WHY HIGH FUNCTIONING AUTISM IS HARD TO DEFINE

Disclaimer: I am no medical doctor as I’m your normal Jo Blogs if you see anything out of the ordinary of the signs and symptoms that are present to any of the diagnoses that I’ve shared in the past and present, do seek medical help or seek second opinion as I don’t condone self- harm. I have shared in the past some of the everyday terms that has been interchanged for many years such as autism, high functioning autism, low functioning autism and so much more. All I can say for this is to ask the autistic, what they want to be called and to be able to respect them as a person.

High-functioning autism (HFA) is neither an official diagnosis nor is there an agreed-upon definition of what the term means.
In the broadest sense of the term, high-functioning autism may mean any of the following:

  • A person with relatively mild symptoms which, despite their mildness, are significant enough to merit an autism spectrum diagnosis.
  • A person with autism whose IQ is higher than 70
  • A person with autism who is successfully navigating a typical school or work environment
  • A person who is able to mask symptoms of autism successfully so they have in expected ways and can “pass” for neurotypical
  • A person who, at one point, had an Asperger syndrome diagnosis
  • Adding to the confusion is the fact that many people with autism may be bright and accomplished yet have severe symptoms (such as anxiety and sensory dysfunction)
  • that significantly impact their daily functioning.

HFA vs. Asperger Syndrome

Until 2013, many people who might be said to have high-functioning autism were diagnosed with either Asperger syndrome or PDD-NOS (pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified).

But, there are differences that set the two diagnoses apart:

Asperger syndrome was a distinct diagnosis which described a person of average or higher-than average intelligence and age-appropriate language skills who also had significant social and communication challenges.

PDD-NOS was a catch-all diagnosis. Often understood to mean the same thing as “high functioning autistic,” it really incorporated individuals at all functional levels whose symptoms didn’t fully correlate with classic autism. Perhaps more significantly, people with Asperger syndrome do seem to share certain personal characteristics that are not shared by all people with higher
IQs and autism. For example, anxiety is often a symptom of Asperger syndrome but not one shared by everyone who might be described as having High Functioning Autism.

As of 2013, with the publication of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), neither PDD-NOS nor Asperger syndrome is an official diagnostic category in the United States.

HFA and Level 1 Autism

With the release of DSM-5, instead of separate diagnoses, there is just one big group of people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

But, people with autism are still very different from one another. So, to clarify these differences, the DSM-5 also includes functional levels. People who are bright and verbal are generally given the diagnosis of level 1 ASD.

Still, the distinction doesn’t offer a clear characterization of what level 1 ASD actually is. For example:

People with level 1 ASD can show affection, complete daily tasks, and use age-appropriate language, reading, and math skills.
On the other hand, they can’t hold eye contact, maintain a conversation, engage in play, or pick up on social cues.
People with level 1 ASD can have significant speech and language delays but are able to take part in an inclusive academic program because
of their age-appropriate academic skills.
People with level 1 ASD can have relatively mild speech and social delays but have severe sensory issues which make it impossible for them
to take part in an inclusive academic program.
People with level 1 ASD can have severe anxiety, learning disabilities, and sensory challenges but have age-appropriate speech and exceptional abilities in music,
math, and engineering.
With a level 1 ASD diagnosis, the possible combinations of strengths and challenges are almost endless. This not only makes the characterization of behaviors difficult but also can leave you confused as to what level of skilled support is needed.

Determining Support Needs

While few people with high-functioning autism need help with using the toilet or basic hygiene, they may very well need a good deal of support in other settings. For example, a very bright individual with severe sensory issues, anxiety, and perseveration might actually have a more difficult time in the workplace than a less intelligent individual with less anxiety and fewer sensory issues.

What’s more, a “lower-functioning” individual might spend most of his day in a supported setting where the possibility of dangerous interactions is almost zero. Meanwhile, the high-functioning individual may need to navigate a world full of complex and hazardous situations.

While it may be reasonable to think that people with high-functioning autism need less support, they are often faced with greater challenges in a real-world setting compared to lesser-functioning people in institutional care.

Navigating the Challenges

Autism is a puzzle—not because individuals with autism are so puzzling, but because the ever-changing definitions of autism mean we cannot come to a final conclusion.

Not only are the definitions changing but so are the social expectations that make high functioning autism so challenging. In the past, face-to-face communication was the key to personal success; today, many people with social challenges are more than capable of interacting with others online, making friends through social media, and even holding down a job at a distance.

Some businesses like Google are hiring high-functioning autistic people because of their unique abilities, while others cannot imagine hiring a person with compromised social skills.

If this leaves you feeling that the definition of high functioning autism is clear as mud, you’re not alone. At least now, however, you understand why the term is so tough to nail down—and you know you’re in good company with us autistics.

Asperger’s Syndrome Is No Longer an Official Diagnosis

Asperger’s syndrome existed as a distinct category in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) from 1994 to 2013. Once considered one of five pervasive developmental disorders, Asperger’s was folded into one general category for autism spectrum disorders in 2013 due to inconsistencies in the diagnostic criteria.

As such, U.S. practitioners can no longer officially diagnose someone with Asperger’s syndrome. Anyone who was given that diagnosis prior to 2013 is now considered to have autism spectrum disorder.

Asperger’s Disorder (Asperger syndrome) was first included as a categorical diagnosis in DSM-IV in 1994 . Asperger syndrome is a pervasive developmental disorder characterised by social impairments and focused, circumscribed interests and activities in the absence of significant language impairment and
cognitive delay. In both the DSM-IV-TR and ICD-10 classification systems, the full criteria for autism disorder are not met. Since its inclusion in DSM-IV there has been a dramatic increase in its recognition in children, as well as adults. Age of diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome (AS) is relatively high, the mean age being 10-11 years of age , and not infrequently occurs in adulthood.
Asperger syndrome has remained a controversial diagnosis, being difficult to distinguish clinically from autism with normal intelligence, known as “high-functioning autism”. The DSM-5 changes to the autism spectrum attempt to solve the contentious issue of language delays being a unique characteristic of the autism spectrum but not Asperger syndrome. In the DSM-IV, a criteria for Asperger syndrome over those with “high functioning autism” with an equivalent developmental level or IQ is meeting expected language milestones in the first 3 years. However research suggests that these groups do not differ significantly, with very similar outcomes in adolescence and adulthood . Further, there has been no evidence of differential treatment response or aetiology, and claims for a distinct neurocognitive profile in Asperger syndrome have received mixed results. Taken together there is little evidence to support a diagnostic distinction between Asperger syndrome and high-functioning autism .
Further, the criteria for Asperger syndrome in DSM-IV have been found to be flawed and hard to implement in practice, leading to confusion for individuals and parents . Asperger diagnosis requires establishing whether single words were spoken before 2 years of age and phrases by 3 years of age. This is difficult to determine, particularly given the older age of diagnosis. In addition, the diagnosis of Asperger syndrome was intended to be applied only when criteria for autistic disorder were not met.
However, several studies indicate that a high number of people with diagnoses of AS meet criteria for autism .The inclusion of Asperger’s Disorder in the DSM-IV gave recognition to the fact that people on the spectrum can have high IQ and good language. Happé suggests that the DSM-5 changes reflect that its time to reintegrate Asperger disorder with the rest of the spectrum and to demand the same level
of respect and lack of stigma for individuals across the full range of manifestations of the spectrum.

History of the Asperger’s Diagnosis

Asperger’s syndrome, first named by Hans Asperger in the 1940s and placed in the DSM-IV in 1987, came to have significant meaning for a lot of people
across the United States and around the world.Made famous by the Wired magazine article “Geek Syndrome,” it came to describe people who are:

Quirky
Anxious
Creative
Socially challenged

Asperger’s was differentiated from severe forms of autism due to these characteristics. And while severe autism once went by other names as well (autistic disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder), it is now grouped under autism spectrum disorders as well.

Levels of Autism Spectrum Disorders


The change to the DSM entry for Asperger’s stemmed from concern that people with severe symptoms of autism (e.g., non-verbal, intellectually challenged, and in need of significant daily support for basic life skills) would have the same name for their diagnosis as those with autism who are, say, completing graduate school but having a difficult time relating to peers or managing loud parties.To clarify the differences in these cases and alleviate confusion, the “new” definition of autism describes people as having a severity level between one and three, based on how much support they need.

This, among many things, is thought to give clinicians and others a better sense of a person’s ability to communicate, adapt, and care for themself.

Virtually everyone with a prior Asperger’s syndrome diagnosis qualifies for a Level 1 diagnosis, meaning “in need of a relatively low level of support.” Individuals presenting for the first time with relatively mild symptoms of autism will receive a first-time diagnosis
of Level 1 Autism Spectrum Disorder as well, though this may be reassessed over time.

Why Some Still Use the Term “Asperger’s”

The decision to remove Asperger’s as a standalone diagnosis was somewhat controversial.

A 2017 study, which analyzed the effects of the decision four years after it was made, found that moving Asperger’s under the autism umbrella still “has the potential to threaten the identity of those affected,” citing autism as a stigmatizing diagnostic label.

While the official DSM, which is under the authority of the American Psychiatric Association, does not include Asperger’s syndrome, some countries still used the diagnosis after the DSM change—and many people still use the term today.

For example, some advocacy groups and organizations continue to use the term to describe the group of people they serve. This may be for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that some individuals specifically identify as having Asperger’s, not autism.

Cultural Implications

Since the announcement in February 2010 of proposals to remove PDD subtypes such as Asperger syndrome as distinct disorders in the DSM-5, there has been extensive discussion among stakeholders, including clinicians, scientists, advocacy groups, and policy makers, but particularly among those most likely to be affected, people with diagnosis of/self-identifying with Asperger syndrome .

Neurodiversity

The term ‘neurodiversity’ was coined in the late 1990s for the (already existing) concept whereby members of the autistic community, together with self-advocates representing other developmental conditions such as ADD (attention deficit disorder) and dyslexia, promoted and celebrated their
difference from ‘neurotypical’ peers as a positive identity, not necessarily a disability .
The concept of neurodiversity considers atypical neurological development to be normal human difference that should be accepted and respected, just as other differences such as those defined by class, gender or race are (or should be). From this perspective, autism is considered not something to be cured, but rather a way of being with both disadvantages needing accommodation, and advantages
that can make a unique and positive contribution to society. Since the addition of the Asperger syndrome diagnosis in DSM-IV, a distinct subculture has emerged of people with Asperger syndrome (some of whom self-refer as “Aspies”) who embrace their neurological difference. It has been suggested that this independent culture relies upon a restrictive view of high-functioning autism as being distinct from others on the spectrum. And so, whilst autism conditions associated with lower functioning may be considered disorders requiring treatment, the higher functioning characteristics of Asperger syndrome should not be pathologised as a disorder and subsumed under the category of autism spectrum disorder in the DSM . Conversely, some in the autistic community have an abhorrence of being classified as either ‘high functioning’ or ‘low functioning’. Rather, those diagnosed or self-identifying anywhere on the spectrum are welcomed and accommodated . NZ ASD Guideline supplementary paper on implications of DSM-5 for the diagnosis of ASD.

