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Main features concerning the collision of autistic characteristics with a non-autistic environment

Not all autistics may perceive all of the specific perceptions as represented. To archieve barrier-freeness for all autistic-kind it is however necessary to cover each aspect.

Autistics do not filter sensory stimuli, but perceive them more or less undistinguished and permanently have to decide with an active mental effort, which stimulus to put a special attention to. Therefore can f.e. the pleasant non-autistic mixture of sounds turn into a barrier for autistics to orientate themselves in an environment.

Each requirement to filter through sensory stimuli draws upon mental capacity, somehow being a veil which permanently has to be pervaded. Which stimulus and to which grade affects an individual autistic depends on his/her unique character. Like every other person as well, autistics are partly rather visually focused, partly rather acustically and partly otherwise as well.

The more single barriers are to be found in a situation, the more the overall barrier-ness. A considerable psychic effort is most likely, which oversteps easily, what non-autistics would voluntarily take upon themselves. Autistics however are used to permanently go to their limit, but that´s far from being psychically healthy. These permanent efforts result in syndroms, which can comply with the Burn-out. It can be a horrible experience to be exceedingly incriminated through situations, which apear to be taken for granted by other people. This can lead to a considerable self-esteem as a looser, to psychic traumas, whose reasons the non-autistic environment can´t even begin to fathom.

Who is forced to live in a world that isn´t shaped according to ones disposition, can develop considerable self-doubts. The insight that not oneself is the problem but the unfitting shaping of the environment seems farfetched as long as there doesn´t exist a contact to the autistic subculture.

Remarkably small people are obviously not able to reach the topmost rack in a supermarket without a ladder. The differece in reception of autistics nearly doesn´t show, particularly because most autistics have learned, through imitation of essentially alien behaviour patterns, to blend in. Therefore most people react very different than they do in the case of a small person. Support is not to be expected, because the problem doesn´t show. Who f.e. does the shopping for a obviously bodily healthy person that claims to be momentarily not able to do it? Wouldn´t it be wrong, maybe, to support a shyness instead of giving encouragement to do so themselves?

Attention: This listing is due to it´s structure fit to support pathologizing clichés. That´s due to the thematically set und doesn´t offer an explanation how to judge the described charcteristics absolutely.


Autistics who spend time in an environment shaped to just non-autistic needs often meet a lot of moving objects. In natural surroundings on the other hand there are rarely quick and interlinked movements. Gras and trees swaying gently in the wind, here and there a bird flies. Those movements mostly range in an acceptable limit for an autistic who´s not too nervously strained through other barriers of the daily life.

To react sensibly to movements in a natural context makes sense easily. The variaty of forms in nature has its manageable limits.

Quite different f.e. the traffic in urban streets in combination with flickering neon-advertisements and varied gaudy designs of cities. A single moving object in the field of view should be manageable for most autistics. But even frequently appearing, rapidly moving single objects can lead to a considerable strain. The more a szene with a lot of different partaking movements. Especially inappropriate are different directions- and speeds of movement. This alone allready can cause a complete breakdown of the reception because this stimuli can´t be worked out timerelatedly.


A lot of autistics seem to have no or strongly reduced abilities to three-dimensional vision. This has been changed f.e. to Donna Williams through individually adapted glasses, with which she claims to be able to receive her surroundings remarkably more vividly. Experience of the ESH has it, that this effect is rarely known even to circles of experts.

The three-dimensional view is important for the evaluation of distances and the size of objects. Both relate to one another. Who can´t estimate a distance very well, doesn´t know how far away an object is, and who doesn´t know that, can´t estimate its size.


Another effect to make the estimation of the size of an object incalculable is the feature of some autistics, to zoom in on details in their vicinity via a "tunnel vision" like through an object lens. That can as well unconsciously happen. It may seem therefore to some autistics as if f.e. a bus is considerably closer or far than it actually is. Who allready handled such a zoom, knows, that a view through the zoom can put completely out of focus what happens directly adjacent to oneself.

It´s anybody´s guess, that this in itself quite useful quality can get out of hand in a context of permanent excessive demands.


Some patterns like grids and grills or grooved moving stairs can set autistics temporarily out of order, if the look hits them. Amongst autistics it varies which and how much patterns trigger a susceptibility.

Hence it would be desirable to eleminate those compositions, especially if the opportunity arises, due to barrierfreeness off public areas.


Those can be perceived still stronger than by non-autistics.


For some autistics the brightness of daylight is overly glaring and wearing. Therefore some autistics are always wearing sunglasses. This like a lot of other things shouldn´t be tried to make an autistic to overcome out of a missionary understanding. Principally autistics should be encouraged to live their individual style, because more often than it appears to be the case with non-autistics there are well-founded reasons to it. Compare to breeze and "too warm clothes".

