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Knowledge on Autisme

Autism is a congenial disorder of the brain that remains throughout a person’s lifetime and affects all other areas. Autistic people have a different way of processing information transmitted through the senses (stimulations). In addition, many autistic people are oversensitive or under-sensitive to certain stimulations (e.g., noise, pain). They mostly observe details and have difficulties in combining these into a whole. It is as if they have loose puzzle pieces in their head without seeing the complete picture. They find it difficult to understand what another person is feeling and to tell what they themselves feel or think. They do things differently than others.

It is precisely the ‘normal’ things that are not self-evident among autistic people. They do not know exactly how to react to other people or to a daily occurrence, regardless of their intelligence. The world is unpredictable, chaotic and threatening to an autistic person and that can led to behavioural problems. The behaviour of an autistic person can differ from person to person and from situation to situation. An autistic person can be different in a familiar setting at home than in school, work or in a shop.

Main characteristics 

  • Autistic people have difficulties relating to others
  • Autistic people have problems with communication
  • Autistic people have difficulties processing things and conceptualising
  • Autistic people do not like changes and have conspicuously limited interests

Autism and visual impairment

  • In the case of visual impairment and autism, we have to deal with a problem in processing information coupled with lack of information. If the missing visual information is clarified verbally, it is often difficult for an autistic person to process it because it is too challenging. Support your words as much as possible with concrete materials (e.g., a coin as a reference to shopping).
  • A person with autism and visual impairment does not understand that a comment or question is intended for him or her; therefore, always mention first his/her name.
  • To increase clarity and predictability, it is sensible to teach the activities in a definite and fixed order and not to deviate from that order during implementation. A step-by-step plan is helpful in these situations. This also applies to daily routines related to getting up, getting dressed, meals, etc.
  • A visually disabled autistic person hardly understands body language and mimic.
  • We often observe a tactile defence. For example, someone might not like being touched or cannot tolerate certain materials on his or her body and therefore refuses to wear certain clothes. Even water can cause ‘pain’ to the skin.
  • The person seems to not hear well; does not react to noises. (“Lives in a world of his/her own”).

Autism with visual and mental disability

  • A person with autism and mental and visual disability faces many conflicting factors that prevent information from being properly absorbed. Compensation resulting from a visual disability taxes the intelligence. To understand what is happening in one’s environment demands a great deal from one’s memory, conceptual ability and language skills. Making addition intellectual efforts however is not possible because of the client’s mental disability. Furthermore, an mentally impaired person will try to get more out of his or her vision while in this case, the vision is lacking or impaired.
  • A person with visual and mental disability and autism had difficulties with socialising. From the perspective of visual impairment he or she cannot assess what is happening in the environment. This is further reinforced by autism: he or she does not perceive what is expected of him or her and what the other person wants. As a result of mental impairment, he or she cannot rely on memory for earlier experiences or understandings.
  • Hands are extremely vital for someone with autism and an mental and visual disability. Hands can be oversensitive. Never grab someone abruptly by the hands in order to lead him or her somewhere. Better lead him or her by the shoulders or arms. Also do not give an object unexpectedly to such a client. First tap on top of the hand before placing an object in the hand.
  • Such people often ask many questions and usually repeatedly because they cannot see what is happening. They also do not remember how things occur, or they want to check whether things are being done as promised, which is why they constantly query about it. It is no use to remind them that they are being repetitive. It is better to simply give them an answer. This makes them feel secure.
  • A person with these disabilities is barely able to indicate where and when he or she needs which kind of assistance. At times, they give contradictory signals. They also have difficulties expressing their physical condition. Signals of emotional nature are often indications to physical discomforts.

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Visio welcomes anyone with questions about being partially sighted or blind. Visio provides information and advice as well as different services related to research, counselling, rehabilitation, education and living.