Identity

For many people with Asperger syndrome, as with autism disorder more broadly,the diagnosis has come after years of anxiety and confusion and represents a turning point in their lives . Frequently, individuals who are diagnosed in adolescence or adulthood report that receiving a diagnosis results in a conceptual framework that helps explain past experiences, creates greater self-understanding and leads to informal support and an awareness of additional service options . Disclosing the diagnosis can have pitfalls however, and is best approached with care. For people who do not seek a formal diagnosis, the desire to self-identify as having Asperger syndrome/ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and to join the Aspergers Syndrome (or ASD) community, may be driven by the understanding, acceptance and support that such a community can offer. Alongside the growing professional recognition and debate around Asperger syndrome before and since its inclusion in the DSM-IV , awareness of Asperger syndrome (and autism more generally) is becoming part of mainstream culture, facilitated by public awareness initiatives, and fictional media portrayals over the past decade (e.g., Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory, and the title characters in House, and Monk).
Linking autism to famous intellectuals and innovative thinkers contributes to a view of people with Aspergers Syndrome as a group of highly intelligent, highly successful individuals making positive contributions to society. Embracing these positive images have been people who are diagnosed, self-diagnosed, associate themselves with Aspergers Syndrome, who have developed a positive identity of Asperger syndrome beyond the diagnostic boundaries.

However an extreme emphasis on positives also has negative ramifications, such as instances of sub-cultures promoting ‘Aspie supremacy’ that cause other individuals with autism (including many with Apergers Syndrome) further isolation, disadvantage, and/or stigma .
A study including interviews with 19 adults with Asperger syndrome and analysed using grounded theory illustrates how the diagnosis and self-diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome is fused with a strong and positive individual identity. . For some diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, being labeled “autistic” and associated with people at the “lower end of the autism spectrum”
is problematic and potentially stigmatising . The negative stereotypes placed on autism may stem from a lack of understanding among the general public of the variability in symptoms among people on the autism spectrum. Jaarsma & Welin suggest that those with Asperger syndrome who are able to
live independent lives in the right environment may find the notion of their condition being combined with lower functioning autism in DSM-5 an “even worse stigmatisation” .
It is suggested that instead of being labelled using “deficit-based language,” such people should be considered as having a “particular vulnerability”. Tony Attwood, a psychologist specialising in working with people with Asperger syndrome, believes the new criteria may create further social confusion.
“The problem is not the condition but the attitude of other people. When you’re young, self-esteem is created within a peer group, not from mum or dad.
Teenagers may worry that their peers have an idea of autism.

The public see autism as a severe disability. People may think the person is lying or deluded if they say they’re autistic” It has been hypothesised that under the new DSM-5 criteria, a perceived stigma attached to autism may inhibit disclosure and self-identification with Asperger syndrome, and as a result cut off attendant benefits of diagnosis including the development of meaningful self-identities and gaining legitimacy. Such “stigma by association” stems from negative stereotypes placed on autism and lack of understanding by the general public about the variability in symptoms among people on the autism spectrum. Dispelling stigma around autism, ensuring balanced information upon diagnosis, and providing well-informed support around disclosure are likely to assist in addressing issues around identity for those on the spectrum. The ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) Guideline includes a recommendation relating to stigma: “An ASD antidiscrimination and destigmatisation campaign
should be developed”.

Bringing Asperger syndrome into ASD

Discussions about the potential loss of identity from the removal of PDD’s from DSM-5 tend to focus on the removal of Asperger syndrome, rather than PDD-NOS and childhood disintegrative disorder, which appear to have a less distinct culture. It could be argued that including Asperger syndrome
in the diagnostic classification of autism spectrum may increase the recognition of the breadth and variability of the condition. And so, over time, the stigma attached to the label of autism would be reduced as the positive associations with Asperger syndrome become associated with the broader condition of ASD.
Inclusion may also be advantageous to many people with Asperger syndrome who feel that the challenges they face socially are underestimated, and who already choose to identify as “autistic” for these and other reasons . The emerging positive image of Asperger syndrome in society can be a double-edged sword, as illustrated by the comment from this parent of a child with Asperger syndrome:
“In fact, as soon as you say Asperger’s, people immediately think: gifted, superior, savant. That’s why I always use the term high-functioning autism to describe Darcy: to minimise any unrealistic expectations of him.” However, whilst not wanting neurological difference to be medicalised and treated as a disorder, people anywhere on the autism spectrum may still require special
care, provisions, allowances and support. People identifying as having Asperger syndrome with or without an official diagnosis, discuss facing everyday challenges of communication, social interaction, and misunderstanding. They talk of struggles leading to social isolation and feeling misunderstood, and feelings of anxiety, guilt, and a sense of shame. Such challenges are expected to persist despite the changes in nomenclature in the DSM-5 For such people who do not seek
a formal diagnosis, the desire to self-identify as having Asperger syndrome may be driven by the understanding, acceptance and support that belonging to such a community can offer.

An advantage of the DSM-5’s emphasis on individualised assessment in severity ratings supplemented by personal strength-based characteristics is that it can direct needs-based support. People who are functioning well and require no formal intervention for (some) aspects of their functioning can have this recorded through associated severity ratings, or in some cases where no support is needed, seek no formal diagnosis. Such people will continue to have the option to seek identity, peer support and understanding from either the ASD community (made up as it always has been of individuals right across the spectrum) or any “Aspie” or other subculture. This choice also takes the definition (and control) of the word Asperger out of the domain of a deficit-based classification system of “mental illnesses” and into the hands of those who choose to name and claim their own moniker.
Several autism organisations have been cautiously positive about the DSM-5 changes. The National Autistic Society (UK) welcomes the overall approach, stating that the diagnostic criteria are helpful, clearer and simpler than the previous DSM-IV criteria, and approve the development of dimensional measures of severity, inclusion of sensory behaviours, and the emphasis on identifying the full range of difficulties that an individual has. With respect to Asperger syndrome,
they note that diagnosticians might still use the term colloquially, referring to a person as having “ASD of the Asperger’s type”, adding that many people who identify closely with the term Asperger syndrome will continue to use it in everyday language. The Asperger’s Society of Ontario suggest that it may make it easier for people to understand what Asperger syndrome is by folding it into the ASD banner, noting “when asked to describe Asperger syndrome, most explain it as a higher functioning form of autism”.
It is not clear what impact the changes in the DSM-5 will have in New Zealand or internationally. However there is no reason that self-advocates, families, and advocacy organisations cannot continue to use the term Asperger syndrome or that people may not benefit from joining groups that define themselves in terms of previous definitions. Medical diagnoses are not intended to define a person or capture the complexity of an individual’s cultural identity and unique personal history . Even though the formal diagnosis may be Autism Spectrum Disorder, individuals who are familiar with the Asperger syndrome diagnosis can make reference to it on their medical files. This is already the case for people with High Functioning Autism (HFA), which is not a formal clinical diagnosis but is a term used by clinicians and affected individuals to assist in understanding and describing their condition.
As the various terms, Aspies, Autists, Aspiens, Aspers,Auties and Aspergians continue to carry meaning and value for a self-selecting community they are likely to continue to be used. And so just as a broader, richer autistic community and culture have developed independently from and beyond a manualised classification of autistic conditions, terms such as Asperger and ‘Aspie’ may continue to have life as identities as distinct from a diagnostic classification.

Medical consensus continues to move away from the Asperger’s diagnosis, however. Following the DSM’s lead, the 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) has moved Asperger’s syndrome under the autism spectrum disorder umbrella.

ICD-11 takes effect on January 1, 2022, and will be used by all World Health Organization member states.

ALL ABOUT AUTISM WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

What Are the Different Types of Autism?

Autism is a “spectrum disorder,” meaning that people with autism may have a wide range of mild, moderate, or severe symptoms. But do all people with an autism spectrum diagnosis have the same disorder, no matter what their symptoms?

How Autism Diagnoses Have Changed


From 1994 to May 2013, the autism spectrum was represented by five autism spectrum diagnoses in the fourth version of the official Diagnostic Manual. They included Asperger syndrome, pervasive developmental disorder—not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), autistic disorder, childhood disintegrative syndrome, and Rett syndrome.

Unfortunately, these diagnoses were confusing. Not only were they difficult to define, but different practitioners selected different diagnoses for the same patients. To clarify their diagnoses, practitioners (as well as teachers and therapists) used terms like “severe autism,” “mild autism,” and “high functioning autism.

These terms, however, aren’t true diagnoses at all; they’re just descriptions. And while they were intended to help parents and teachers better understand a child’s status on the autism spectrum, each practitioner had their own idea of what “mild” or “severe” might look like.

Autism Spectrum Disorder Debuts


In 2013, the fifth version of the Diagnostic Manual was published. In the DSM-5, there is just one “autism spectrum disorder.”

Everyone with an autism diagnosis, no matter what his or her symptoms, is now lumped under a single diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder.
Three levels of autism, along with descriptors such as “nonverbal” are intended to make diagnosis easier and clearer.

But that doesn’t mean we’ve stopped using the older or informal terms, some of which are a bit clearer than “autism spectrum disorder level II.”
In fact, even doctors and other practitioners are likely to use terms like Asperger syndrome while using the new autism spectrum code for billing purposes.

Welcome to the complex world of many autisms.

What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) covers a set of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges. People with ASD process information in their brain differently than other people. ASD affects people in different ways and can range from mild to severe.
People with ASD share some symptoms, such as difficulties with social interaction, but there are differences in when the symptoms start, how severe they are, how many symptoms there are, and whether other problems are present.The signs of ASD begin before the age of 3, although some children may show hints of future problems within the first year of life.

Who is affected by ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) ?

ASD affects people of every race, ethnic group, and socioeconomic background, but it is five times more common among boys than among girls. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 1 out of every 88 children will be identified with ASD.

