10 Things an Autistic Adult Wishes You Knew

1. I am autistic, not just an adult with autism. It is part of who I am. Autism is a […]

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1. I am autistic, not just an adult with autism. It is part of who I am.

Autism is a part of who I am. I was born this way. I would not choose to change that. Acknowledging my autism as a part of me is entirely compatible with respecting me as a person with thoughts, feelings, and talents. I am a human being like everyone else and deserve the same dignity and respect that any one else deserves. Please consider whatever term I prefer and do not use language that suggests I suffer from an unfortunate disease.

2. Autism is a neurological variation, not a disease, or mental illness. Autism often includes differences in social behavior and practical skills.

My behaviors and learning styles might vary. My perceptions may differ. I may learn and understand things in way that’s different and process the world in a different way. Please do not judge me or other autistics for our differences.

3. Who I am and what I am capable of is not defined by medical diagnosing criteria. I am born with my own set of abilities and difficulties, autism included.

Those who use it to tell me who I am and what I can do are using it as a stereotype. Please do not make generalizations and assumptions about me or other autistics.

4. I am not going to be cured.

Nothing will change me, and if it could, it would destroy who I am completely and would leave me worse off. I have the right to refuse questionable or risky treatments. My life is my own, I do not want to be cured and I think the idea of curing me and other autistics is wrong. Please respect my individuality and do not try to fix me, because I am not broken.

5. I may be your adult child, but my life is own.

Parents do not have the right to choose questionable or risky treatments without my consent. I have my own mind. I can think for myself. I know what I want and don’t want.

6. Focus on the positives of my, and others autism, I am living my life as best as I can, I want to make the most of it every day.

Talking negatively about autistics and focusing on our weaknesses all the time causes me and other autistics emotional distress. Please do not use language that suggests that being autistic is bad.

7. I am a logical thinker, that is one of my strengths.

It can make me take words literally, or misunderstand jokes. Also I may be misunderstood equally by others, if you do not understand my own logical style. I do have my own sense of humor that is unique to me, it’s a stereotype that autistics have no humor.

8. Socializing is not always easy, if I don’t want to join in, that is my choice, and I will avoid a situation if I am uncomfortable with it.

I am not trying to be ‘rude’ or impolite. It is simply better for me to participate socially when I choose, rather than feeling forced.

9. I do have emotions, au-tistics are not emotionless like some stereotypes suggest. However, I may express them in a different way.

What may make someone else cry, can be different for me, it doesn’t mean that I don’t care, or am an uncaring person. My facial expressions might not always reflect my emotions.

10. If you have an autistic adult in your family, try to find out information about autism.

Many articles in the media only concern children; try and find out the differences in an autistic adult. Some autistics do get married, have jobs, leave home, some don’t; we are all unique. Please do not use language that suggests that being autistic makes a person violent.

This list was written by adults on the autistic spectrum in order to educate people on the views and opinions of autistics. Reprinted from http://aspiesforfreedom.com/wiki/

Autism Resources

Autism: Getting the Truth Out — Created by Kim, an autistic woman, this site “was designed to to show how images and descriptions of autistic people serve the needs of the people who are providing them.” www.gettingthetruthout.org/

Autism Society of MN; Chapter of the Autism Society of America, “The Voice of Autism” — ASM ” exists to enhance the lives of individuals with autism spectrum disorders. ASM seeks to realize its mission through education support, collaboration, and advocacy.” www.ausm.org/

Autism Speaks — “Dedicated to funding global biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatments, and cure for autism; to raising public awareness about autism and its effects on individuals, families, and society; and to bringing hope to all who deal with the hardships of this disorder. www.autismspeaks.org/

Autism Spectrum Disorders, National Institutes of Mental Health — NIMH is one of 27 components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Federal government’s principal biomedical and behavioral research agency. NIH is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/autism/detail_autism.htm 

Autistics.org; The Real Voice of Autism –The Real Voice of Autism. The purpose of the autistics.org project is to connect autistic people with the services we need to live whole and happy lives. The immediate goal of autistics.org is to build a global database of information and resources by and for persons on the autistic spectrum. http://autistics.org/

Minnesota Autism Project — A statewide training and technical assistance project for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), funded by the Minnesota Department of Education, Division of Special Education. The Minnesota Autism Project provides support and expertise to help meet the unique and special needs of students with Autism Spectrum Disorders. www.ecsu.k12.mn.us/mnautismproject.html

The National Autism Association — Mission is to “educate society that autism is not a lifelong incurable genetic disorder but one that is biomedically definable and treatable. We will raise public and professional awareness of environmental toxins as causative factors in neurological damage that often results in an autism or related diagnosis.” http://www.nationalautismassociation.org/

Neurodiversity.com — A site or ganized by a Web developer and librarian who seeks “to help reduce the suffering of autistic children and adults, who often face extra or dinary challenges in many domains of life, challenges made more difficult by others’ unrealistic expectations and demands, negative judgments, harassment and economic marginalization.”

A Way of Life; Joel Smith’s Web site about Autism and Advocacy — Joel Smith’s Web site about Autism and Advocacy www.geocities.com/growingjoel/index.html

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