1. Just because we’re autistic doesn’t mean we want special treatment, it just means that we miss some social queues and can be a bit slow to pick up the mood of a room. For example my autism manifests in an inability to tell emotions, I either think people are being aggressive or joking unless I know explicitly the attitude they are giving. Friends are easy because I get to know them and I can tell their tone 90% of the time, but people I’ve met for the first time, I’ll either make good friends with them because I think they’re joking or I’ll get in an argument with them because I think they’re being aggressive.
2. Family and friends of people on the spectrum: schedules are important. We are more than happy to attend your thing, spend time with you, help you do the thing, etc. But you have to give us a few days advance warning. Odds are, on the day of, we will have our entire day planned out in our head, and suddenly dropping any large time-consuming event into the middle of those plans can cause a system crash. Also, parents? If stops must be made on the way home from… anywhere, a little head’s up would be greatly appreciated.
3. Eye contact physically hurts me. Also, I can tell you that there is this phenomenon known as “masking” or disguising the symptoms that come with autism. Girls are especially prone to this. For that reason I have been denied resources.
Also, we are easier to take sexual advantage of because of reduced ability to interpret social cues. I nearly had that experience and am now in therapy to cope with the situation. I believe that the only reason that it was nearly rather than actually is that I enjoy reading about crime and relationship dynamics.
4. Everything about autistic people not having empathy is bull.
We do. There’s a specific semantic difference between what most people think of when they think of empathy and what psychological professionals mean when they say it, and I can’t remember what exactly the exact phrasing is and I’m not sure they’re right anyway, but yeah. We do have empathy. We’re not some kind of movie sociopath. In fact, most movies or TV shows that have autistic characters do very much wrong by them.
5. Stop telling me I’m a pussy because I get stressed when there’s a bright light or a loud noise, or I say ‘ow’ when you poke me too hard. I’m not a pussy. My senses are way more sensitive and things like this cause me genuine discomfort and pain. Shining a bright light at me feels like you jabbed a needle into my eye, even if its an iPhone flashlight.
6. If you’re into us romantically, tell us. If you think we might be into you romantically, ask us if it matters to you whether we are – sometimes we accidentally give inaccurate signals and we easily miss your signals
7. Usually when we’re doing a thing (fiddling with our phone case, tapping our foot, etc.), we’re becoming a little overwhelmed or are not here (lost in our head).
8. A lot of us (me included) don’t always understand sarcasm. Please don’t act like I’m a massive moron if a sarcastic comment you made flew over my head.
9. “But you don’t SEEM autistic”
Autism is a spectrum. The stereotypical screeching nonverbal kid rocking in the corner IS autistic but so are an awful lot of people who you think are perfectly abled, just odd.
10. Please understand that the spectrum is not linear, and that it is not as simple as high or low functioning in most cases. There are non-verbal autistics who greatly struggle and higher functioning ones who you wouldn’t even notice have it for sure, but for most of us it seems to be more complicated than that.
Some may struggle more with social issues, some more with motor and sensory issues, some may have more functioning issues generally.
On that note Autism is not only a social disorder, my sensory issues, motor issues and anxiety/executive functioning are all arguably worse than my social issues. I think the media forgets that sometimes, with how it portrays higher-functioning autistics as socially awkward nerds basically…
11. You don’t have to talk to me like I’m stupid. My brain works and I’m just like anyone else, and I wish you would treat me like that.
12. Please don’t make me try to do sports. Don’t try to force me to surf or play Frisbee or ice skate or paddle boat or whatever the hell John Kerry was doing in that ad.
It might end with me in the hospital or in the morgue and you in prison.
And please don’t even try that whole “Oh, you can totally do it! You just lack confidence in your abilities!” bullshit.
Trust me, I can’t and I do NOT.
13. Stop treating us differently the moment you hear the word autistic. We’re not children, and we aren’t fucking contagious.
14. Autism is different with every single case. It is almost like a personalized pizza. Everyone with it has things that they individually struggle with. It’s not a catch-all disorder. It’s why it’s a spectrum.
Also, stop making movies/Netflix specials about those with Autism because you seem to be only capturing one “version” of it, which is easily digestible for viewer consumption. You’re not doing justice to those who actually struggle from it. We need better and differing representations about what it’s like to live with it. Make a show with numerous autistic people with it, whom have varying struggles, varying things that make them unique, things that drive them, that make them passionate, and make it truly about them and their experiences. Not the parents. Not the behavioral therapists/doctors dealing with them, but them, and them alone.
15 It’s very hurtful to be told that you aren’t ‘really’ autistic only because you don’t seem autistic anymore. I’ve been to therapy several years and it just hurts when people dismiss all the effort that went into that.
16. As a female with high functioning autism it’s easy for me to “hide” it so when I do something “too autistic” people forget I have it and they think I’m being “too weird”and stuff. I put a front on in public so it’s mentally taxing on me. I also have bad anxiety and depression from this as well. I just don’t know how to cope so I pretend in front of everyone most of the time.