How does ASD affect communication?

The word “autism” has its origin in the Greek word “autos,” which means “self.” Children with ASD often are self-absorbed and seem to exist in a private world where they are unable to successfully communicate and interact with others. Children with ASD may have difficulty developing language skills and understanding what others say to them. They also may have difficulties communicating nonverbally, such as through hand gestures, eye contact, and facial expressions.
Not every child with ASD will have a language problem. A child’s ability to communicate will vary, depending upon his or her intellectual and social development. Some children with ASD may be unable to speak. Others may have a rich vocabulary and be able to talk about specific subjects in great detail.
Most children with ASD have little or no problem pronouncing words. The majority, however, have difficulty using language effectively, especially when they talk to other people. Many have problems with the meaning and rhythm of words and sentences. They also may be unable to understand body language and the nuances of vocal tones.

The “autism spectrum” describes a set of developmental delays and disorders that affect social and communication skills and, to a greater or lesser degree, motor, and language skills.

It is such a broad diagnosis that it can include people with high IQs and mental retardation. People with autism can be chatty or silent, affectionate or cold, methodical, or disorganized.

Until May 2013, official diagnoses within the autism spectrum included autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder—not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), Asperger syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, and Rett syndrome.

Today, there is just one autism spectrum disorder, with three levels of severity—but many therapists, clinicians, parents, and organizations continue to use terms like PDD-NOS and Asperger syndrome.

The pervasive developmental disorder is a formal term that, between 1994 and 2013, meant exactly the same thing as an autism spectrum disorder. If your child was diagnosed before 2013 you may have heard this term from an evaluator or doctor, but it is no longer in general use.

Key points about pervasive developmental disorder:

The term pervasive developmental disorder is no longer in general use.
The term was synonymous with autism spectrum disorder.
People with PDD have a wide range of developmental differences which can be mild or severe.

What Is Asperger Syndrome?

Asperger syndrome describes individuals at the highest-functioning end of the autism spectrum. The term—and the diagnosis—was removed from the diagnostic manual in 2013, but virtually everyone in the autism community continues to use it because of its usefulness in describing a very specific
group of people.

People with Asperger syndrome generally develop spoken language in the same way as typically developing children but have a tough time with social communication. These difficulties become more obvious as they get older and social expectations increase.

Because people with Asperger syndrome are often very intelligent (but “quirky”) the disorder is sometimes nicknamed “geek syndrome” or “little professor syndrome.”

Key points about Asperger syndrome:

Asperger syndrome is no longer a valid diagnosis.
Asperger syndrome was and is still often used to describe people with “high functioning” autism.
Most people with the symptoms of Asperger syndrome are of normal or above normal intelligence with strong verbal skill and significant difficulties with social communication.
Many people with Asperger syndrome have significant sensory challenges.
People with the symptoms of Asperger syndrome are now considered to have level 1 autism spectrum disorder.

What Is Mild Autism?

The term mild autism is not an official diagnosis. It’s simply a more descriptive term than Asperger syndrome or autism Generally speaking when people use the term mild autism they are referring to individuals whose symptoms fit an autism spectrum diagnosis, but who have strong verbal skills and few behavioral issues.

Those individuals may, however, have significant problems with social communication. They may also have problems coping with too much sensory input
(loud noise, bright lights, etc.).

Key points about mild autism:

Mild autism is essentially similar to or identical to Asperger syndrome.
People with mild autism may be difficult to recognize until they are under stress or coping with complex social situations.
Most people with mild autism are now considered to have level 1 autism spectrum disorder.
What Is High Functioning Autism?
Child smiling and looking up at the sky
Thomas Barwick / Taxi / Getty Images

Like “mild” autism, high functioning autism (sometimes shortened to HFA) is a made-up term that’s become more and more commonly used.
At one point (before 2013), the term was used to distinguish autism from Asperger syndrome.

The official distinction made by practitioners before 2013 was that people with HFA had or have speech delays while people with Asperger syndrome
have normal speech development. Of course, these days there is no Asperger syndrome, making the distinction moot.

Key points about high functioning autism:

High functioning autism, like mild autism, is similar to Asperger syndrome and would now be termed level 1 autism spectrum disorder.
Unlike people who were diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, people with HFA developed language slowly or idiosyncratically.
Like Asperger syndrome and mild autism, HFA is a real and significant disability that can lead to challenges in managing social situations, school
demands, work expectations, or recreational activities.

What Is PDD-NOS?

Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified is a mouthful of words that, until 2013,
were used to describe individuals who didn’t fully fit the criteria for other specific diagnoses but are nevertheless autistic.

Because there is no easy way to define the symptoms of PDD-NOS, which may range from very mild to very severe, the diagnostic category no longer exists,
though a new diagnosis, social communication disorder, may become a similar “catchall” category.3

Key points about PDD-NOS:

As of 2013, PDD-NOS is no longer a valid diagnosis.
PDD-NOS was a catchall for disorders with autism-like symptoms that didn’t fit the full criteria for autism.
People with PDD-NOS could have mild or severe symptoms.
Those people who were diagnosed with PDD-NOS prior to the DSM-5 will now have an autism spectrum diagnosis and may be diagnosed at level 1, 2, or 3
depending on the severity of symptoms.
PDD-NOS Was Part of the Autism Spectrum

What Is Severe Autism?

Severe autism is not an official diagnosis; instead, it is a descriptive term along with profound autism, low functioning autism, and classic autism.
People with “severe autism” are often non-verbal and intellectually disabled, and may have very challenging behaviors.

Key points about severe autism:

Severe autism is usually diagnosed as level 3 autism spectrum disorder.
Severe autism is extremely challenging and may include aggression and other difficult behaviors.
Most people with severe autism never gain meaningful use of spoken language.
Some people with symptoms of severe autism do gain the ability to communicate through signs, picture boards, or other means.

What Is Rett Syndrome?

Rett syndrome is a genetic disorder that primarily affects girls.
It is the only one of the former autism spectrum disorders that can be diagnosed medically (so far). As of May 2013, it is no longer included in the autism spectrum.

Children with Rett syndrome develop severe symptoms including the hallmark social communication challenges of autism. In addition, Rett syndrome can profoundly impair a child’s ability to use their hands usefully.

Key points about Rett syndrome:

Rett syndrome is no longer part of the autism spectrum.
Rett syndrome is a genetic disorder which can be medically diagnosed.
Rett syndrome primarily impacts girls, and only rarely boys.
Symptoms of Rett syndrome include social communication challenges and the loss of purposeful use of one’s hands.

What Is the Broad Autism Phenotype?

The broad autism phenotype includes those people with the merest touch of autism. This is sometimes described as having “shadow symptoms.”
These sub-clinical symptoms can include social awkwardness, anxiety, a preference for sameness and routine, and an unusual degree of discomfort around bright lights, loud noise, and other sensory “assaults.”

Such mild symptoms, which are recognizable but which do not significantly impair daily functioning, are common among family members of people with full-blown autism.
 Is this really autism? Or just a personality type? As with many issues related to autism, it depends on whom you ask.

Either way, it is often helpful for people with such symptoms to seek help with building social communication skills and coping with sensory challenges.

Key points about broad autism phenotype:

There is a broad autism phenotype which includes people with milder autism-like symptoms.
Many people with such symptoms have children or other relatives on the autism spectrum.
Many of the treatments available for autism can be helpful for people with milder versions of the same symptoms.

Keynotes to remember: While some autism-related terms are descriptive, they’re not always terribly helpful. That’s because each and every individual on the autism spectrum is unique. Even if you think you know what a term means, it’s always important to learn more about a particular
individual’s strengths and challenges.

ALL ABOUT AUTISM AND AGEING (WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW)

The question is as we age does autism change? Autism in itself is a diagnoses and that the characteristics and traits for autism will change as we age!

What I am about to share with you is based upon research of my own and it has been proven that
NeuroTypical seniors will present different signs and symptoms along with the characteristic traits as
we age. (More about this based on Characteristic Traits in an Autistic Female/Girls and Women on the Spectrum video which you can click here (Female Aspies Young and Old on the Spectrum: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2LD1qtv_FQ)
Individuals with unique personalities and different circumstances are packaged differently. So, imagine it like a box of everyday things. Be it, box full of our personality, traits, characteristics, our personal qualities and the whole shebang about us, You know! The whole individual in itself. Autism Spectrum isn’t a one size fits all category. NO far from it.

You see each person that are autistic will need some form of individualised support throughout their lives regardless what age and stage in their life of where they are at. Basically,of their accommodation needs or what-not. Be it if they need help or assistance with their budgeting or with their housing once and a while for having a carer to cook and clean for them and so on and so forth as an example here.
Because as you are aware, as we age I know for a fact that that many of us autistics may rely on our carers a bit more depending on what spectrum we’re on for the sake of autism. Because, just as I’ve mentioned there are different hosts of autism disorders which obviously I have shared about what is autism in general which again you can find here: (What is #AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER?/(ASDhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osI44hfF-Ww)

But, you got to realise that some of the autistics individuals that regardless how old they are some may become independent one day as well as in saying this that some of them as I said some of them may be confident in their own to do their own stuff or again may rely on some carer or support worker
to assist them throughout the day of their daily tasks.Be it, shopping,cleaning, and cooking. You name it. They’re probably most likely to be there. Though one thing also again to remind you or to remember that there’ll be traits and issues that applies to autistic seniors. NeuroTypicals however as you may have heard me say a few times of this term in the past or maybe present videos
if you’ve been following me this long basically has been trying to become non-existent or has been trying to be removed for the sake of the PCs people of the “Politically Correct” of what to call them are now basically known as people without autism as a more friendlier term however.Autistics has also certain like terminology or terms that they wish to be called. Be it like person with autism,
autistic person, a person that is autistic, autistic person and the like.Which I have clearly done a video
mentioned basically interchangeable terminology based on what autistics would like to be called nowadays which you can again click here (Autistic, Allistic, Neurodivergent etc- Say what?https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKGJu0C9Ygg)

“Does Autism change as we age?” And from that I’ve seen, heard and researched for myself that we’ve got a long way to go to know if autism does change however as we age.

