Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off your first 2 months of Unlimited Monthly. Start your subscription for just £35.99 £24.99. New subscribers only T&Cs apply

Find out more

What is it like to have autism?

Youngsters (actors) tell about their symptoms.
SPEAKER 1: What is autism, and what is it like to have autism? In the following videos, you will see how autism is very different with different people. What do we mean with difficulties in social communication and social interaction?
SPEAKER 2: Most of the time, I can make eye contact with you when you speak to me. That wasn’t always the case. Like a lot of other kids with autism, I might not have been looking, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t listening. Yay.
SPEAKER 1: And what do we mean when someone is showing specific repetitive behaviour? Take another good look. What do you see?
In the video, you saw the movement that children with autism make. Especially young children with autism show these behaviours. In older children and in adults, we see the specific interests more often.
So what’s the daily life like? These people will tell you about it. For example, when something unexpected happens, this is very difficult for people with autism. Also, sometimes they cannot stand noise or busy settings.
SPEAKER 3: I can hear and see a lot of things and sounds all at the same time, which sometimes makes it hard to focus on any one sound or thought. That’s why it may take a little more time to answer you when you ask me a question.
SPEAKER 4: Is it loud in here?
SPEAKER 3: [INAUDIBLE]. I also tend to take what people say literally. That means if you say take a seat, you might find one less chair in your classroom. If you say it’s raining cats and dogs, I might think, ooh, I’m getting a puppy. If you say fall is coming, I might plop to the ground.
If you say I’m so hungry I could eat a horse, I might get a little nauseous. If you say play music by ear, I might easily bang my head on a piano. And if you say keep your eyes peeled, that’s just gross. So if you’re very specific when you talk to me, everybody wins.

The following short fragments are about autism and the symptoms or characteristics of autism. They show how autism can be different for different kinds of people.

This article is from the free online

Young People and Mental Health

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now