A new video from the National Autistic Society (NAS) aims to represent what an ordinary day can feel like for people on the autism spectrum.
The video follows a 12-year-old autistic girl named Holly as she rides the bus and walks through her home city. Each interaction she has — with the bus driver, a peer, a woman walking her dog, a man on a motorcycle, and more — sticks in her head, until there's too much information for Holly to process.
She says at the end of the video, "I’m autistic. And sometimes I get too much information."
The YouTube description for the video continues, "It’s as if my brain is too crowded — and about to explode. But by taking a minute, you can give an autistic person like me the time they need."
This video is part of the NAS's Too Much Information campaign, which aims to challenge "the myths, misconceptions and stereotypes that mean that 79% of autistic people feel socially isolated," according to the NAS website.
It's already been helpful to Holly, who showed the video to her classmates during an assembly to help them understand what her days are like, and how they can help, according to The Drum.
"If just one person sees the film and is more understanding to autistic people, I’ll be happy,” Holly said, according to The Drum. “Sometimes I get really upset that people do not understand autism. But I hope this campaign will help improve understanding and make other people who are autistic feel more accepted."
The NAS's "Top Tips" page explains how you can help when an autistic person is feeling overwhelmed or is losing control.
"First things first — try not to judge," the page says. "Be patient, calmly ask if they're OK and give them some time and space to recover."
Even simple actions like giving people on the autism spectrum a heads up before plans change or giving them space or time to respond can make a difference, the NAS notes.