I believe that for many of us autistics we need to be able to talk and to express ourselves in what we want and that will also be based to how we are treated the same respect of you know the everyday individuals regardless and how we are spoken to. Because, obviously, as I shared in one of my videos that many people will or has belittled me or trying to talk me down, just because they think
you know I’m an autistic they think based on their arrogance and ignorance that I am *sound-effect” in the head I don’t want to say it too impolitely here and to offend anybody but this was based on my own life-experience or what have you when I first got in the diagnostic mode. But, as I said before that we should be able to express ourselves freely regardless and also like what I mean here that many autistics when they get over excited or over-stimulated and whatnot, they’ll come to know it as they’re stimming. Which again there will be a stimming playlist here (Stimming Help Central Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLD1nCoeovTZ5uHWubHyUYcBAK_5t5Ud7o) if you want to find out more. Also, I have mentioned how to talk to or treat an autistic versus a non-verbal autistic which again you can click here to find out more: (WHAT NOT TO Say to an Autistic/ Common Statements WE HEARhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YOYPMzM3JY)

For many of us autistics no matter how old we are that we wish to be included in everyday activities
be it going to parties and what not. Because, for me basically, based on my experiences even though I may have shared it before that you know as I was growing up before finding out my diagnosis and during my diagnosis of being an autistic or a person with Aspergers Syndrome but they have now
classified it as autism just to fit in the DSM 5 Manual (Autism Spectrum Disorders and Criteria Diagnosis of the DSM 5/Introduction –https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5SXTqMHEXs&list=PLD1nCoeovTZ410885hWwrshBsfIFbqvXC that I apparently didn’t get many invites. I was excluded you know I was very fortunate to be invited once in a while for certain parties and that regardless that how uncomfortable I was even though technically speaking, I was a shy young girl at the time when I was growing up. I just kept to myself in my books and what not like a bookworm and mind my own business. Even though, I did get bullied alot based in either primary, intermediate levels right through to high school and that’s a whole different story But, for many of us autistics as I said no matter how old we are basically we should feel that we are included in peers or groups as well as basically feeling accepted by others as well as also of ourselves of acceptance which acceptance of ourselves . is obviously the first step before people can you know can do it for us of the acceptance.
Because, as I said before, it comes to the point now about awareness vs acceptance of whatever comes first .

We should be able to make decisions in our lives no matter what we’re doing in our lives be it if it is finding the right job for us, or the right accommodation needs, right house etc for us to grow and thrive regardless because I believe also as I said that in saying this that there has been a many of times
many people may have tried to do the work for us or speak for us when they think that what is best for us. Obviously, we are also humans and of course, we will bound to make mistakes as well and basically if we say or do something out of the ordinary,even though many of us autistics are really straight to the point and blunt and what not. We say what we say. Say what we mean. Do what we say.

But, basically as I said before, like for me and many of us autistics we should be able to be sure to actually accept our mistakes and fix them if we can if there was an answer to that problem physically, mentally or what have you and for example you had a disagreement with your partner and that we maybe need to find a way to just fix it because obviously I believe that sometimes some things can be fixed if it wasn’t fixed in the first place or as some people may may disagree me on that some of it that is already you know broken- fix it! Or it should be are broken to be fixed regardless what it may be. It is the first step is to acknowledging our mistakes and actually taking accountability on our actions based on that mistake or in this case to take into what was said.

But, anyways, as I said before as sometimes, we grow older or transition to our basically different stages in life like from a child to an elderly autistic that we tend to be forgotten about of our diagnoses especially after when we hit either in our late teens or into adulthood life as most diagnosis is done for younger children because there’s always more help, more services and assistance to help with their accommodation needs that are always readily available as again as I said before
for us that is transitioning from teen to adult life as well as later life that there are only limited resources and information about on how you know how you can assist as we age but with the careful consideration of research and what not or getting to know the autistic regardless how old they are and just talking to them and all that that you maybe able to match fit their needs and accommodation and so on and so forth.

GENERAL AGEING SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES IN AUTISTICS

From what I can remember from my research that there are at least 4 more main differences between autism seniors and children alike and they are as follows:

1) Older autistic people are more likely to read facial expressions than young ones of an autistic people that are more likely to be able to read facial expressions than a young one of an autistic child or teen.

2) You’re more than likely have more memory issues.Obviously it’s all about the brain plasticity becoming more richer but more dense over time as we age.

3) Sensory Profiling – So, therefore for autistic adults however will be in the less crowded room etc and may choose to avoid overwhelming sensory you know situations and that also goes for autistic children as well however that they’ll try to avoid overwhelming sensory you know situations.

4.Having language or mobility issues to either autism children and adults or NeuroTypical Seniors.

My hope is that this will hopefully have moved from struggling to come to terms with who we are basically to a place of acceptance because I am all about you know
acceptance and inclusion of an individual no matter who you are maybe based on your race, gender, disability and everything else.

So, the 5 key areas of ageing in autism I want to discuss in this video are as follows:

1) Memory
2) Movement
3) Sensory Profiling
4) Language
5) Autonomy

So, let’s begin this, shall we?

1) Memory

We apparently as autistics (for many of us) will take things literal to what you say and do directly to or toward us. This is sad but true. I have about you know literal thinking vs. literal actions and what not which I will link in the iCard above me and in the description box below me)
Also, goes for us with black and white thinking as well. (Again, I have talked about this a few weeks ago which again I will link here: (Autism & Black & White Thinking/No Room For Grey Areashttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_f949ijzkhc)

For most of us autistics we’re influenced by memory that will then dictate to us of the routines
and expectations rather than doing some negotiation and use our of common sense however of the appreciation of change. Yet, again many of us autistics don’t like changes too much
regardless what it may be. Be it the changes of the environment, the changes of a given situation like hearsay for an autistic while transitioning from a young child to a teen and then they’re without warning haven’t been taught about maybe puberty or another one for autistics the main one may not like the change of their routine vs.the change of maybe of the environment if they were moving house because obviously for many of us we get so comfortable of where we are and that we lose our friends if we made any and losing the sense of belonging of knowing where everything is obviously of where that place we have to start our life all over again.

Short-term memory may present some problems for us as we may tend to forget or get distracted if we were doing some tasks at hand that was given to us. (I talked about executive functioning which you can click here to find out more about me to click above me or in the description box
and how it works for me as an autistic) – (Click here: An Autistic Perspective of Autism & Executive Function along with EF Hacks [2019]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pgka-QWdQf8). Because obviously every autistic is different in how they work but I’m sure some autistics may agree with me
in how I work may work similar to them or vice versa. But, each to their own. While this is happening with us autistics, we tend to try and socialise either with our pairs or with the NeuroTypicals and that while we are socialising we are mimicking every movement, action,tone of voice and so much more.
Moreover,most of us autistics will likely to sit and watch from a far to see how others around us acts, talk, walk, speak and think and so on and so forth.

Most of the time, or shall we say most of the day, basically for us autistics we will then end up having to mask ourselves to hopefully get through the day. I have talked about masking again in the Icard
and in the description box below you. So, masking, we end up masking on how we really feel, think and speak and be sure to get everything done in that given day. Yet, masking for us can affect our mental health and our well-being. Sometimes, with all this mimicking as well as masking we do this as a form of protection layer for ourselves to not get hurt from others basically to in the form of someone abusing us or taking us for granted pr what have you because some or many of us autistics will be trustworthy and all that with our strong traits and we maybe not being able to see who is real and who’s not for us because we just invite everyone in our circle and many of them will tend to abuse it. I’m not blaming or saying all but many and also that we do this to at least in hope for many of us to fit in and blend in to the peers or groups. But, I believe that we shouldn’t have to fit in and blend in as I’ve mentioned so many times before as we should be able to be our own individual selves.
Basically, We should be able to accept ourselves to who and what we are far beyond our labels.

When it comes to doing our everyday tasks however, that we be sure to get everything done accurately and precisely on time but with the guilding daily interactions memory will mean precision and not given into forgetting. The autistic brain plasticity decreases less with age and that is approximately to the NeuroTypical Brain. Because, we can build memories- yes we can as there are some form of connection with what was done, who was there, where it was as well as what’s going on as well as our interception abilities. Object permanence knowing something still exists even when it is out of sight and out of mind.

2) Language Ease or Use of Language

Apparently, there has been some form of myth here that is based on us autistics who can talk as they can tell others what they need. It’s estimated about 70% will use speech while 30% are intellectually challenged which are autistic individuals that are non-speakers. Don’t forever think that are non-verbal autistic can’t speak or think for themselves. Some are really bright and that they just need other methods or means to communicate to you. Also be patient with them.

The nature of autism groups from either with or without a learning disability can dictate difficulties locating the connections of thoughts and feelings that allows them to have enough time to process and to collect their thoughts and words however to present them in a conversation no matter how it is expressed either through words, pictures or technology.

This is less common in autistic seniors. Communication needs will present itself differently in differing formats to accommodate different learning styles. As we age, we become more lonely and want more connection either from people face to face or even just when we can learn to use different types of technology, software and apps to be in communication mode with our friends and family via communication apps like your Skype, your Discord, your your messenger, your whatever app that has a form of communication as well.

3) AUTONOMY (independence or freedom, as of the will or one’s actions)

With us autistics remembering more than likely forgetting helps develop social awareness as will hope to do more research about that later on. But tampered as possible increases in depression and anxiety as well as any changed circumstances or situations that we all come to face in our lives.
Building positive self-worth and autonomy counteracts to poor mental health if we choose to do something by ourselves that may cause harm or danger to others. As we age, many of us autistics will struggle with making and keeping friends in our lives or even in our circle. Sad but true.
. Sometimes, for some of us we may end up having a lack of motivation to join classes, clubs, socialise in general with our peers or even with the NeuroTypicals.
In autistic elders- there are an increase chance in mental health issues as well as immune disorders.
Also, for us autistics we all have interests and obsessions that are common and this can be a blessing or a curse for many of us yet it’s up to usin how we perceive it and do with it.

We should be able to have the freedom from any external control and influences.
We should be able to have the freedom to act a certain way as I’ve mentioned before.
If we choose to stimm when something is really overwhelming as we should be able to as this is our given darn right!We should be brave enough without the fear of judgement, fear of abandonment or what have you from our peers or even just the neurotypicals to ask for help when we need it.
Being able to respect ourselves in what we say and do.We need to use “universal design” that will allow everyone to a greatest extent possible use programs, services and facilities within and around the home, and in the community. Examples of access is like a public building, parks, provision of transport, information and communication systems so on and so forth.

