Autism Awareness Month – A guest post on how we should see the autism spectrum by Kaelynn Partlow

The Autism Spectrum
The Autism Spectrum

Let’s start autism awareness month off by talking about what “spectrum” means. Often, many people interpret it to be a linear spectrum with “high functioning” people being viewed as less autistic, and “low functioning” people as more autistic.

This widely held view doesn’t portray the actuality of the spectrum because autistics differ so greatly. When a person has good communication and social skills, but high sensory needs and exhibits frequent maladaptive behavior, they’ve automatically broken the linear spectrum. That is why we must view the spectrum as a color wheel instead.

Because autistic people differ so greatly from each other, their individual skills fall into different areas of the spectrum. That’s why you could meet someone with poor emotional regulation and communication skills and advanced self help skills.

Viewing the spectrum as a color wheel helps us to break down different areas where autistics have difficulty. It’s important to break these things down so that autistic people can receive the appropriate assistance where it’s needed, and that those around them can have a more complete understanding.