17. Autism Speaks does not support autistic people. They consider autism to be a devastating embarrassment to parents and prioritize “curing” it over helping people.
18. I actually had to have the “because I say ‘my brain doesn’t work that way’, that doesn’t mean my brain doesn’t work” conversation with someone.
19. I’ve noticed a sort of double standard sometimes where a neurotypical (non-autistic) person is allowed to have certain habits or personality quirks, but if someone who’s known to be autistic has even the exact same traits, they’re pathologized as a symptom of autism and told they must be stopped in order to fit in. This is one of the reasons I never tell anyone I’m autistic. If I did, literally anything I did would end up getting explained as “because I’m autistic”.
This doesn’t always come from other people, either; it can be self-imposed. I stopped listening to music through earbuds in public because I thought it made me look weird and cringey and autistic, but neurotypicals do it all the time and aren’t considered weird. A lot of things normal people do are no more or less “weird” than things autistic people do if you think about it.
20. Vaccines do not give you autism… It is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of.
21. That it is not like what you see on TV.
The “autistic characters” you see on TV are based off of one or two actual people with autism at best. Almost everyone will tell someone with autism or their family to watch x movie or y show because “This character is autistic”… and 95% of the time they will say “This character is nothinglike me/autistic family member. Have the writers ever actually met someone with autism before?”
22. Ambiguity is bad: “Lift up that side.” “Push that corner further in.” “That bracket needs to go down.” All these sentences make sense putting a shelf together. To me they might as well be in a foreign language.
23. If you’re making the classroom disruptive, please think about how your affecting us.
24. Don’t touch me. It’s one of my little things, and I’m sure others like me feel that way as well.
25. Loud noises are our cyanide. Please don’t be so loud.
26. We don’t all just stare off into space thinking in math formulas. Most of us just put a proverbial foot in our mouth. Every. Single. Fucking. Time we try to interact with other people.
27. Since I talk to myself more often than normal, it doesn’t mean I’m crazy. I just talk it to myself in order to solve a problem and/or rant.
28. I have a great movie memory. I can recite almost any scene with all the details. I find it annoying when people tell me, “You just watched it” when the last time I did was years ago but they don’t believe me.
29. Autism is just a name that people like to put on how my brain works. If there is one thing I have learned from this world in the 17 years I have been here so far, it is that humans LOVE to put things Into little boxes.
When you meet someone, you are prone to either mentally note them as friendly, uninteresting, normal, etc. Because of this, I have become quite adept at wearing a mask of normality that hides who I “truly” am; whenever someone meets me, they do not know I am “autistic” until they are told by my parent, friend, or someone else who already knows.
The point I am trying to make is, please do not feel the need to attach words to how people’s brain function a lot, because we cannot control that we were born with it. And if you do decide to label people like me as “autistic” or even “disabled”, please do not define who we are by such terms.
30. It’s not that I’m uninterested in you or the conversation we’re having. I just don’t like being looked in the eye.
31. A few of us may not have a voice, but that doesn’t give you assaholic creeps a right to rape us, assault us, murder us, or attack us because of it.
There are statistics that show autistic people get victimized far more than neurotypicals, and possibly a few other minorites, because of their inability to speak up. Many of us can speak up and defend ourselves, but we are still victims either way. It’s our job to turn that around.
32. How tiring it is to have to intentionally consider how other people feel during social interactions by running through contextual factors to determine likely emotions and appropriate responses. It must be so weird to “just know” how to respond socially.
33. An official diagnosis for adults is helluva expensive so do not mock us as poseurs.
34. When were spaced out, its so simple to say our name quietly so we “wake up.”
35. When we mess up, it’s probably because we didn’t have the instructions spelled out for us. At least that’s what my issue is. If you tell me, for example, to help you with cooking by passing you a pan, chances are I’m going to give you the wrong pan. Ask for the specific type of pan you need so you don’t boil veg in a frying pan. It also helps to tell me what you plan on cooking and how much do I can plan ahead of time
36. If we suddenly go quiet and don’t respond to stuff (or are like that to begin with) something is wrong.
37. I can’t pick up on subtle hints.
I get it, you don’t want to be rude but it doesn’t work. I have a few skills but it’s something I have to actively think about, and it becomes overthinking very quickly
Just be up front and open minded. There are polite ways of saying it and don’t wait until you’re at your limit to say it because then you’re at a point where you can’t ‘forgive them’. If they’re not picking up on the hints, just tell them. If you’re worried you came off as rude, go back to them and explain what happened.
38. We are not all mini Einsteins. I am terrible at math and science and what I know about computers could fit onto the head of a pin!
39. I understand pretty much what’s going on. I just have trouble communicating my thoughts in a coherent manner.
40. Some of us can go our whole lives without ever knowing we have Autism. I just started going to a new psychologist with a PhD and 30 years of experience, and she suspects I have a very mild form of high-functioning Autism, simply because I sometimes struggle with social cues and get anxious when I’m in a crowded room. This doesn’t mean I should be treated differently. Don’t treat me differently. I’m normal, just like you.