To mark World Autism Acceptance Week 2023, one of MacIntyre’s Autistic employees shares how their Autism affects them, and what approaches support them best.
How does your Autism affect you?
I often find it very difficult to understand the tone of a person’s voice or to understand their facial expressions. This means that I have a hard time gauging how people feel, which leads to a lot of anxiety about how to act in social situations.
It also makes me worry about how the people around me are doing emotionally, as I often misread people’s tone and facial expressions as sadness or anger.
My Autism can sometimes mean I take longer to complete tasks than neurotypical people. I am able to fully understand and complete the task, but I have to think about it and process it more than a neurotypical person might. This can cause me a lot of anxiety as I do my best to keep up with my peers.
I often find it hard to respond with my emotions outwardly. In many situations I struggle to show happiness, sadness and other emotions in the ways that neurotypical people seem to expect. This can make me seem emotionless or even rude to people at times. I worry about this perception and try to avoid it.
I also find it extremely hard to explain my worries, anxieties and emotions. It takes me a long time to articulate properly how I feel, and why I feel that way. Inside my head, I understand, but I find it very hard to put it into words and phrases that other people comprehend.
What approaches from other do you find helpful?
It’s so good when people are being patient and understand that how I am is not something I choose.
It’s helpful to be given the time and space I need to do things.
Colleagues can also help by understanding that my emotions don’t always come through in “normal” ways but that they are still there.