Autistic regressions are a myth.

The word ‘regression’ gets thrown around Autistic community members when they are not behaving or performing in a socially expected way.

Someone on the outside will point to the Autistic person and say ‘There’s a loss in skill, must be a regression.’

What the outsider is pointing at is an Autistic person who…

o Reduced or stopped speaking

o Now appears unable to take care of personal hygiene

o Seems uninterested in social interaction

o Has increased sensory sensitivity

o Is experiencing meltdowns and shutdowns more often

Image of a woman sitting on the ground with her back against the back of the sofa. She is sat with her head hanging, face looks concerned and her hands to her chest. She is wearing an orange top and dark blue, long skirt.
Photo by Joice Kelly on Unsplash

In any other population, we would say…

‘I think my friend is having a hard time’

‘I’m going to take a meal over to help out’

But, for Autistics, the response by others is all too often the opposite.

The myth of regressions is perpetuated by professionals and has parents worried about what else their child will lose. Professionals then suggest to add in even more therapy hours and add in stricter controls around regulating devices like screens.

But what the Autistic person is experiencing is BURN OUT.

Therefore, added demands only further increase anxiety and fatigue.

What the Autistic person actually needs is downtime and time to recover.

This disconnect of support is one of the reasons why it is so critically important that more professionals like health care workers, school staff and CAMHS (Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services) receive training in what is Autistic burnout and how to give affirming care.

Viv Dawes, Autistic advocate and educator, has written a petition for this area of need and more signatures are needed.

Please find link to the petition below and consider signing if you are able.

Sign the Petition

Autistic Burnout is a reality for autistic people- children and adults. It is a physical, emotional and psychological…

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