Hey there, it’s been a while since I posted a blog so I feel it’s time. For those of you that don’t know, my name is Jessica and I have autism. I’m going to get into 10 things you shouldn’t say to someone with autism. I think if blog is very important because it’ll leave my family and friends a little more educated and more prepared to be around me. I know sometimes people say things without thinking and don’t necessarily know how rude it sounds to us. So here we go….
1. You don’t look autistic!
This has to be the most annoying thing you can say to someone with autism. You just simply can not look at someone and figure out that they have autism. Autism DOES NOT have a look!
2. Everyone is a little autistic!
WRONG!!! Not everyone is a little autistic. Yes, everyone has their own struggles. But telling someone with autism that everyone is a little autistic is rude because it seems like you’re undermining our struggles and chalking it up to something everyone struggles with. You have no idea what struggles we go through unless you have autism yourself.
3. You’re just doing that for attention!
We don’t do anything for attention. Our daily struggles are very much real and unfortunately it’s something you just won’t understand unless you were us.
4. You don’t care about anyone but yourself!
I know it may seem like we lack compassion but that’s far from true. We just don’t get social cues and have a hard time interpreting body language. Therefore, if we don’t have a normal response, it’s because we were not able to process it. The information didn’t come to us in a way we can fully process so it then seems like we don’t care. But the truth is, autistic people feel everything. We feel every emotion deeply and intensely. It’s just a matter of how the information gets processed and perceived in our brains.
5. You’ll grow out of autism!
NO, you won’t grow out of autism. Autism grows with you. I was diagnosed when I was 11 and I’m 24 now and it seems like it’s gotten worse for me over the years. I’m not an adult with autism. Although it doesn’t define me, I have it and it’s not going anywhere.
6. You’re lazy!
We aren’t lazy! It just takes us a while to process something and get our brains set to do it. It’s especially hard when our brains are already set on something else. It becomes hard to sway us from that one thing we were focused on. Most people with autism can’t multitask. I can focus on just one thing as long as I’m able to block everything else out. If I can’t, then I tend to shut down and not want to do anything.
7. I know someone with autism and you’re nothing like them. I don’t think you have autism.
There’s a saying that says “if you met one person with autism, you’ve only may ONE person with autism”. No two autistic people are exactly the same. What you see in me, you may not see in someone else and vice versa.
8. Stop stimming so much in public. It’s embarrassing!
People with autism stim to keep themselves leveled out. It’s an effort to counteract whatever sensory input is disturbing us at the moment. It helps prevent a meltdown! Telling us to stop stimming is like telling a baby to stop crying. It’s not happening!
9. You’re high functioning so it’s not that bad!
Just because I’m high functioning, that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle on a daily basis. High functioning only means my IQ is at least average or it’s above average. But it has nothing to do with his easy my autism is because one thing you will never understand is it’s not easy for me at all. I still struggle with sensory integration and sensory overload. I still have meltdowns. I struggle to maintain friendships and I struggle to regulate my own emotions. Yes, I’m verbal, but that doesn’t make it easier. I’m just more self aware of my struggles and how different I am and that’s what makes it worse.
10. Is there medicine for that?
First off, you should be asking a professional that question. Second, asking someone with autism if there’s medicine for it only implies that you’re not accepting of us. We don’t need a cure or a fix. We want to be accepted and loved for who we are. We don’t need to adapt to this world. The world needs to adapt to us.
Well, that is all I wanted to say and I hope you all got something out of this blog. And if you’re my friend or family, please keep this as a reference so you don’t cause me any unnecessary heartache by saying something without thinking. Please be sensitive to my struggles and be more accepting of me. Next blog, I’ll touch base on autism and friendships so stay tuned. If you read this far, thank you so much for taking your time to read this and it means a lot to me that you’re trying to understand me and other people with autism better.