Is there such a thing?
There is no defination for mild Autism.
Autism is a spectrum condition.
Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD.
All people with Autism share certain difficulties, but their condition will affect them in different ways.
The condition varies greatly.
It is a spectrum condition so the symptoms have a very wide range.
I get offended when my girl is referred to as ‘mildly autistic’.
She has Autism. She is on the spectrum.
You don’t ever see a mild rainbow in the sky, you see a rainbow.
A rainbow with its wide range of colours.
A rainbow with its’ full spectrum of colours.
My girl is lucky enough to be able to speak…..
…..so some people don’t think she can have Autism.
On the spectrum some children cannot speak.
My girl is one end, others are the opposite.
The triad of impairments are the three main areas of difficulty which all people with autism share.
*difficulty with social communication *difficulty with social interaction
*difficulty with social imagination.
Each area can be affected differently.
No 2 people with Autism are the same as the spectrum has many variations.
A person with “mild autism” may have age appropriate communication skills and academic abilities, as in my girls case.
However, although she can talk, her understanding and processing abilities are slower than that of other children her age.
Her words aren’t always her own, echolalia is sometimes mistaken for her own language.
She uses words she has heard, out of context.
On the other hand she has delayed social skills, immaturity, severe sensory issues, and difficulties with organizational skills.
As a result, she is able to attend a mainstream school but finds it more challenging than a friend who has greater language challenges but fewer sensory or social problems.
Even just wearing a jumper is impossible for my girl as long sleeves are too ‘painful’ on her skin.
She has an average IQ and able to participate in lessons.
Some people on the spectrum have severe learning disabilites and need to attend special needs schools.
We are lucky that my girl can attend mainstream school with support, but that also brings about many different issues.
She struggles with children her age…..to keep up…..to be like them.
She can read her books, write her name, answers basic questions when asked, but will fall apart if routine suddenly changes or a hoover is switched on or there is a sudden loud noise.
She, more often than not, holds herself together until she gets home and meltsdown.
The problem with the term ‘mild autism’ is that it implys my girl is able to function at an appropriate level.
That she doesn’t need support.
The reality is that she does.
My girl can talk to people.
She can have basic conversations, as long as they are about something that interests her!
What she cannot do is recognise emotion.
She cannot read body language, or understand personal boundaries and space.
This leaves her vulnerable.
She doesn’t have any fear or recognise danger.
She will see something that she likes on the other side of the road and run out with no fear for her safety, or others.
She is vulnerable.
She needs full time supervision.
The term Mild Autism isn’t useful.
It implys that the condition almost isn’t there.
It is there.
It really is.