All right. Welcome to the second part of our training series on Considerations of the autistic mind.
So as you may have learned in the previous video, people with autism and ADHD often have a reduced amygdala function, which can make it difficult for them to regulate emotions, process social cues, and ultimately express feelings in the same way that most neurotypical do.
But there’s a really important additional consideration: the linguistic centers in the brain.
So often we’re expecting these autistic or ADHD people to express themselves with words. But these linguistic centers are responsible for processing and interpreting language, both written and spoken. These centers allow us to understand and communicate with others through language, which is a fundamental aspect of human connection.
But for a lot of people with autism and ADHD, these centers may not function in the same way as they do for neurotypical.
Research has shown that people with autism have impairments in their ability to interpret the communicative intentions of others. So what it is that others are saying, what it is that others are meaning, because of these language centers, this means that they may struggle with understanding what others are trying to say or may have difficulty finding the right words to even express themselves.
Now, these differences are further exacerbated by the reduced amygdala function. So imagine being frustrated and overloaded and literally not being able to perform or remember the words.
The amygdala is a part of the brain that plays a role in regulating emotions and processing social cues. And when that’s not functioning, it can be more difficult for somebody with autism or ADHD to regulate their emotions and understand the emotions of others.
This can lead to someone with these conditions feeling irritable, quick to anger, or needing to discharge all of the time because the social interactions require this very manual processing. What does this word mean? What does this interaction mean? This is why you get hyper fixation on what happened, right? Until it makes sense. And often, it’s left up to them to make it make sense.
So if you know it’s somebody with autism or ADHD who has these responses, that quick to anger, irritability, need to discharge or explode, there are a few simple tactics that you can use to support them.
What we want to do is provide a calm and structured environment to reduce the amount of stimulation and make it easier for them to process and regulate their emotions. It’ll stimulate the amygdala less, and they’ll be able to function better.
We want to use clear, simple, and succinct language when communicated. We want to be certain. We want to avoid figurative language or sarcasm, as these can be confusing with somebody that has this reduced language center. They can figure it out, sure, but it takes a lot more energy.
With that in mind, we want to also give them time to process and respond. People with autism or ADHD may need extra time to process information and formulate a response. We want to be patient and allow them the time that they need with this.
All in mind, you may have heard of Spoon Theory, which is a concept that helps explain how people with chronic illnesses or disabilities may have a limited amount of energy or spoons to devote to tasks and activities. This concept can be applied to people with autism or ADHD, who may have a limited capacity for processing and responding to social interactions.
So if you don’t know about Spoon Theory, look it up, Google it. I do have a lesson on advanced Spoon Theory in my Facebook group. But it’s important to remember that none of this means that people with autism or ADHD aren’t intelligent or capable of communicating. It just means that they need some extra support, some extra accommodations, and it means that they function differently when it comes to expressing themselves. So it may take some time.
I really hope that with these videos, you’re learning something about autism. Remember to be kind and understanding towards those with these differences, both autistics and ADHDs, because we all have something unique to offer. And most of the time, the way that the mind has compensated for these inefficiencies create the genius that is often talked about. If we don’t acknowledge these things, however, we’re gonna have a situation where the expectation and the reality are completely different, and we’re gonna be disappointed.