ACCEPTING YOUR AUTISM (How to) (Comprehensive Guide)

It’s a fact that if we love ourselves first, we can then love others unconditionally. It’s important to love ourselves.

Being autistic can be rough. Or having any form of mental health and/or diagnoses for that matter. Yet, it’s up to us to how and what we want to do and achieve in our lives to get to where we want to be. While you may hear negative things about autism, as well as the stereotyping and stigma around this, we need to remember that this isn’t the full picture.
This video I will be sharing with you all today will help you come to terms with your autism in three parts and/or methods so you can focus on being the wonderful human being that you are.

Method One of Three: Seeing Autism Differently

What I share in this video as the three part series is a form of advice as well as sharing some parts as bit of my experiences of what I been through and learnt so far.

While autism is a neurological developmental disorder, we all have our own quirks and traits for our autism.
Autism does come with strengths and weaknesses and that with our strengths we can do great things in our lives.

  1. Learn about autism from autistic people.

    Too often, non-autistic people write about autism without consulting real autistic people.And, that for sure, can be a no-no and frustrating.
    They may come up with inaccuracies, laughable misconceptions, or extremely negative viewpoints on differences that don’t hurt anyone. Autistic people can provide you with a more accurate and well-rounded view. The Autistic community often describes autism in a neutral or positive light. This may help you gain a more holistic sense of autism, as opposed to seeing only the negatives.
  2. Read about the strengths associated with autism.

    Autism is a complex neurological condition that comes with several blessings along with its impairments. You may experience some or all of the following:
    Deeply passionate interests. These can lead to tremendous expertise, and possibly a very successful career or fun hobby.
    Helpfulness. Autistic people, in general, have a high sense of social responsibility, or the desire to solve problems and help others.
    Precision. It is often noted that autistic people focus on the small parts, rather than the big picture. This can lead to remarkable detail-oriented work, where a neurotypical person might be unable to focus so clearly on the individual aspects of something.
    Visual intelligence. Autistic people have tested higher on visual and nonverbal intelligence tests.
    Sincerity. Autistic people tend to mean what they say, and act as a “voice of reason” without becoming mired in social complexities.
    Your honesty and genuine spirit can feel refreshing to others.
    Creativity and a unique perspective. Autistic people can learn in unusual ways.
    This provides insights that neurotypicals may never realize, and can become a great asset in collaboration.

3. Read about successful autistic people.

Plenty of famous people have been diagnosed or thought to be autistic.
Strong special interests, focus, and a unique perspective can lead to innovation and creativity. Historically, Einstein, Thomas Jefferson, Emily Dickinson, Mozart and more people were thought to be autistic. Famous autistic people today include Tim Burton,Susan Boyle, Adam Young (from Owl City), Temple Grandin and more.

4. Consider your special interests.

Image Reference: https://www.wikihow.com/Accept-Your-Autism

Special interests are a clear upside of autism: you have an incredible memory about these facts, intense focus,
and the ability to act like a walking encyclopedia of information whenever you want.
You also get to have a lot of fun doing the things you love.
Most non-autistic people would be jealous of the way you can recall and discuss information.

5. Read about the social model of disability.

Image Reference: https://www.wikihow.com/Accept-Your-Autism and artist MissLunaRose

The social model holds that disability is not caused by defects in the brain or body, but by society’s failure to accommodate and accept a certain variation.
For example, most nearsighted people are not disabled: they are fully accommodated within society (glasses, contacts), and have the same opportunities that non-nearsighted people have. Their body can’t do the same things, but technology makes up for that, so it is not an issue. (I will hope to share more later on about this topic of how it works and if it is accepted in the autistic community)

Method Two of Three: Helping Yourself

Iam who I am. I am more than my diagnosis and I believe I can do more things if I was given the chance to do so.
  1. Remember that it’s okay to be different
Never be ashamed of who you are as an autistic. Never be ashamed to stim in public. You are allowed to stim in public and that you don’t need permission or anyone else to validate your feelings for you.

If everyone were just like everyone else, the world would be boring. If we were to be like everyone else, then the world will be just pure black and white. We need to be able to express ourselves and be able to be ourselves and not be able to have permission from others to tell us or dictate to us in how we should speak, act or think. We are all unique. Your quirks are part of what makes you memorable, and you don’t need to censor yourself or try to look “normal.” These days we are all put into a box full of “neurotypical expectations”. We are born to be different and we are born to stand out and not blend in,I believe. It is absolutely okay to be disabled and to look disabled in public.

