Tuesday, November 1, 2011

25 Things I Know as an Autistic Person

I'm reposting my old post from last year, 25 Things I Know as an Autistic Person from NeuroTribes.  I will be posting my entry for this year later tonight. 

25 Things I Know as an Autistic Person
by Corina Becker

1. I know that when I step outside my door each day, I enter a world that doesn’t understand me. To me the world is a wondrous, confusing place that I must work hard to navigate. I often wonder how everyone else can stand to handle existence.

2. I know that if people really want to understand Autism, they should be listening to Autistic people. We are the experts of Autistic experience. Ignoring us won’t make us go away.

3. I know that I do not suffer from Autism. I suffer from a lack of understanding and support.

4. I know that being “high functioning” does not mean not being disabled. It means that my disabilities are invisible.

5. I know that having a disability does not mean inability.

6. I know that Autism isn’t what you think. I dare you to think differently.

7. I know that after the whirlwind of childhood, and the emotional minefield of adolescence, I emerged as an adult — still as Autistic as before, and still an adult, with all that entails.

8. I know that what is normal for me is not always normal for you.  I know better than to act upon the assumption that “normal” is the same for everyone.

9. I know that if you meet one Autistic person, you’ve met one Autistic person. The experiences, difficulties, strengths, personality and characteristics of one Autistic person does not reflect upon all of them.

10. I know that there’s a difference between not being able to communicate and not having anything to say.

11. I know that the world is an intense place. It screeches and screams, burns, freezes, and bursts into brilliance.  It’s a place where words are too small to express the explosion of emotions flowing out of me — a place where words have yet to be invented to express a fraction of the howling fury of frustration and panic, the aching heartbreak, the stabs of betrayal and embarrassment, the abyss of despair and confusion, the weightless ecstasy of joy, the soaring heights of pure wonder, and the warm embrace of security that I feel.

12. I know there are times when people just don’t make sense, but I try my hardest to understand, even if I’m not very successful.  I know that even when I can understand, it doesn’t mean that I know what to do.

13. I know that what’s called a lack of social skills for me — and requires me to undergo therapy when I mess up — is considered being rude for everyone else.

14. I know that lashing out isn’t the right way to handle things, but some days it’s the only way to deal with the thunder in myself. Sometimes it’s only my rage that lets me focus on what needs to be done.

15. I know that no amount of time is enough to fully fade the most intense memories; they stay just as sharp, crisp and clear as the day they happened.

16. I know sometimes the only other people who understand are those like me. But just because we’re similar doesn’t mean we’ll always get along.

17. I know that humans aren’t perfect. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try our best, but we should realize that we all have our limitations and we need to put things into perspective.  A mistake isn’t the end of the world.

18. I know that sometimes you need to let yourself fall apart so you can pick yourself up again and carry on. Nothing lasts forever — the bad or the good.

19. I know that one smile can go a long way.

20. I know that there’s no force in the universe that can make me give up my interests, my “obsessions” and perseverations.  These are my strengths, the passions I breathe through my being. I will not let them go without a fight.

21. I know the deep, dark fear of being alone, the stabbing pain of thoughtless words, and the empowering strength of friends.

22. I know you can have an excellent conversation without saying a single word.

23. I know that best friends are those who stay with you through all sorts of pain and struggle, who you would do everything you can to help without being asked.

24. I know that things don’t have to make sense when you’re having fun.

25. I know that diversity leads to the development, invention and creation of new ideas. Differences in thinking should not be shunned but celebrated and embraced. When we all work together to support one another, we can make a huge difference in the world.

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