Do we think beyond our autistic pupils and wonder if teaching staff or other professionals may be grown up autistic people? Sensory overload, social confusion and other differences don't go away, but many autistic adults spend a lot of time and energy trying to 'mask' their difficulties in busy, demanding environments. This anonymous account from an autistic professional explains why we should make more accommodations so that we can all work better together. Hope we can all think to ask "What can help?"
Here is their account:
Last week I attended a conference for professionals in education. It was an amazing event; inspiring, exciting and thought provoking. There was only one problem. I spent most the day in sensory overload.
If you looked at me sitting on the outskirts of the conference, not making eye contact, not joining conversation what assumptions would you make? That I don't want to be there? That I'm aloof? Unfriendly? What you don't see, what you don't understand is that I am in sensory over load, fighting to keep myself together and maintain some sort of integrity.