2. Find therapies and treatments that work for you.

Every different therapies and interventions will vary and work for some and not for others so that we need to bear in mind what works for us may not work for the next person and vice versa.

A good therapy will leave you better off than you were before, and you will gain skills to help you become more well-adjusted. You can also learn coping mechanisms, alternative methods of doing difficult tasks, and how to capitalize on your strengths.
Options include sensory integration therapy, talk therapy, occupational therapy, special diets, behavior therapy, and seeing a psychologist for emotional issues. Always check with a doctor before altering your diet or attempting an alternative treatment.

Always seek professional advice from the medical experts to know what is best treatments and therapies for you as well as also if need be for a second opinion, don’t be afraid to seek it out.
Image Reference: https://www.wikihow.com/Accept-Your-Autism

Be careful about behavior therapies. Some therapies are based on compliance and may hurt more than helping. If your therapist’s goal is to make you more normal (rather than more comfortable or more competent), or if you feel upset and anxious about seeing them, then find a better therapist.

3. Stop trying to do things that are too hard.

With the media constantly encouraging people to “do your best,” sometimes people forget that it’s okay to quit. You do not have to put forth 110% effort all the time—this can lead to burnout. If something is draining your energy or adding a lot of stress to your life,
stop doing it.
Sometimes saying “I quit” is freeing. Disability doesn’t just mean that there are some things you can’t do. It can also mean that some things are painful or extremely draining for you. Give yourself permission to quit or find an alternative way.
*I shared some advice and also some of my experiences based on this topic*

4. Focus on your skills and character strengths.

This will help you spend less energy mourning your disability, and more energy on doing positive things and enjoying your life.Spend time on your hobbies and things that you’re good at. Enjoy the feeling of competence and expertise. Make a list of your positive traits. Consider both personality traits and skills. Place the list somewhere where it’ll be easy to see when you’re feeling sad about yourself. Help other people. Prepare food for the hungry, raise awareness for important causes, or write about your special interest on wikiHow or even write in your personal blog. Effecting a positive change in the world will distract you, help others, and make you feel happier about yourself.

5. Practice self-care.

Being disabled can be difficult, and it’s important to treat yourself well.
Cut out energy drains from your life so you can focus on what matters most to you.
Pushing yourself to meet non-autistic standards will only take a toll on your health.
It is okay to ask for academic accommodations, take extra breaks, or quit doing things that are too stressful to achieve. Pay extra attention to general health advice: sleep for at least 8 hours, eat fruits and vegetables, limit junk food, minimize stress, and exercise regularly
(taking walks counts). Self-care is extra important for you, to mitigate stress and help reduce meltdowns and shutdowns.If you have trouble with self-care, it’s okay to ask for help. Assisted living, a group home, or living with family might be better for you.
Talk with a doctor, social worker, or therapist if you’re struggling. There’s no shame in meeting your needs, and it’ll free up time for things you love.

Taking dogs for walks are great for you and your pet.

Image: Image Reference: https://www.wikihow.com/Accept-Your-Autism and MissLunaRose
 

6. Get a mentor (or two).


Image Reference: https://www.wikihow.com/Accept-Your-Autism and artist MissLunaRose

Look for people in your life whose judgment you trust: parents, older siblings, relatives, counselors, clergy members, friends, etc. Living in a neurotypical world can be confusing, so it’s useful to have people to ask for advice. You can ask questions from “Is this outfit good for an awards ceremony?” to “This person makes me feel awful; what do I do?”

7. Stop apologizing for being autistic.

Feel the power of stimming. It’s okay to stim, don’t let others tell you otherwise.

You have the right to ask for accommodations, stim in public, and do what you need to do in order to function. Stimming is a release of anything that is stressing the person out. ( I shared this in my series which you can find the playlist from my channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwQhEeI1u5Y&list=PLD1nCoeovTZ5uHWubHyUYcBAK_5t5Ud7o )

Toning down your behavior is your choice—not something to be pushed or coerced out of you. You are not required to act more neurotypical just because everyone else is used to it.
Try to stop masking when you can. Masking is linked to mental health risks. Try to be yourself more often.

8. Recognize that autism is just one piece of who you are—a kind, thoughtful, and lovable human being.

Image Reference: http:// https://www.wikihow.com/Accept-Your-Autism

People can love you and your autism. You can love yourself and your autism. You are not a lesser person. Remember that even though autism is part of you, it doesn’t define your entire existence. Autism is a significant part of who you are, but it isn’t all of you. A diagnosis is simply just a label. An integral and whole part of your identity, but a label nonetheless. You are so much more than autism, so embrace your non-autistic-related strengths as well.