We may now and again however, get asked though about our obsessions and interests of certain questions like

  • Can you do something else now?
  • Or Do you like something else besides x?
  • Could you change it to something else? Believe it or not- we would
    if we could. For some of us, this is our safety net or safe haven as it is something that we are familiar with. But, I’m sure that many of us autistics are willing to try if you show us what else is there for us that we can do to keep us busy and happy Yet, one thing to remember that we shouldn’t have to change too much for others in the box full of expectations as we should be able to be comfortable in ourselves and be able to change it or what have you.
    We all have different personalities, quirks and so much more as we should able to love ourselves more and more .

4) MOVEMENT

Not just the physical activity on what we do on the daily but with intro reception and responding to the right motor action in our body.We are more likely to battle with catatonia which this isn’t talked about much often and this is all about our body closing down and freezes physically
with duress than our autistic peers because obviously again all about the autistic shutdowns and meltdown phases that comes into play here obviously with us. What happens is that sometimes we may lose our speech or movement or that we lose both when it happens.And, this will possibly you know lead us to a sensory system shutdown and then some of us will then just in that shutdown automatically and with that shut down may last for a day, a week, a few extra months, a year, depending on the given situation on what they were faced with and what you went through like something
traumatic that most likely to last longer which again with the word of patience for us when we do or in that mode.

  1. SENSORY PROFILING (A series of standardized screening questionnaires that help caregivers identify sensory impairments in clients of all ages regardless.)

Autistic adults goes through a series of sensory dysphoria and are usually over or underwhelmed according to the demands of daily life.Again, we all need to find ways again to accommodate our everyday senses such as wearing sunglasses inside stores if lights are too bright and strong for our eyes, or vs. restaurants that are too bright and gives us headaches because I have done it in the past wearing sunglasses in certain stores and many people give me a funny look and that sometimes, I know that it’s not sunny outside yet I am doing this so that I’m doing it for the sake of protecting my eyes and you know having a headache as well as dizziness.Because in the last few times, I’ve not been doing it
when there’s not many people around and obviously I’ve noticed that it could be a prejudgement on our part for many people of why we get special treatment.Yet, again it’s all about meeting our needs, I believe. But we need to be sure that we don’t make it all about us too much of them you know some of us feel that we should be accepted and what not.I know for a fact that people can seem to misunderstand us autistics to why we act a certain way and all and that they feel that we don’t need
what we need something at that given moment of time. Some people can be so rude and impolite to us to tell us what they think is best for us.

Keynote to remember on this is that we need to be understood and that our needs and accommodations are met by others as this will make a world of difference for us.
We need to be able to also trust you in what you do to help us.

ART OF COMMUNICATION

*All communication process of ageing requires appropriate communication and you will need to find the right communication method and technique for the autistic be it whateverage in life because as I said before that we all have a different style of learning vs. different styles of communication. Be it some of us are verbal and some of us are non-verbal and that as a recap that we might need some form of software, a technology device or we might some apps or some form of drawings or emojis or whatever to describe of how we are feeling if we are non-verbal. Sometimes, some of us autistics including myself likes to express ourselves with emojis anyways yet as you can see I am verbal.
Some days I may not be verbal. So each to their own because some days I will be quiet as a mouse

*Another thing we need to do is connect with each other via our needs and accommodations because obviously as I shared befoere each to their own with autistics and other different
disabilities of having different accommodations and needs of needs that needs to be met.

*Another one is to understand what it means to move around or just move around in general.

*Understanding why its good to look after myself on all levels – financially, mentally, physically and more.
*Understanding before I can do something for myself.

As we age, no matter who and what we are or have got, we want the best for ourselves to enjoy life to its fullest and to also make a legacy of our for you know others to remember us by for our family, friends or whoever if we do.

Why Inner Beauty Is More Important Than Outer Beauty!?

As we all know that today more than ever before we are so consumed into what society and social media expects us to be in who and what they try to put us on these different labels and more. As we know that having different labels can damage us in our self-esteem, self-confidence and self-worth


Some labels that we carry are all too familiar to us and that what we do with them again is up to us into what we choose to become. We are consumed too much into the imagery of what it is like when in reality most of it is fake. Social media and society are turning us into many different imagery and that what we decide to do is up to us in the end of the day.

The choices as we know we make on a daily will affect not only us but others around us and that the choices we make starts and ends with us. Some of the choices will teach us some life lessons especially for when we’re going through our trials and tribulations. What we go through in life can help us to grow and learn from the past mistakes and much more or it’ll do the opposite if we choose to let it. We are to be someone that we’re not.

In today’s world, we as woman especially are pressured to look a certain way like being the next top supermodel of a size 0.

Size doesn’t matter at the end of the day. As long as we’re happy in ourselves based on what we look and feel then we shouldn’t need anyone to dictate to us to how we should act, think, talk. You do you!

Do we really want to be living a life that is consumed by the way how society and the media has for us in ways of living in a box full of expectations and standards to act, look, speak and think a certain way?
Do we really want to lose ourselves just for the sake of our sanity? Are we really happy with ourselves mentally, physically and spiritually? Are we at peace with ourselves? Is there anything in ourselves that we believe that we can change for ourselves and not for others?

We are told a lot of different things when we are growing up. As children we may be made to believe that outer beauty is of the utmost importance. Some of us are raised with quite the opposite told to us.
Some people are told inner beauty is the most important thing to tend to. Others are told both are equally vital in our lives.

However, the truth of the matter is that inner beauty is the one we should be focusing on all of our lives.
Because in the end, it’s what is the most important. Outer beauty fades as we age, but our inner persona never goes anywhere.

How do we define beauty?

Beauty can mean so many things to us all. Beauty I see it as- We know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder as well as seeing it deep down inside the soul of someone special.

Beauty has varied throughout time, various cultures and the vast different perceptions of the world. Beauty has been described and depicted through pictures and concepts penetrating our minds. Beauty has been defined in so many ways. What I have discovered is that beauty is simple.
Beauty is happiness.

It’s the images and moments that inspire and represent the most distinct and remarkable attractiveness of our souls. It’s the moments we feel free and real. It’s the moments we feel proud and eminent. It’s the moments we feel alive. It seems like that element should be inherent, but it isn’t.

Beauty is often distorted, misunderstood and shadowed by a wide amount of conflicting pressures. It is something we endlessly strive for, rather than see in the true essence of our happiest moments.

Beauty is the ascription of a property or characteristic to a person, object, animal, place or idea that provides a perceptual experience of pleasure or satisfaction. Beauty is studied as part of aesthetics, culture, social psychology and sociology.

The experience of “beauty” often involves an interpretation of some entity as being in balance and harmony with nature, which may lead to feelings of attraction and emotional well-being. Because this can be a subjective experience, it is often said that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Often, given the observation that empirical observations of things that are considered beautiful often align among groups in consensus, beauty has been stated to have levels of objectivity and partial subjectivity which are not fully subjective in their aesthetic judgement. Ugliness is the opposite of beauty.

The word “beauty” is often used as a countable noun to describe a beautiful woman, an excellent example of something, or a pleasing feature of something.

Outer beauty is the beauty that we have on the outside. Our physique, looks, style and demeanor. This is claimed by a lot of people to be as important, if not more, important than inner beauty. However, that is simply not the truth. Outer beauty does not last forever.

Trends change, style preferences don’t stay the same and we all get less attractive as we age.
Outer beauty is nice and all, but it doesn’t help with your attitude towards other people. It doesn’t make your soul grow. Not even one bit.

Media, tv, movies, advertising, etc. What do they all have in common? They all teach us, especially women, that outer beauty is crucial to surviving life. Unfortunately this is a misconception that is used to sell products to us and it fuels the fashion world.

It’s definitely okay to be proud of your outer beauty, but don’t get it wrong- It’s not as important as the beauty that we hold on the inside of us.

Another thing to keep in mind is that even if someone has outer beauty, without inner beauty they still won’t be truly attractive to others. Being attractive is more than just being ‘hot’ or ‘sexy’ or having good looks!


Being attractive means so much more than having a pretty face or good body. It’s about how you project yourself from the inside out. Now, of course, if you don’t take care of yourself… Like having bad hygiene or dressing like a slob constantly… You might not be attractive just based on your inner beauty.It’s about having a good balance of both. Just because you are not blessed with the perfect bone structure or shiny immaculate hair, does not mean that you cannot be attractive by simply taking care of yourself.

Self-care is really important for all of us. Once in a while, it’s okay to say no and be selfish so that we can make time for ourselves. Self care is important for our mental health and physical well-being.

On the other hand, Inner Beauty what is it all about?

By definition, inner beauty may be described as something that’s experienced through a person’s character rather than by appearances.

It’s the real beauty of a person that goes far beyond just physical appearances.

To most people, inner beauty is a joke. People say that inner beauty is something ugly people say to themselves to feel better. Of course, that makes perfect sense too. I mean, if you can’t see it, who can really tell whether it even exists in the first place?

Inner beauty is, in plain terms, the beauty we have inside. This has nothing to do with our physical appearance. It does not matter what your complexion is, what your hair is like or how much makeup you wear.

On the contrary, it has nothing to do with looks. Inner beauty is a combo of your characteristics, originality and moral compass. Inner beauty is how you treat other people around you and it’s the attitude that you project into the world. Inner beauty, unlike outer beauty, can be changed with a little effort. That means that if someone has terrible inner beauty or none at all, they can work on themselves to improve it. Although it may be harder for some to do so and it can take a lot of time, it’s not impossible for anyone.

The real truth about inner beauty and all its confusions

You may assume that inner beauty is something you can only feel and never see. But how true is that?
There’s a big confusion between outer beauty and inner beauty, and in all that confusion, we’ve overlooked the true effort of inner beauty and given all the credit to outer beauty.

You may assume that you never notice inner beauty at first sight. But is that really true? Almost all the time, you notice a person’s physical appearance only for a moment, until the real inner beauty starts the attraction game.

You may speak to someone for a minute and find them pleasant or not-so-pleasant at first.
But as the conversation goes on for a minute or two, you may start to pick qualities and traits, and without even realizing it, you may start to find a person more and more beautiful or charming.

What makes attractive people so attractive?

You may think it’s a chiseled face or a gorgeous physique that makes a person attractive. But more than anything else, it’s a person’s inner belief that they’re attractive that makes them more appealing to others.

It’s true, physical appearances can be a bonus, but it’s something that’s easily overlooked when other traits are brought into the picture.

The glow of confidence and sex appeal comes from within yourself. Some of the most fancied personalities like Oprah, Lady Gaga or Tom Hanks aren’t really the prettiest of people. But their glowing confidence and self-belief makes them attractive to every member of the opposite sex.

