Autism and other disabilities

Today, we mostly just call it autism.

People with other disabilities can also be autistic, and autistic people can have more than one disability. Sometimes, these other disabilities are part of being autistic, and other times, they aren’t part of being autistic. Autism is a developmental disability, and many people with developmental disabilities have more than one disability. That’s normal.

Here are some other disabilities autistic people sometimes have:

Learning disabilities (called “learning difficulties” in the United Kingdom):

  • Dyslexia
  • Dyspraxia
  • Dysgraphia
  • Dyscalculia
  • Nonverbal Learning Disability

Mental health disabilities:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • PTSD
  • Schizophrenia
  • Eating Disorders
  • OCD
  • Tourette’s Syndrome

Disabilities that affect your body:

  • Connective tissue disorders, like Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and Marfan syndrome
  • Sleep disorders, like insomnia or sleep apnea
  • Digestion disorders, like GERD and peptic ulcer disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Tuberous Sclerosis

Other developmental disabilities:

  • Intellectual disabilities (called “learning disabilities” in the United Kingdom)
  • ADHD
  • Rett’s Syndrome
  • Angelman’s Syndrome
  • Down Syndrome
  • Cerebral Palsy

Some disabilities happen more in autistic people. Sometimes, people say that means autism is a bad thing, but that doesn’t make sense.
Think of it like this:

People with red hair sunburn more easily. Sunburns hurt and can cause skin cancer, but we don’t say that red hair is bad. We don’t try to cure red hair, or tell people with red hair to dye their hair. That wouldn’t help with their sunburns. Instead, we make sure people wear sunblock.

It’s the same with autism. Autistic people should get more support for all of our disabilities. We don’t need people to try and fix us!