9. Talk to someone if you are overwhelmed by self hatred.

It’s okay to ask for help or seek advice from someone that you trust. Never be afraid to ask for help. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength and courage. Not asking for help and performing some act, is weakness.

Anxiety, depression, and self-esteem issues are unfortunately common in autistic people as well as others that has any form of mental health conditions. Identify someone you trust and explain to them how awful you feel. If you think you may have anxiety and/or depression, try to schedule a doctor’s appointment. The doctor can give you a screening and perhaps some helpful medicine. You are not being selfish or burdensome by sharing negative feelings. People can probably tell if you are feeling awful; they just may not know how to help. If you tell them, this is helpful to them, because then they can know what to do and worry less.

Method Three of Three: Finding an Autistic Community

  1. Surround yourself with positive people.

Look for the people in your life who build you up and leave you feeling better than you did before. Make an effort to spend more time with them. Ask if they’d like to get lunch with you, or if you could get together this weekend. If you usually feel bad about yourself after spending time with someone, that’s an important pattern to be aware of. Figure out why you feel that way, and whether the relationship is worth maintaining.

2. Meet the autistic community.

It’s important to find people that we can relate to and be friends with. It’s also good to be around people once in a while and know that we are together in whatever we go through. Finding our neurotribe as they call it is important as we get older.

This can be done by contacting a friendly support group, or through a search online.
Learn what autistic people have to say about themselves, their symptoms, and the way they interact with the world. Autistic people, in general, are very welcoming to newly diagnosed or self-diagnosed people. Autistic people can offer advice and tips to those in need (and often do so, especially online). The general positivity of the autistic community can help you feel better when you are feeling sad or have low self-esteem.
*Again, I shared a little bit based on my experiences in this as well as you watch the video.

3. Avoid people and organizations that dehumanize you.

Some people and groups think that raising “awareness” for autism makes it okay to say horrible things. You have feelings, and you deserve to be treated like an equal human being. Don’t waste time on people who refuse to respect you.Use the block button or unfollow button on social media if an account is negatively impacting your mood or mental health. Mental health is important for us to be well and strong enough to get through the day of whatever arises. We need to have the right frame of mind and attitude to get through it as well. It is okay to cut toxic people out of your life, even if they’re family. You don’t need their negativity, and you’re much better off without them. You are not required to argue that your existence is worthwhile, and it’s okay to decide not to waste your time and energy on them. If you’re stuck with these people, you can either educate or avoid them. Educating them can be done by telling them about autism and making an appeal to their desire to be a good person. If you try this and fail, or if you know that they won’t respond to reason,
it’s better to avoid spending time with them and avoid autism-related conversations. You don’t deserve to listen to toxic ideas about your existence.


Image Reference: https://www.wikihow.com/Accept-Your-Autism and artist MissLunaRose

4. Get involved with positive autism-related organizations.

They will help you understand yourself better and make a positive contribution to the world. Many autism self-advocacy groups have a large online presence. You do not need to physically go somewhere to get involved. We all need to feel safe, accepted and wanted by anyone that’s a given. If you can’t find in-person autism organizations that are any good, try general disability groups. It can be tremendously relieving to spend time with a group where being disabled is viewed as the “norm”.

6. Make Autistic Friends.

Finding a person that we can create that special bond that is like us in some way can be a blessing yet we know that with so many of us autistics that we do struggle to make friends and maintain the friendships that are made.

Along with the usual benefits of friendship, you can share coping strategies, discuss autism together, and be yourselves without any fear. Look for autistic people in autism acceptance advocacy groups, special education (if you go there), or disability/autism clubs.

I made a video on how to make friends with someone who is Autistic which is called “HOW TO Be a Friend to someone who is AUTISTIC” in which you can watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fm-_ahSaU10

MY ADVICE FOR YOU ALL

*If you struggle with persistent feelings of sadness related to your diagnosis, tell someone. Talk to someone you trust, or a doctor or therapist. Never be ashamed for having autism. This is what makes a part of you- YOU.

*Some people think autism is a burden. You don’t deserve to be dehumanized by anyone judgmental.

