What people with autism want you to know

On paper, these efforts sound wonderful. If there had been more widespread awareness of what autism truly can be as well as who can be on the spectrum when I was growing up from the ’80s as well as ’90s, I probably might not have spent 27 years trying to figure out what was “wrong” with me before finally receiving my diagnosis. I might even have been able to receive the kind of support as well as accommodations in which could have helped me develop healthier coping mechanisms for managing my social, sensory, as well as processing concerns than the ones I came up with on my own when I was flailing from the dark for all of those years.

Not all of the awareness in which comes with This kind of month’s campaigns genuinely helps autistic people, though. Well-meaning however hurtful “awareness”-raising stunts, mostly staged by people who aren’t autistic, rarely bring much attention to the actual concerns as well as needs of our community. Fundraising as well as publicity for organizations in which are usually run by people who aren’t autistic as well as like to portray us as tragic, family-ruining burdens dehumanize us as well as perpetuate the idea in which autism can be something in which must be eradicated, not something in which should be supported as well as accepted.

This kind of can be why many autistic people have come to dread April — as well as why we’d like to see an Autism Acceptance Month instead. in which said, true acceptance still requires a degree of awareness about who autistic people truly are as well as what we want coming from non-autistic — or, as we call you, “allistic” — society. So, in in which spirit, here’s a few of the things in which we’d truly like you to be aware of This kind of month — as well as every month going forward.

Some autism awareness campaigns want you to “Light the item Up Blue” because they say in which autism disproportionately affects boys, however the fact in which white heterosexual cisgender boys are more likely to be diagnosed with autism doesn’t mean in which they’re more likely to be autistic. There are autistic people of every colour, creed, as well as class. Recent studies suggest in which we might be more likely to be transgender than the allistic population.
The stereotype in which autism can be primarily a white male thing negatively affects everything coming from the way the rest of us are treated in society to what kind of care we receive to the age at which we’re diagnosed — as well as whether we are able to receive a proper diagnosis at all. Which, in turn, perpetuates the idea in which autism can be for white boys.
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We don’t need to be cured

Being autistic in a world in which isn’t built for people like us comes with all sorts of pain as well as challenges, however why do so many people automatically assume in which the item’s the autism in which needs fixing? Many of us on the spectrum believe in which the money as well as energy in which’s funneled into searching for a cure might be better spent on acceptance, supports, as well as services to help autistic people with everything coming from personal care to employment issues.

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Surviving as well as thriving as our autistic selves can be far more appealing — not to mention more practical — than chasing a magic pill in which might fundamentally change who we are, forcing us into harmful treatments geared toward doing us look more “normal,” or pursuing prenatal testing in which could prevent the next generation of people like us coming from being born at all.
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Calling someone “high functioning” isn’t helpful

Every autistic person includes a unique combination of skills as well as needs as well as if you’re brand-new to autism, you might think in which the item’s beneficial to describe those differences in terms of how well we do or don’t “function.”

When I first started out writing about autism, I thought in which I had to describe myself in terms of function, because I had to acknowledge in which I faced fewer challenges than people with more severe issues. however a helpful fellow autistic called me out on my language as well as pointed out in which I was both unfairly dismissing as well as hurting different people on the spectrum as well as ignoring my own fluctuating needs with in which terminology.

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As noted autistic neurodiversity advocate Laura Tisoncik put the item: “The difference between high functioning autism as well as low functioning can be in which high functioning means your deficits are ignored, as well as low functioning means your assets are ignored.”

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“Terms such as ‘high-‘ or ‘low-functioning’ as well as ‘mental age’ may be convenient clinically, however they interfere with accurate perceptions of abilities as well as disabilities,” Shannon Des Roches Rosa, who has an autistic son, wrote last year. “I might prefer in which scientists choose terms in which focus on meeting the needs of autistic people, such as ‘low-‘ as well as ‘high-support,’ instead of those more judgmental words.”

We don’t lack empathy

There’s no scientific evidence in which proves This kind of hurtful stereotype. In fact, research suggests just the opposite. One theory even suggests in which some of us are dealing with an overabundance of empathy — feeling too much.

Autistic people can struggle to process as well as express empathy, however so do allistic people. in which’s very different coming from not being able to feel anything for our fellow human beings. The real empathy issue when the item comes to autism can be in which different people don’t always have a lot of the item for us.

Not all of us can talk, however we all have something to say

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Depending on your source, perhaps 20-30% of autistic people are estimated to be nonverbal. however talking can be only one way to communicate. Some of us type. Some of us use sign language as well as/or AAC (Augmentative as well as Alternative Communication). Even behavior can be a form of communication. So the problem isn’t in which autism can’t “speak,” the item’s in which the rest of you need to learn how to listen to us.

We work hard to be a part of your world. as well as we’re exhausted

coming from social interactions to managing sensory issues as well as everything in between, participating in an allistic world on allistic people’s terms requires constant vigilance as well as effort on our parts. Autistic writer as well as pastor Lamar Hardwick compares This kind of ongoing herculean task to starring in an elaborate theatrical production run by an unskilled crew:

“Every day I step onto the stage, the sound as well as lighting are so bad in which the item can be borderline obnoxious as well as at times just painful to listen to as well as look at. The lights are often too bright or too dim. The spotlight can be never from the right place, the house lighting can be terrible as well as all of in which impacts with my depth perception as well as facial recognition. Sometimes in which’s why I have trouble recognizing people I’ve already met. This kind of means in which I visually experience things quite differently than you do. the item’s actually a lot of work, as well as sometimes the item’s overwhelming, so I don’t just look tired, I am tired.”

If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism

Also, if you’ve read one article by an autistic person, you’ve read one article coming from one autistic perspective. For every person who agrees with This kind of list, there are far more who will have their own points they’d prefer to make. The only thing in which all autistic people have in common can be in which we’re all human beings who deserve to be treated like human beings.

So if you’re truly interested in knowing more about us as well as what we want you to know, learn coming from as many of us as possible. Understand in which while parents as well as experts might have valuable insights, their voices as well as expertise are no substitute for the lived experiences of autistic people. Check out the #ActuallyAutistic hashtag on Twitter. Support organizations run by actually autistic people like the Autistic Self Advocacy Network as well as the Autism Women’s Network. Seek out work as well as interviews by autistic people, especially autistic people of colour, queer autistic people as well as more multiply marginalized autistic people as well as open your mind to the spectrum of experiences, beliefs, as well as issues in which exist from the autism community.

What people with autism want you to know

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