historically, therapies used to limit special interests and use them as reward for neurotypical behaviors. That is horrifying. Pokemon was created by Satoshi Tajiri after his obcession with collection bugs. Greta Thunberg use her passion for the world to fight climate change as one of the biggest activits worldwide. Special interests can be turned to sucessful careers, and they are one of our many superpowers.

4. Hyper or hypo sensitivity to sensory input

Autistic brains tend to absorbe a high ammount of input, sometimes having trouble to process all of it. This may be to sound, light, touch, taste, pain, or any sensory experience. It can be preference for certain fabric textures while others you can’t tolerate, taking the tags out of the clothes, finding self-care (as hair-cut) uncomfortable, unussually sensitive to light or noise, difficulty in following conversations with background noise, not being able to eat certain foods and constantly eating the same thing, physically ill (headaches for example) with specific smells, search for deep pressure like heavy blankets, high tolerance for pain, etc.

Traits (NOT symptoms) began in early childhood, with the first set of traits persisting over time, and the last one can be variable over age. Social anxiety is also very common and pervasive throughout life, as might be ADHD, ADD, OCD, eating disorders and other mental health issues.

Please keep in mind that every autistic person is different and may have variable levels of these traits, or even not having some.

Podes ser autista se ..

Se tiver todas as seguintes dificuldades:

  1. Reciprocidade socio-emocional

Esta é a capacidade de iniciar uma conversa com outras pessoas, manter o fluxo de conversa e interagir socialmente. Dificuldades nessa área são das mais comuns no autismo. Pode ter: dificuldade em iniciar ou entrar em uma conversa em grupo, saber quando é a sua hora de falar, interromper outras pessoas ou deixar pausas na conversa, dificuldade em parecer entusiasmado com as boas notícias de outras pessoas (isso não significa que não estamos feliz por elas), não gostando de ocasiões sociais tanto quanto outras pessoas, odiando conversas fofoquices, entre outros.

2. Comunicação não verbal em interacção social

Isso significa que tem dificuldade em entender, descodificar e replicar a linguagem corporal, o contacto visual, a expressão facial, os gestos, etc. Pode ter uma linguagem corporal atípica, dificuldade em olhar alguém nos olhos ou em demasia, em coordenar a linguagem corporal com a fala, expressões faciais inadequadas para a situação, dificuldade em reconhecer o sarcasmo e imitar as dicas não verbais de outras pessoas.

3. Intensidade e foco diferentes em interesses específicos

Interesses especiais são incrivelmente importantes no autismo. Todo mundo tem interesses, mas as pessoas autistas passam horas com eles, às vezes esquecendo de comer ou ir à casa de banho. Eles podem ser sobre comboios, política, feminismo, livros ou algo específico como um comportamento específico de um insecto. Historicamente, as terapias costumavam limitar interesses especiais e usá-los como recompensa por comportamentos neurotípicos. Isso é horrível. Pokemon foi criado por Satoshi Tajiri após sua obsessão por coleccionar insectos. Greta Thunberg usa sua paixão pelo mundo para combater as alterações climáticas como uma das maiores activistas do mundo. Interesses especiais podem originar carreiras de sucesso e é uma dos muitos super-poderes do autismo.

4. Hiper ou hipo-sensibilidade a experiência sensorial

Os cérebros autistas tendem a absorver uma grande quantidade de sensações, às vezes tendo problemas para processar tudo ao mesmo tempo. Pode ser som, luz, toque, paladar, dor ou qualquer experiência sensorial. Pode ser a preferência por certas texturas de tecido, enquanto outras que não tolera, tirar as etiquetas da roupa, achar desconfortável o auto-cuidado (como cortar o cabelo), sensível à luz ou ao barulho, dificuldade em seguir conversas com ruído de fundo , não sendo capaz de comer certos alimentos e comer constantemente a mesma coisa, ficar fisicamente doente (dores de cabeça, por exemplo) com cheiros específicos, procurar uma pressão profunda como cobertores pesados, alta tolerância à dor, etc.

As características (NÃO sintomas) começaram na primeira infância, com o primeiro conjunto de características persistindo ao longo do tempo e o último pode ser variável com a idade. A ansiedade social também é muito comum e difundida ao longo da vida, como podem ser ADHD, ADD, TOC, distúrbios alimentares e outros problemas de saúde mental.

Por favor, tenha em consideração que todos os autistas são diferentes e podem ter diferentes níveis destes traços, ou mesmo não ter alguns deles.