Autistics are often able to orientate in a quantity of light that is "dark" as far as non-autistics are concerned. It is out of place if non-autistics to impose their impression of "right" brightness upon autistics and hence have autistics to cope with a too intense glaring. Autistics are occasionally able to distinguish their surroundings while non-autistics find it impossible to see the hand in front of their face. This intensity may be just fine and comfortable for autistics.

Artificial light

Blinding light like spots on a car or traffic-lights are strong single-stimuli. A further problem is the too low chopping frequency of flourescent lamps, which will presumably be the only ones available in a few years.

Color filter and artefacts

Under stress or without at first detectable reason the visual reception of some autistics can assume a strong colour fault. That can lead to problems where signals are rendered unnoticable or writing on coloured ground becomes unreadable.

Artefacts as well can supply to the visual reception. Artefacts can f.e. be swimming lines or flying dots.


An over-average lot of autistics are synaesthetics. Means, that involuntarily associations are taking place, which tie different senses together. F.e. the smell of roses provokes a visual impression.

Synaestesia is proven to support a higher ability to memorize, because the memories get a better grip.

Change of the familiar view

The overall-impression of a location can change considerably for an autistic through for non-autistics marginal changes. F.e. problems with the orientation may appear just through a unaccustomed altitude of the sun with the resulting changes of the shadows.

Cut trees, mowed gras, all that can interfere with the orientation of autistics. It depends on the individual an the actual condition (the previous nervous impacts during the last months which are accounting for much), how strong the effects are.

Varieties in shapes and styles

The variety of natural shapes is as allready mentioned manageable. That´s different with industrial products. Permanently appear new, unknown shapes and designs, which at first can´t even be gripped. This increased compexity of the daily-life surroundings hampers the systematization of steric structures and the orientation, exhausts awareness for survey and grading. Subjectively this can as well be considered rather pleasant like listening to the radio while doing office-work for NA. The individual concentration diminishes verifiably, but that is lost most of the time to the people (due to wanting self-evaluation of all people).

A surrounding with a lot of rather unknown objects can confuse autistics. The orientation can be especially reduced in such a surrounding, because benchmarks are unknown or doesn´t fetch the attention. Such unknown objects can render known structures irrecognizable or hard to identify.

In a figurative sense this goes not only for the visual but for all other senses as well.

Civilizing sounds

Through non-autistics shaped locations emit generally a wide variety of sounds. Non-autistics describe their experience that sounds can provide a pleasure for them. Owing to their nature they rather shy away from an acoustic insolated laboratory. Most of them flee those rooms in a panic after a short while. It is understandable therefore, that the non-autistic majority install more or less unconciously a certain sound-hurly-burly in their locations as a background, a mark of identity and home. To autistics this may appear completely different as allready outlined in the introduction to this section.

Sound intensity

Autistics receive the surrounding stimuli not only unfiltered but as well more pronounced than non-autistics. Relating to sounds this means, that usual noise is received still louder. With language it leads to the impression of non-autistics that autistics speak too hushed, because non-autistics have a less developed hearing and it is uncomfortable to raise the voice. Everyone knows that from contacts with hearing-impaired people without hearing-aid.

Frequency range

Many autistics hear sound even in a range of frequency, that adult non-autistics generally don´t, f.e. some cries of bats, the device to scare away marten in parking cars or buzzing and crackling in electric conductions.

Therefore it may wrongly appear to non-autistics, as if individual autistics would suffer delusions, because they obviously react to something which can´t be detected by non-autistics. The cliché to be dependent is hence superbly confirmed. In a toy-shop there are devices to measure frequencies available, which can sort that out. Especially non-speaking autistics can suffer from this sounds, leading to grave selfmutilations after years of continuous electric buzzing in the walls.

Here an awareness should develop, that the odd reactions of autistics allways have a reason. If not this, than another. To deny it means in a lot of cases the denial of support and the thoughtless destruction of complex courses of life with horrid costs to be met by public funds to keep under lock and key the debris of once promising but unrecognized personalities. Autistics often are considered to be mentally disabled because they don´t react the way non-autistics are accustomed to from themselves.


According to the sounds it goes analogically for smells and flavours. Irregular appearing smells can be irritating. A lot of autistics detest perfumes on people or especially on themselves.


Autistics often have in daily life a rather vague reception of temperatures or just dismiss it due to the many stimuli they have to cope with allready. But curiously to fetch a cold is seldom the case. It may be helpful to provide a thermometer. Some autistics may sweat and freeze at the same time, maybe the impression of a vague reception of temperature is due to the fact, that single impressions of temperature aren´t put together like it is the case with non-autistics, but are perceived separated.

An autistic who is immerged in something may not feel it, if he f.e. pours boiling water on his hand, and receives ist mayby just rationally.

Differences in temperature f.e. after entering a building can irritate and furthermore temporalily distract autistics.


