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  • Writer's pictureMarissa Donatelli

Challenges of Autism

Autism, also known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a developmental disorder that has affected 2.4 million people as of 2015. Autism can affect different individuals in various and divergent ways. This disorder is lifelong and can cause many challenges to the person affected by it, including amongst their friends and family.

A common challenge faced by the autistic community is sensory issues. When autistic individuals are exposed to loud noises, crowds, bright lights, strong tastes or smells, and being touched by others, they can feel overwhelmed and uncomfortable. Autistic people are more prone to lose control when they are being hugged, or when they are in boisterous, crowded places like shopping malls and movie theatres.

Another challenge that transpires with ASD is social cluelessness. This means that autistic people have a difficult time interacting with other people. For example, they do not know how to speak to people properly, how to greet them politely, how to regulate the tone of their voice, and how to recognize speaking cues during a conversation. Due to this, autistic individuals have a harder time making friends and obtaining careers.

Anxiety and depression are other huge difficulties of having autism. People with high functioning autism are among the overall population of people who suffer from these mental illnesses. The cause of anxiety and depression in autistic individuals is possibly due to frustration and rejection, stemming from difficulty conforming in social situations.

Lack of executive planning skills is another common challenge to those with ASD. Executive planning skills are the abilities that people use to prepare and organize. For instance, these skills would be needed for making schedules, planning events, and following a timeline for projects. Some high functioning autistic individuals will be able to use these skills; however, many people on the spectrum are not capable of this sort of complex reasoning and do not possess the time management that is required for tasks like preparing schedules and following set timelines.

The next challenge of having autism is emotional dysregulation, which causes autistic people to overreact in certain situations. This happens because autistic individuals have a hard time maintaining their emotions, and when they transition from certain activities, it can conflict with their emotional state. Examples include a change of plans or if their routine is thrown off.

Another very prevalent obstacle in the autistic community is verbal communication. Autistic people struggle with the ability to communicate with language. Although they have no trouble understanding the significance of singular words that are spoken to them, they struggle to understand language in the way it should be taken. Because of this limited ability to only understand words literally, autistic individuals may not be able to comprehend sarcasm, idioms and metaphors.

Overall, the challenges of ASD can be very stressful for autistic individuals as well as their families, teachers, friends, and others who must learn to make changes in the way they interact with people in order to appropriately interact with an autistic individual. There are many means of making life easier for autistic individuals, including speech-language therapy, social skills training, and other types of therapy. For families and caretakers, there are several support groups that can aid in suggestions and offer a helping hand. Although ASD has its challenges, they can be managed with proper treatment, care, and support systems.

Works Cited

“Strategies and Interventions.” National Autistic Society, 20 Aug. 2020,

Rudy, Lisa Jo. “Why It Can Be Hard to Live With High-Functioning Autism.” Verywell Health, About, Inc. (Dotdash), 10 Jan. 2021,

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