Even Shrek the ogre seems loveable and nice once you get to know him, don’t you think?

First impressions don’t always depend on your physique or your facial features, but you need to believe that from within yourself. And that’s where your true beauty lies.

Are you beautiful on the inside?

Inner beauty helps you appreciate outer beauty. If you love, appreciate and feel good about yourself, you would feel more confident about facing and interacting with other beautiful people in the world. Remember, outer beauty can give you a glance, it’s inner beauty that makes someone stay.

Is beauty really in the eye of the beholder?

I personally believe that beauty isn’t really in the eye of the beholder. I think beauty is within ourselves.
What others see when they look at us is a projection of what we want them to see.

When you fill your thoughts with positive energy and inner beauty, you’d appreciate the things that are around you a lot more too. Even when you look at an inanimate object like a painting, or even a view of the ocean, it seems more beautiful to you because you see the beauty that overflows within you reflect in everything else around you.

If you feel beautiful, your own self belief and confidence brings out a glow of beauty that no outer beauty can compete with. But if you feel ugly, your inner beauty will reflect the same idea and project it on your outer beauty. If you truly feel beautiful on the inside, you’d never seem unappealing to anyone else.

Yes, it’s true that some people may want a 36-24-36 body in their partner or never ending legs, but that’s only a preference. Just like how some girls see wealth as an important criterion when it comes to dating a guy, it’s all just a preference. And you really need to understand that from within.

Inner beauty can be seen by everyone else

And it’s so much more beautiful than outer beauty. So what if you’re several pounds overweight, or short or bald? Truly believe in yourself. But if you seem unconvinced that you’re truly beautiful, start working on what you perceive as flaws about yourself. Flaws are perceptive and it’s a flaw only because you believe it’s one.

A girl who wants to lose 10 pounds may think she’s fat, while another girl who wants to be size zero may think she’s fat. To a third girl’s eye, both those girls may already be skinny! Beauty is just a perception that begins from within.

Just look at Nigella Lawson, she’s so pretty, flirty and gorgeous, that no one would even notice that she’s not exactly skinny! Any guy would be willing to date her in a flash. If that’s not the power of inner beauty, perception and self confidence, really, then what is?!!

The real beauty that everyone sees

If inner beauty is the true beauty that everyone sees, why is it even called inner beauty? Shouldn’t it just be called outer beauty then because that’s what everyone notices anyway?

Well, a better word would be just beauty, there’s nothing inner or outer about it.

You’re beautiful if you believe you’re beautiful. You’re attractive if you feel attractive. Everyone only sees you as a projection of what you see when you look into the mirror.

You’re beautiful if you know it and feel it. So go on out there, because there’s a whole world waiting for the beautiful you. And if you still feel like there’s a flaw holding the beautiful you back, learn to overcome it.

The characterization of a person as “beautiful”, whether on an individual basis or by community consensus, is often based on some combination of inner beauty, which includes psychological factors such as personality, intelligence, grace, politeness, charisma, integrity, congruence and elegance, and outer beauty (i.e. physical attractiveness) which includes physical attributes which are valued on an aesthetic basis.

What are some other things that you cannot do without inner beauty? You can’t make friends. Or, at the very least, you can’t keep the friends you do make.

Yes you read that right! You think that being attractive on the outside will keep friends coming around and around? Think again.

Without inner beauty it is hard to maintain healthy connections with anyone, even your family members. Inner beauty is going to be the main thing that draws people into you. Without it, no one will want to invest in you on a deeper level. The only exception to this is if you are not a good person who gets friends by instilling fear. Also known as bullying.

However, that dynamic usually only holds up in your younger years, such as in high school. Once you graduate and grow up that just simply won’t work for you anymore.
You will end up very lonely if you have a terrible attitude towards others or a bitter inner beauty set up.

We have one last thing to tell you about why having inner beauty is so important. And it’s that its hard to maintain a romantic relationship.

Yup. Getting married might be a huge problem for you if you cannot sort out what’s going on inside of you. Being physically attractive is one way to draw someone in, sure, but keeping them around will never work if you are not a good person.

Of course looks have a huge part in finding a partner. Our biology tells us to find someone that we are physically attracted to. But most people will not stay in a relationship with someone that has nothing to offer past the surface.

Standards of beauty have changed over time, based on changing cultural values. Historically, paintings show a wide range of different standards for beauty.
However, humans who are relatively young, with smooth skin, well-proportioned bodies, and regular features, have traditionally been considered the most beautiful throughout history.

A strong indicator of physical beauty is “averageness”. When images of human faces are averaged together to form a composite image, they become progressively closer to the “ideal” image and are perceived as more attractive.
This was first noticed in 1883, when Francis Galton overlaid photographic composite images of the faces of vegetarians and criminals to see if there was a typical facial appearance for each. When doing this, he noticed that the composite images were more attractive compared to any of the individual images.
Researchers have replicated the result under more controlled conditions and found that the computer-generated, mathematical average of a series of faces is rated more favorably than individual faces.
It is argued that it is evolutionarily advantageous that sexual creatures are attracted to mates who possess predominantly common or average features, because it suggests the absence of genetic or acquired defects. There is also evidence that a preference for beautiful faces emerges
early in infancy, and is probably innate, and that the rules by which attractiveness is established are similar across different genders and cultures.

A feature of beautiful women that has been explored by researchers is a waist–hip ratio of approximately 0.70. Physiologists have shown that women with hourglass figures are more fertile than other women due to higher levels of certain female hormones, a fact that may subconsciously condition males choosing mates. However, other commentators have suggested that this preference may not be universal. For instance, in some non-Western cultures in which women have to do work such as finding food, men tend to have preferences for higher waist-hip ratios.

Beauty standards are rooted in cultural norms crafted by societies and media over centuries. Globally, it is argued that the predominance of white women featured in movies and advertising leads to a Eurocentric concept of beauty, breeding cultures that assign inferiority to women of color.
Thus, societies and cultures across the globe struggle to diminish the longstanding internalized racism. The black is beautiful cultural movement sought to dispel this notion in the 1960s.

Beauty comes from all shapes, colors and sizes.

Exposure to the thin ideal in mass media, such as fashion magazines, directly correlates with body dissatisfaction, low self-esteem, and the development of eating disorders among female viewers. Further, the widening gap between individual body sizes and societal ideals continues to breed anxiety among young girls as they grow, highlighting the dangerous nature of beauty standards in society.

The concept of beauty in men is known as ‘bishōnen’ in Japan. Bishōnen refers to males with distinctly feminine features, physical characteristics establishing the standard of beauty in Japan and typically exhibited in their pop culture idols. A multibillion-dollar industry of Japanese Aesthetic Salons exists for this reason.

However, different nations have varying male beauty ideals; Eurocentric standards for men include tallness, leanness, and muscularity; thus, these features are idolized through American media, such as in Hollywood films and magazine covers.

Eurocentrism and beauty

The prevailing eurocentric concept of beauty has varying effects on different cultures. Primarily, adherence to this standard among African American women has bred a lack of positive reification of African beauty, and philosopher Cornel West elaborates that, “much of black self-hatred and self-contempt has to do with the refusal of many black Americans to love their own black bodies-especially their black noses, hips, lips, and hair. “These insecurities can be traced back to global idealization of women with light skin, green or blue eyes, and long straight or wavy hair in magazines and media that starkly contrast with the natural features of African women.

In East Asian cultures, familial pressures and cultural norms shape beauty ideals; professor and scholar Stephanie Wong’s experimental study concluded that expecting that men in Asian culture didn’t like women who look “fragile” impacted the lifestyle, eating, and appearance choices made by Asian American women.

In addition to the male gaze, media portrayals of Asian women as petite and the portrayal of beautiful women in American media as fair complexioned and slim-figured induce anxiety and depressive symptoms among Asian American women who don’t fit either of these beauty ideals. Further, the high status associated with fairer skin can be attributed to Asian societal history; upper-class people hired workers to perform outdoor, manual labor, cultivating a visual divide over time between
lighter complexioned, wealthier families and sun tanned, darker laborers. This along with the Eurocentric beauty ideals embedded in Asian culture has made skin
lightening creams, rhinoplasty, and blepharoplasty (an eyelid surgery meant to give Asians a more European, “double-eyelid” appearance) commonplace among Asian women,
illuminating the insecurity that results from cultural beauty standards.

Western ideals in beauty and body type

Much criticism has been directed at models of beauty which depend solely upon Western ideals of beauty as seen for example in the Barbie model franchise. Criticisms of Barbie are often centered around concerns that children consider Barbie a role model of beauty and will attempt to emulate her.
One of the most common criticisms of Barbie is that she promotes an unrealistic idea of body image for a young woman, leading to a risk that girls who attempt to emulate her will become anorexic.

These criticisms have led to a constructive dialogue to enhance the presence of non-exclusive models of Western ideals in body type and beauty. Complaints also point to a lack of diversity in such franchises as the Barbie model of beauty in Western culture. Mattel responded to these criticisms. Starting in 1980, it produced Hispanic dolls, and later came models from across the globe.


For example, in 2007, it introduced “Cinco de Mayo Barbie” wearing a ruffled red, white, and green dress (echoing the Mexican flag). Hispanic magazine reports that: “[O]ne of the most dramatic developments in Barbie’s history came when she embraced multi-culturalism and was released in a wide variety of native costumes, hair colors and skin tones to more closely resemble the girls who idolized her. Among these were Cinco De Mayo Barbie, Spanish Barbie, Peruvian Barbie,
Mexican Barbie and Puerto Rican Barbie. She also has had close Hispanic friends, such as Teresa.

One word: Confidence. Confidence is key to doing anything in life. Without it you will never succeed at much of anything. You will not excel in your career or in the dating pool. Maybe not those things, but whatever it may be, you won’t be able to accomplish it without having true confidence in yourself.

You might think that outer beauty is what makes you feel good, and even sexy, about yourself. The exact opposite is true. All of this comes from confidence that you derive from your inner beauty. Without this confidence, you will not find yourself beautiful in the first place.

The Little Things Tag [Inner Beauty & Self-Confidence]

*NOTE: YOU CAN ALSO WATCH THIS VIDEO FROM MY CHANNEL.

