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Wednesday, 27 January 2016

What is Mild Autism?

(article from

a person with "mild autism" may have advanced communication skills and academic abilities, but have very delayed social skills, severe sensory issues, and/or extreme difficulties with organizational skills. As a result, the individual with "mild" autism may find public school or work settingsmore challenging than an individual with greater language challenges but fewer sensory or social problems.

As an example, imagine a very academically bright, linguistically advanced individual who can't stop himself from blurting out answers in the classroom, and falls apart at the sound of a vacuum cleaner or the light of a fluorescent bulb. Compare such a person to an individual who has significant problems with academics but has few issues with sound or light, and has no problem following rules. Which individual has "milder" symptoms? The answer, of course, is that it depends upon the setting and the situation.

People who are "mildly" autistic are generally considered to be Level 1, meaning they need relatively little support to live a normal life. 

But of course that's misleading, because many people with "mild" autism may need a great deal of support depending upon the situation.  For example, a person with "mild" autism may have great verbal skills but have no ability to read another person's body language or emotions.  As a result, plenty of people with "mild" autism get themselves into trouble with the opposite gender, with work or classmates, or even with the police.

Bottom line, the term "mild autism" is not especially useful, though it is fairly common. To really make sense of its significance, you'll need to ask direct, specific questions about verbal, social, sensory and behavioral challenges.

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