What is the world like for someone with autism?
Written on 23rd Feb 2016 by Alex Lowery
I recently wrote an article for dazlious on the subject of how I view the world as a person with autism. It goes through how I see everyday things of this world. Through this article, I try to help everyone to see the world through my eyes. You can view the link to the original article here. You can read what I said below.
As an autistic person, I have a unique view of the world. I tend to only focus on one thing at a time unlike the majority of people who tend to focus on the big picture. Because I’m so focused on one thing, I will likely notice things about it that everyone else misses. I tend to focus on the details of as opposed to the big picture. As a result of this, I can miss something really obvious like a sign saying ‘Out or Order’ or ‘No entry’, but will notice other things that most people miss such as broken light bulbs in a building or an area of paint missing from the wall. In the past, I have noticed the change of shop logos, which most people don’t seem to notice.
I also have an extremely literal take on the world. I don’t just mean I take language literally (which I very often do). I mean the whole way I think and see the world is very literal. Because of this, I like everything (or most things) to look the way they literally should. I hate seeing books, DVDs and games being out of order. I like them to all be facing the right way and in sets. When I’m in the car, I like my seatbelt to have no twist. Even when I’m putting a bottle of juice (or something) in the car, I will naturally make sure the label is facing the front. Other people don’t seem to care, but putting things the right way is just second nature to me. When I hoover or whatever, I like to make sure every visible crumb is off the floor. I think all of these things are due to my literal take on the world.
As well as taking language literally, I also like to be completely honest and always say exactly what I mean. I always try to use the correct words. I don’t mind people using sarcasm, irony or everyday expressions (I’ve even started using a few myself) but I don’t like general conversation to be taken up by people saying things that they don’t mean. I think it’s very important to be exact. If someone calls a cushion a ‘pillow’, I get irritated and am left thinking, “it’s a cushion, not a pillow”. If someone says something like, “I could care less about science fiction books”, I would be irritated. What they should say is “I ‘couldn’t’ care less about science fiction books”. You should say ‘couldn’t’ not ‘could’. Saying you could care less technically means that you somewhat do care which isn’t normally what people mean when they say it.
Now, there is the odd time when I’ve made a mistake and not said something as how it is. When this happens I feel as though I have just broken my code. All of this is due to the fact, that the whole way I think and see the world is extremely literal.
As well as having a good attention to detail, I also find that I really love beautiful sensory like landscapes. I love the sight of Nature and animals. I like looking out at the moon and stars at night. I love looking at the beautiful blue sea and sky. Sunsets are extraordinary to look at!
I’m someone who gets bored extremely easily, but I could probably watch a sunset for a fairly long time without getting bored. Even as a very young child who was horrified by the world and was struggling with language, I would look out at the sunset, and was stunned by the pure beauty of it. I was a child living in a world I didn’t understand, but looking out at the sunset was one of the very few things (along with Thomas the tank engine) that made me feel happy and calm in what was a very fearsome and disjointed world for me. In a way this is still the case for me. While, I don’t find the world as scary as I used to… I still find there to be an awful lot of stress and anxiety in my day-to-day life. The sight of God’s amazing creation (along with stimming and special interests of mine) is something that helps me to feel happy in a world full of anxiety. While on that topic, if something makes a person on the spectrum feel calm and happy then it shouldn’t be taken away from them, which might sound obvious but some people do believe that Obsessive interests and Stimming should be taken away from a person with autism. Anyway, that’s another subject which I’m not writing about today.
The truth is that God’s creation is absolutely extraordinary. The word ‘extraordinary’ hardly covers the amazingness of it. Whenever I see an amazing view, I feel like I want to take a Photo. Photography is something I enjoy doing, although I don’t currently do it as much as I used to. I like to use Photography to capture how I see the world. I like to take Photos with the ‘autistic eye’ in a way to put it. I’ll often take unusual looking Photos. I like to take loads of the same thing in various different ways so there’s a lot to chose from. I also like to edit Photos to show the world through autistic eyes.
I’m also someone who (a lot of the time) prefers the company of animals to people. From around the age of 6 to 20, I did various different things with horses. I did horse riding for a number of years and then went onto do horse vaulting, which is essentially gymnastics on a horse and was even trained as an assistant vaulting coach. I later went onto complete a few courses in Equine Care skills. After reading all this, you probably think I’m one of these really horsey people, but horses aren’t actually my favorite of animals, but I did work with them for many years so I guess I did grow to be somewhat fond of them.
But an animal I much prefer is a dog. I don’t love all dog breeds, but there are certain breeds that I just find adorable. My family and I own a Cairn terrier, who I always love having around. When I’m stressed, sometimes just being able to stroke the dog can make me feel better. It can basically be my way of hugging because I don’t hug people not even family. I also like animals because they’re just so accepting. You can be yourself 100% around them.
Thank you for reading. This was a bit of an insight into my mind. I hope you enjoyed it.
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