#innerbeauty#beauty#selfconfidence#thelittlethingstag#thelittlethings

As we all know that today more than ever before we are so consumed into what society and social media expect us to be. We are to be someone that we’re not.In today’s world, we as women especially are pressured to look a certain way like being the next top supermodel of a size 0. Do we really want to be living a life that is consumed by the way how society and the media have for us in ways of living in a box full of expectations and standards to act, look, speak and think a certain way? Do we really want to lose ourselves just for the sake of our sanity?How we define beauty is up to us and only us as I feel inner beauty is really important due to our personality as looks disappear over time.

♥ QUESTION FOR THE TAG!
1. One thing that makes you feel beautiful?
2. What’s something that people often compliment you on?
3. What’s one of your insecurities?
4. If you could tell every insecure person in the world one thing, what would you say?
5. Do you talk in your sleep?
6. Little Things you appreciate about life?
7. Favorite little things about someone you love?
8. Something someone said to you to make you self conscious?
9. If you could change one thing about yourself, would you?
10. What’s one thing about yourself that you would never change?

VIDEOS AND PLAYLISTS I MENTIONED IN THE VIDEO:

(2:11) Fun & Games: #Tags, Games & more
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLD1nCoeovTZ4LjLcapAeih31p0FYvZNKR

(4:40) GUYS have INSECURITIES TOO – NOT JUST WOMEN
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOyzzCz01o8

(10:38) Stimming Help Central
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLD1nCoeovTZ5uHWubHyUYcBAK_5t5Ud7o

(10:46) Aspergers Syndrome & Meltdowns/Sensory Overload/Tantrums & more.
.https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLD1nCoeovTZ7dZgDMPm6czbrWLXogBvUK

(13:12) Get To Know Me- Girlfriend & Boyfriend Tag/Special Edition with FireTheLier
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnsDNqEURtA

(15:02) Celebrating Autism/ This is Who I AM & WHAT I AM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kcPnDnU4co

25 Examples of Ableism to Avoid as an Ally to People With Disabilities

There will always be ableist remarks that are still fairly common and are commonly said to people with disabilities and that it feels like kicking someone when they are down. Since at least one out of five people will become disabled in their lives — and ableism is still largely unaddressed and unknown — if you are the loved one of someone with a disability, you will want to be aware of how to proceed with compassion. Here is a list of 25 examples of ableism so you can be a good friend / medical practitioner /
family member etc and avoid the harm ableism causes. So, I’m going to share with you at least 25 common examples that are being done by people who are ableist and not knowing that they are doing and hopefully this video will at least make you think twice about what you’re doing to people with a disability hidden, mental or physical. We need to be mindful of others. So, here are a few do’s and don’ts if you will to keep in mind when being around people with a disability.

1) Minimizing another’s struggle for your comfort.

We know it is hard when someone has a disability / chronic illness. But imagine how much harder it is for them. Give them space to talk about it.

2) Discriminating against them for speaking about their diagnosis/challenges, or accusing them of just wanting attention or trying to manipulate others.

These ideas are completely ridiculous and rooted in acute ableism. This is likely the hardest thing a person has ever gone through. Sharing is a part of well-being; a little bit of compassion goes a long way.

3) Thinking you understand how a condition affects someone without listening to them and researching their condition.

Each person has different experiences and each diagnosis has complex symptoms.

4) Comparing chronic/long-term disabilities to temporary/short-term injuries or illnesses.

Getting your tonsils out is not the same at the existential identity crisis or the physical and emotional challenges of facing a potentially lifelong disability.

5) Saying they should just “get over it” or “accept it” without recognizing the immense grief that can come with chronic illness / disability.

Again, it is likely the hardest thing a person has gone through and there are a lot of big feelings that need to be expressed. Let the person know you are there for them. “Tough love” attitudes towards someone with a disability are not love at all.

6) Assuming a person is faking an invisible disability.

Just. Don’t. No one would choose this. If anything, we are actually faking being well!

7) Avoiding interacting with someone because their disability/illness makes you uncomfortable.

Try “I know this must be so hard for you” and ask how they would best like to be supported.
Offering specific things such as “I can bring soup” or “I am stopping at the pharmacy, do you need anything?” can help you feel supportive in a concrete way.

8) Presuming disabled people can’t speak for themselves.

Always speak directly to the person rather than their caregiver. Treat them in how you want to be treated. Don’t talk them down or get too smart.
Be sure to ask and never assume of how and what they look like that they can’t speak etc.

9) Thinking they should be able to do everything for themselves rather than offering or validating community care.

This individualistic culture harms us all — imagine how much it harms those who aren’t able to fully function physically/mentally.
We could often use a hand with many things. Don’t shame someone for not being able to do it all.

10) Thinking those with disabilities are a leech on the system.
Everyone deserves to live. Enough said.

11) Inferring someone is lazy, unmotivated or not trying hard enough to get better.

Saying they just need to “buck up” or try _ treatment, eat _ food or do more yoga.
The sheer amount of practitioners many of us see, treatments we try, research we do and money we spend on trying to get better would make your head spin.
We are some of the strongest people there are.

12) Often physical disabilities cause mental health issues like anxiety and depression, not the other way around.

It is hard to wake up every day knowing we are not able to live the life we would choose, or even take care of basic household tasks. While there has been immense historical stigma, depression is not the root of chronic illness.

13) Not allowing space for the people with disabilities in your life to discuss their disability issues, while expecting them to listen to your problems.

Relationships don’t work that way — they are about give and take. Healthy relationships are reciprocal — if not, they are exploitative and draining.

14) Ignoring the disability/pretending it doesn’t exist.

This is an attempt to erase a person’s marginalization and challenges. It is also emotionally neglectful. T
his doesn’t mean discussing it every time you see someone but ask them how they are with things regularly.

15) Concluding the person with a disability is doing something wrong if other people have recovered and they haven’t.

Recovery isn’t an option for many people. They may already feel embarrassed, ashamed or scared about this. This is otherwise known as victim-blaming.

16) Placing less value on people with disabilities than people who can work or do certain activities.

We are valuable as is. Capitalist production does not translate into loveability. We have many types of creative gifts and often more compassion than the average Joelene.

17) Blaming a person or their lifestyle for “creating” their disability.

This is more victim blaming. It doesn’t matter if you are a “spiritual master.” Don’t. It is not our fault.

18) Thinking the disability is “not that bad” or is non-existent because you can’t see it with your eyes.

Invisible disabilities are extremely common. The fact that you cannot see them does not make them less debilitating.

19) Telling someone to change their mindset” or to “not identify with their disability.”

Doing so does not magically make our disability disappear and leaves us feeling shamed and unseen.

For many of us, disability is part of our identity — it affects everything about our day.

Yes, hope is helpful, but it does not negate the grief they might feel or the validity of their experience/ condition.

20) Thinking a person with a disability is overreacting or being high maintenance for stating their needs.


It is often really hard to ask for help or state our needs. If you shame someone for doing so, they may never open up to you again. Put yourself in their shoes.

21) Assuming that because someone is smiling / laughing / out that they must be better, or things are easy, or they are faking their disability.

Smiling and laughing feel good. It does not mean we aren’t struggling. Most of us attempt to fake being well or try to ignore our symptoms. And many of us have some days that are much better than others.

22) Expecting that if a person with a disability is up for something one day, they should be up for it another day.

23) Consistently making group plans that the disabled person is unable to participate in. You like hiking?

We understand and may have loved it ourselves. But we need social contact too. Check in and see what types of activities work for a get together once in a while.

24) No longer inviting someone out because their disability has caused them to cancel a lot of plans previously.

Trust me, we hate this way more than you do. Keep inviting us. Maybe visit us at home.

25) Believing ableism is less toxic and harmful than racism, sexism, classism etc.

It’s not.

I’M HUMAN TOO- INTERNALISED ABLEISM & AUTISM (My Lived Experiences with Internalised Ableism)

DISLAIMER

Before I continue this video I am about to share with you all today, I want to say that I am no medical doctor. I’m your normal Jo Blogs, sharing my lived experiences in what I go through on the daily and if you see or hear anything out of the ordinary, do seek professional advice for yourself or your loved one or do get professional help for yourself or your loved one as I don’t condone self-harm.

Now, today I want to share with you all my lived experiences with internalised ableism that I struggle with sometimes on a daily and hell it’s not easy. It never is as well as life isn’t easy but it’s what we do in our lives that counts and what we do with our pages and chapters in our lives to create a beautiful story to share. I will share this how I experience it directly by me to myself. As I am sharing this with you all I want to be real, honest and transparent as I am sure that this with you or someone you know or may know of to what I am about to share has experienced something similar. Let’s start this discussion today and see what we can do together to stop discrimination on ourselves and support others to uplift them. Feel free to open up and share your experiences and stories in the comments section and when it is being shared, be mindful of others as I want it to be a place that people can feel safe and not feel judged or feel little or not less. That they are worth more than their diagnoses etc.

As you all know or must know that everything that I do either it is online through community groups, social medias as well as my YouTube channel, blogging or even pushing myself to be active outside for the community/support groups I am in I do everything I can to do my utmost best to support others and myself. Sometimes, now and again, I tend to mold myself or mask myself to fit in and blend in to the ableist world/society and then I will isolate myself and become ableist on myself or even towards myself as I’m usually alone. When I was growing up, yes I was alone and felt alone but I did have some friends and lose them along the way but the social prejudices that I received from certain ableists opinions, thoughts and assumptions about me was running through my head and that I started to ruminate through these and thought so deeply about it all if they were right about me being a problem and so many other hurtful statements that they said to me. While this was all happening I then begin to shapeshift where I was in my surroundings as well as with the people around me. I have shared what happens when I or others that are autistic that may begin to shapeshift in one of my videos which I shall link in the icard above me as well as in the description to gain a better understanding to it all. While the shapeshifting began, I began to mimic behaviours, attitudes and actions that I deemed fit, appropriate and acceptable by me and others that I were with at that time. Again, this will be added in the icard based on socialisation in the playlist which will be above me and below me in the description box below. While socialisation is occurring between myself and others that I am with a lot of things are happening around me like certain noises and smell I can’t cope with, I then become anxious in everything that I say or do that I may offend others or may come off rude etc in their mindset of theirs and then it will become apparent that it will come to point where they accept me or reject me for whatever reason. Again another playlist will be added here for you all to gain a better understanding which is anxiety and social anxiety which you can click here in the icard or in the description box below. This has lead me to start discriminating myself and hating myself for a long period of time and I thought to myself at my very first instance enough is enough. Time to take back control. Now is the time to accept and love myself. I want to be better. I want to be the best me. I want to better myself, accept myself and love myself more. Autistics do struggle with their self-esteem, self-worth myself included. Another one is above me about this which you can click and in the description box below.

