I’m sure you know at least one person who’s autistic, whether that person still uses the old labels like ADHD, ADD and Aspergers, or used the label autism like most specialists do, you know that person.
I suppose it was easier to many people when we still used the old labels. ADHD equals restless, ADD means no concentration, Aspergers means smart and awkward.
This is exactly why they changed the labels, because these stereotypical distinctions are wrong. Autism is so much more than being restless, or unable to concentrate or being hella smart and very awkward. Autism means your brain works differently. Things that come naturally to neurotypical people like the rules of social interaction – these usually don’t come naturally to us autistic folks.
But the worst thing about being autistic in a neurotypical world is how we’re expected to act just like everyone else. Don’t know how to have a conversation? Then learn how to! Can’t concentrate? Learn how to! People think you’re weird? Then start acting like a normal person!
If only it were that easy… I myself have spent years learning how nearotypical people do things – talking, facial expressions, showing emotions etc. And guess what – I still do it wrong most of the time.
“Why are you so quiet?” “You look so angry!” “You forgot to say bye.” “Why are you staring at me?” “You’re so weird.”
I hear some of these weekly and it does not motivate me to act more like neurotypical people. In fact, it makes me want to go all ‘screw this’ and live in my own world for the rest of my life.
The only reason why I socialize with people is because society made me think I had to. Same goes with many other things. I got my first boyfriend because I thought that was a social must. Now I know it’s far from that.
Obviously, being autistic isn’t all bad. I can think outside the box, because my brain works differently.
Some of my senses are stronger, I’m creative, I can be on my own for a long time without going mad… These are just things I have noticed. Other autistic peeps may experience things differently.
That’s the one thing neurotypical people need to learn – not all autistic people are the same. Seriously, stop labeling people as if they’re all the same. I’ve seen it happen with mental illnesses as well. We’re not the same and neither are our experiences.
So, remember that person you know who’s autistic? How accepting are you of that person? Because I’ve had autistic friends and my neurotypical friends would judge them a lot – even though they often couldn’t help their behavior. Does the person you know talk about themself a lot? Does it seem like that person doesn’t listen to you? Know that they’re trying. We don’t mean to sound self-centered or desinterested. Really, we’re all trying hard and if you silently judge us when we don’t do things the way you want us to, then that’s on you. Not on us.
I was diagnosed with Aspergers at 13, along with social anxiety. Sharing my diagnose wasn’t something I liked doing, because instead of being more understanding, people would judge me more. This blog post is mostly based on my experiences and may not match the experiences of other autistic people. Thanks for understanding.