Airmovements affect the tactile sense. Some autistics are especially sensitive about this. Particularly soft airmovements like a gentle breeze can affect a heavy sensory strain, often more pronounced than a continuous, substancial airmovement. To dress oneself to cover most of the body may have its origins here. To refuse an autistics to do so, because in some seasons it seems to be "to warm", can mean to expose someone to a sensitive distress, because it generally doesn´t reflect on the outside and therefore isn´t detectable for non-autistics, but affects heavily to the soul and can result in serious traumata. Strong wind on the other hand can be a pleasant sensation for the same autistic, because it applies a similar pressure like a Squeeze-Machine and therefore provokes relaxation.


Many autistics react really sensitive to spontaneous touches of other people. In touched parts of the body the feeling of being numb and dead or burningly painful can remain for days after the contact. Owing to this unpleasant experience a lot of autistics don´t even like it, if people get too close without agreement. If possible a distance should be established that correspondes with the reach of the other person, because a lot of autistics allready feel threatened out of experience, the more because they can´t evaluate, when another person actually is going to touch them without agreement. Basicly thats a normal human reflex of protection, which is considered "unnormal" or "exaggerated" by non-autistics, just because it is not due to the mutually expected in a non-autistic majority. And this majority claims to be the better, the "healthy" part of society as opposed to the seemingly alien, and therefore doubtless to be right.

It should be conceded to autistics to leave the the seat to oneself unoccupied in public transport, especially when it becomes crowded. Because a stuffed public service vehicle is allready a strain due to the condensed stimuli.

Disgusting feel of surfaces

Some surfaces affects some autistics really repulsively and similar to visual K.O.-patterns, even spontaneous emetic. It is disadvantageous to outfit f.e. handles with such textures.

Uneven and irregular terrain

Like every other person an unstructured terrain requires more attention from autistics. In the woods that may not be a problem due to absent stimuli of non-autistic shaped surroundings. In a built-up area it can further diminish the ability to orientate.

Not included are regionally structured or with haptic signals outfitted flooring, which can rather sub-divide the space sensibly and hence provide a disburdening effect.

Even smooth but slightly angled terrain can irritate autistics considerably due to the equilibrium sense.

Fellow men as possible threats

Especially fellow men can due to their autonomous acting appear threatening to an autistic. Their actions are often not predictable, the empathy of non-autistics for autistics owing to their different nature of experience is often alarmingly low developed. Will a person start a conversation which meaning is lost? Will be owing to the lacking mimic guess that the autistic isn´t well and therefore even more enquire or try to lighten things up? "Good intentions" often are the exact opposite of "good", every autistic knows that too well. Not a good fundament for meetings with other people on public ground.


Its attested to autistics to appreciate ritualizations. This isn´t true so across-the-board, but before an autistic confronts oneself with the daily hell of stimuli, all has to be in order as much as possible. To act flexibly under the considerable strain of stimuli beyond the known, secure and controllable retreating room of sorts is hardly managable, because no-one is able to think reasonably under such a heavy strain, which confronts autistics generally in daily life. Therefore it is really important for autistics to come across a relieable order in all aspects of life that are affected by the strain of stimuli. The purpose of this order is to prevent by all means to have to think in this situations.


An autistic under strain to whom is put a question in an inscrutable way, be it formally or contextually, may need a while to answer. This goes accordingly for every other reactions as well. Who has more to cope with has even more to sort out. Impatience displayed in gestures, enquiries, etc. add to the difficulties of autistics furthermore. A body language that suggests to NA obliviousness should by no means be misinterpreted to be an unwillingness to answer.

Unsettled issues

Very irksome for autistics are delayed procedures where the outcome is as jet unclear. That can especially mean dealings with public agencies or ongoing judicial proceedings over a great many of months. Autistics handle such proceedings mainly serially, are therefore eager to sort cases out quickly to turn their attention to other things afterwards. Simultaneous unsettled requests can put a heavy strain on autistics and result in incapability of action because the open issues can´t be forgotten, unless the autistic has been taken so far that nothing matters to him/her anymore anyway.

Barrier-freeness gets an important impact here, because generally nowadays the answer to those difficulties is to get the affairs of an autistic done by a non-autistic. But he thinks in completely different ways and can´t be as competent as the autistic, and that´s a tough burden for the latter. Non-autistics are furthermore, from an autistic point of view, wayward and don´t understand a lot of wishes. The upcoming costs goes at the expense of the community, which wouldn´t be necessary, if the order of proceedings were designed especially barrier-free for autistics, means a acknowlegdement of high priority and announcements of delay owing to inevitable enquiries including a note when to expect the answer. It should seriously be taken care of to put these requirements into action through the referee, that it is understood how important this priority is for autistics to take an autonomous part in the society. It just can´t be, that citizens, who are well able to sort out their own affairs, are hindered via such barriers to do just that, only due to unconquerable general conditions. It also just can´t be, that autistics renounce a right and refuse the sanction of injustice inflicted upon them, just because the barriers are too unsurmountable to cope with.


Here (extern) is a shorter and more recent text with similar aim to be found, which may add and can be critically prized.