WHAT IS INTERNALISED ABLELISM?

(Autism Women’s Network, 2013).“A practice where disabled people internalize the ideas and prejudices of society that see disability as ‘other’,
as something undesirable, as tragic and as something to be shunned if not pitied. This in turn results in the disabled person loathing themselves…”

Or even from the blog of Disability Rights Bastard wrote it as they defined it as: A practice where disabled people internalize the ideas and prejudices of society that see disability as ‘other’, as something undesirable, as tragic and as something to be shunned if not pitied. This in turn results in the disabled person loathing themselves and their bodies. They inherently see themselves as lesser human beings
and they dislike others in their group because they are the mirror image of that self-loathing and self-destructing themselves to believe the white lies and whispers as truth.

Ableism on the other hand is defined as ableist people who are able-bodied and able-minded view people with a disability as less valuable or less worthy to be in a society designed for only them.
Ableism, as a reminder, is the discrimination against disabled people in favour of those who are “able-bodied.”
Ableism, like racism or sexism, occurs on the individual level (e.g. when we get insulted or ignored in conversation because of how we speak) as well as at the structural level (e.g. society is set up in such a way as to disadvantage us and privilege those who speak fluently). Ableism is a complex thing that takes tremendous work and many years to fight against in order to create more inclusive and welcoming societies.

This again, I can’t express it or repeat this enough to you all as a reminder is still a form and/or type of discrimination towards people with different disabilities. It’s assumptions from others that are able-bodied and able-minded that thinks that people who are different or again has a disability of some kind
has to get treated differently and unfairly based by biased opinions and thoughts from people who are able-minded and able-bodied. People are built in this world where it’t not created for people with disabilities yet people fear change and fear of being different or anything that may look, feel different. There are and has always been subtleties to discriminatory behaviours and attitudes towards others along with the unwillingness or compromise to make life easier for those with a
disability.

Another definition and explanation to illustrate to you all to give you all a better understanding is when someone with a disability has heard or seen so many ableist comments, perceptions, ideas and assumptions that they’ll most likely will say it to themselves or to others with a disability.

I am going to share with you all today a few examples to illustate that I am an ableist to myself thinking that I am less than or not worth it to anyone.

Example number one is support aids

such as with me being an autistic and having some mental health issues a classic one is I get a lot of stares from other people looking at me when I am ‘ wearing my sunnies indoors inside a restaurant or even in supermarket or even just any public space indoors when it’s not sunny. I tell myself that
people are staring at me is it because I am weird? Is it because I am not supposed to wear them indoors? What am I supposed to do when the lights indoors are so bright and strong to the point it makes me dizzy, gives me headaches. I rarely wear headphones around town as well again the classic stares and ableist comments creeps in. I sometimes use visual aids along with to-do tasks to help me with my everyday chores needed to be done and to keep me into a routine. I find these important
as shared that when I see them I can mark them off and see them as a form of accomplishment and/or achievement into what I’ve done in a day. It gives me a good feeling. While some of these aids are useful to me I then try to tell myself to push harder and by doing this and saying this to myself. I usually do push myself as hard as I can to the point where I am either at breaking point or even exhaustion and a meltdown or shutdown phase comes along with a burnout
I did share my experiences with how that affects me which again in the icard above me and description below me.

  1. Believing in my diagnoses

I have shared what I’ve got but for those who are new and landed on my page, I have Aspergers yet now is called Autism, Social Anxiety, Anxiety, Panic and anxiety attacks. After going through a lot of thorough assessments and now given some of these diagnosis and accepting what it is. Again, my certain ableists opinions, thoughts and assumptions about me was running through my head or allowing the internal voice to take over and that I start to ruminate through these and thought so deeply about it all if they were right about me being a problem, you are a burden, nobody wants you and so on and so forth. I choose to accept my diagnoses despite the internal voice again will repeatedly say to me that you’re weak, you’re useless unless I do accept the labels/diagnoses given to me, suck it up buttercup/
princess. Question is that I ask myself and we should all ask ourselves this is why do we allow it to happen in the first place? To me that question is a good one and the best answer I can give you right now is self-reflection of society and of ourselves as a whole. Some of us has come to a point in our lives that we should be made and act as “normal” as possible. Yet, what is normal these days. Normal is so overrated. I did share about being normal or my thoughts in a video which you can click on the link above me and in the description box below me. To be honest also to think of all that as well as also how our personality and self-thinking is based on our culture and upbringing in society where everything and everyone is changing and it looks like an ableist in a social and medical and social model of disability lens. I believe that this need to be changed. I will hope to talk about some more of these different models at a later date so if you’re interested stay tune for that.
This has been seen as a marginalisation or even worse as a moral character. Society uses disability as a problem and not as society itself lacking in the needs, means or accommodations for people with disabilities being the problem and we then get denied and rejected for those who need the accommodation and support that they need the most or even we are known for being a problem/burden with a disability. Do we say these things on purpose? Are we saying them for seeking attention? As we know that this kind of thinking, attitude and behaviours are deemed acceptable
if we choose to allow it to happen in the first place and this can lead to self-destructing behaviours and thoughts. Do I want to accept these sort of thinking and/or behaviours? We know that this can then self-destruct causing lacking of self-worth, self-respect, self-esteem.

  1. Judging myself in what I can and can’t do or even dwelling on it.

I can do so much more as a daughter and as a friend etc. I have overcome so much and that I am a conqueror through everything that I’ve been through. I do have my strengths and weaknesses like anyone else that I should be thankful that I am still alive and breathing and to focus on my strengths and work more on my weaknesses to be a better version of myself.

  1. Hiding or masking my diagnoses especially my autism

I have been so anxious when I first began my journey with autism about how others will treat and respond to me if I was to share in public in the communities I am as well as my support groups. I also thought to when is the right time to share it and thought better than ever to do it now
online on my channel and on my blog so that others that are like me maybe able to relate or experience something similar and giving a voice to others that knowing that what they’re going through that they’re not alone. I thought now is the time to embrace everything about me, to love me for me. Why hide my diagnoses? Just continue to keep working hard and all like an energizer bunny amd know my limits and expectations of myself. Usually, I am independent and don’t usually ask for help from others yet I have started to do this right now and that I am in some community groups here in NZ where I am where I should feel safe and feel like I can be myself and not be someone else. Why be someone else when I can show others who I am despite it all. After all, I am human too. I function same way as you but in a different way of wiring of my brain. Like someone said that we are all a different operating system and I believe that we are.

  1. Stimming in public or even meltdowns. Feeling of shame and embarrassment on myself doing this yet it is normal for us to do this. Stimming is a form of release and expression we need to do to relieve any stress, tension etc. Again more on Stimming in one of the playlists in the description and icard above me. Again the stares and judgement from other people looking at me and that sometimes when these two things occur I try to withhold myself or try to stop myself from any stimming or block anything and everything around me that will cause my meltdown and that will take a lot of willpower by masking myself and try to act and look
    as normal as possible so that I don’t cause a scene in public. Yet, while that’s going on with me it’s like am fighting a battle inside myself especially inside of my brain and that this causes negative effects if I suppress myself for too long when all I want to do is find something that will be my escape or relief and/or release. Then, during some of these situations that arises be it my meltdowns or shutdowns or stimming, a little inside voice will start whispering to me, resonating with me, torturing me as these are then are well-known as “negative thoughts”. This little inside voice that I am fighting will be saying things to me like, “you’re creating
    a scene, stop being a drama queen, don’t stim in public, stop being a cry baby, harden up and so much more. This inside voice while I try to fight this and everything else that’s going on around me can be deliberating and exhausting and then I myself or others may be able to agree with me while all this is going on then I automatically will go into a shutdown phase or even suppress our feelings and emotions towards other people. Again, I mentioned all about this
    in one of my videos which I will link the playlist above me and in description box below me.
    When we’re doing all of this to ourselves we then opress and then refusal of help of our accommodation needs and/or services we require whatever the reason and due to the internal voice of reason.

Question to ask yourselves is this: Can any of you who are watching this today relate to any of these at all? What are your thoughts on this and what do you wish to share to others about it all?

What do I want to do for myself and aims and goals about all this ableism?

  1. My HOPE is for inclusion and again acceptance of others differences no matter who and what we are and no matter what we got as a diagnoses.
  2. Being able to continue my advocacy to myself and others and learn to not tear myself down and admitting that I need help and not doing the opposite that in turn will ruin or affect my health and well-being.
  3. Being open, real and honest with you all about myself as a person beyond the diagnoses.
  4. Changing my script and thinking patterns as shared earlier in the piece. Include some mantras and some positive thinking and/or talking in my day to day life . Say something like for example when or during or even after my meltdown is over. Try telling myself as a reminder: Yes, I’m an autistic. I had a meltdown. This happened due to X, why did it happen?, how did it happen? etc. This happened due to X and I can’t control it. Is it time to let it go? If yes, let it go and breathe
    and count to ten. Look at all things that I have done today. I have achieved this in such a little time.
  5. Focus on my strengths not my weaknesses yet work on the weaknesses again to make a better version of myself.
  6. Accepting myself and my support and accommodation needs. Owning what I can and can’t do and learn to love myself more.

VIDEOS AND PLAYLIST THAT WAS MENTIONED IN THE VIDEO:

(7:18) All About Ableism/WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW (Part 2) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6Gle…
(6:22) All About Internalised Ableism/ [What You Need To Know] Part 6 Series 1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6Gle…
( 5:15 ) Anxiety Disorders – Help Central https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list…
(5:56) Self Identity & Self Esteem in Autistic Children, Teens, & Adults/How YOU CAN Help https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zw5ta…
(4:30) Friendships & Socialisation Help Central https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list… Socialization/How do I prepare myself for social situations? {2018] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtaKR…
( 4:03 ) Shapeshifting in female Aspies how & why they do this? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PY4Kt…
( 4:53 ) Aspergers Syndrome & Meltdowns/Sensory Overload/Tantrums & more. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list…
(4:54) What an Autistic Shutdown feels like for me! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Naf9F… ( 2:40) Autistic Females And Masking [2018] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRgs7…
(10:18) An Autistic Perspective of Autism & Executive Function along with EF Hacks [2019] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pgka-…
(15:43) Stimming Help Central Playlist https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list…
(13:54) To Tell or NOT To Tell https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ieTe…