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Understanding Anxiety Part 3: 'People need to DO Better' Anxiety

Updated: Jun 30

(This post is Part 3 of a series on Understanding Autism & Anxiety)

Each type of brain has its own strengths and weaknesses. See a video from Spectrum Gaming members summing this up here:

BUT, the world is made for non autistic people, so we do not have a level playing field (even if we are treated the same as others).


Often as autistic people we have differences that are treated as wrong or broken when in fact, they are just different. 

To reduce 'DO better' anxiety people need to make changes that meet our needs.

One additional important thing to know is that these changes must be done by law:


Under the Equality Act 2010, people have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that disabled people are not placed at a substantial disadvantage and can participate in all aspects of life.


One difficulty here is that unfortunately, people don’t always embrace difference. Even though adaptations are important (and are similar to having a ramp or a lift for a wheelchair user, rather than expecting them to be able to take the stairs), lack of understanding means you can be faced with judgement if you have supports or adjustments that are different to others.


There is a way around this though, by making wider changes so that the environment works for everyone in a way that means people don’t need to be treated differently. This is the premise of inclusion.

What does this mean in practice?

  • If a young person needs a fidget toy, can every young person have access to one?

  • If a young person needs noise cancelling headphones, is this ok and accepted?

  • If a young person needs to be able to move around rather than sitting still, are they able to do this?

Rather than having to give eye contact and sit still, can young people listen in a way that works for them? See this free whole body listening resource.

Remember: If anxiety is irrational (your brain tells you something is threatening when it isn’t), for example a phobia, you need environmental adaptations put into place before challenging the anxiety, because if your anxiety is too high, small steps will feel much bigger.

If anxiety a young person experiences is not irrational and is a result of threats or unmet needs, making these changes could be enough for anxiety to no longer be a barrier.


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