COMING TO TERMS AFTER BEING DIAGNOSED WITH AUTISM AT A LATER AGE

This is going to be broken down into three parts of my videos based on this title of “Coming to terms with the late diagnosis of Autism.” and you can follow along to what I am sharing by clicking above. Part is Getting Support.

It’s a given that when we get diagnosed that many children will seek medical assistance and that ideally it’s known that autism is diagnosed by when a child is 18 months old. However, it’s not unusual to be diagnosed with autism as a teenager or an adult.
This is particularly common with middle-aged adults who come of age before mental health professionals understood and accepted the autistic spectrum. If you’ve been diagnosed with autism at a late age, it can take some time for you to wrap your head around the diagnosis. Once you understand more about your diagnosis, it can be liberating and exciting to learn the reasons behind some of your behaviors and explore the welcoming and supportive community of autistic people.

Here I am today, going to share with you all some tips and advice about this topic for you or your loved one that has autism so that we can together understand each other more. We are more than just having autism. There will be three parts of this yet will hope to try and keep it as short as possible. Let’s begin, shall we?

PART 1 – GETTING SUPPORT

  1. Join autistic self-help groups.

There are many autistic self-help groups that will enable you to talk to other autistic people and understand more about your diagnosis and how to cope as an autistic person in a neurotypical world. You may be able to find groups in your community that meet in person.
There also are many online groups if you don’t feel comfortable meeting with a bunch of people you don’t know. To find groups or online forums, contact a nonprofit autistic organization or peruse their website. They typically will have a directory.
Talking to other autistic people can build your confidence, especially if you’ve spent most of your life as an outcast. It can be refreshing to find out that there are other people who think and relate to the world just like you do Other autistic people also can share tips and coping strategies with you so you can better adapt and come to terms with your diagnosis.

2. Find out if you are eligible for government grants or other assistance.
Having a diagnosis of autism means you may have easier access to government support and disability benefits to help you manage your life. You can find out about assistance by contacting a government disability office near you.
Nonprofit autistic organizations also may have information about assistance and grant opportunities. The best organizations will have autistic people in leadership positions or on their executive board, and autistic people will have a strong voice in the organization.

3. Decide if you want to share your diagnosis openly.

For many of us after being diagnosed with any condition, that sometimes for awhile it will be a bitter pill to swallow yet then it can also be a relief for us to know what we’ve got to become a better person or version of ourselves.

Particularly if you’ve been diagnosed as an adult, you may not want to tell everyone you know that you are autistic. Before you reveal your diagnosis, think hard about the pros and cons of doing so. Many autistic people, especially women, escape diagnosis until later in life because they don’t fit the stereotypical profile of an autistic person.
Depending on how old you are, you probably have already learned many coping mechanisms that allow you to blend in better. This is good for you, but in terms of disclosing your autism it means that people may doubt you or not believe you. Keep in mind that people often have misconceptions about autism. As a result, they may say things that come across as rude or insensitive because you don’t fit the image they have in their head of an autistic person. Before you decide that you want to be completely open about your diagnosis and your identity, make sure you’re prepared to handle people who will have doubts or attempt to invalidate your diagnosis.

4. Seek accommodations at work.

It’s important for any of is with our special needs that it’s being met with the employers that we’re working for as our needs are just as important as to anyone that has them.

In many countries such as the U.S. and the U.K., autism is considered a disability within the national legal framework.
Your diagnosis entitles you to accommodations you might otherwise have difficulty getting.
Keep in mind that seeking accommodations typically involves telling people at work about your diagnosis.
Be prepared to explain autism and how it impacts your life.
Let your boss or immediate supervisor know of the accommodations you request.
For example, suppose you work in an office cubicle, and you have trouble concentrating because you can hear your coworkers talking on the phone all day.
You may request a closed office as an accommodation.
If they deny your request, you may have to take further action. Talk to a disability rights attorney if your request for accommodations has been denied,
or if you have been discriminated against by your employer after revealing your diagnosis.

5. Reach out to friends and family.

Reaching out to others no matter who and what they are deserve to be listened to and to be patient with them.

The people closest to you often will be your greatest sources of support – even if none of them are autistic themselves.
Spending time with people who love and care about you can help you come to terms with your diagnosis.
In most cases, diagnosis of adults or teenagers includes a questionnaire or interviews with your parents.
If this was the case for you, they already know about the situation and may be eager to provide you with any help that you need.
Your closest friends are people who have been through thick and thin with you, and they love you for who you are.
They likely will take the news well, and can help you decide whether to tell others, and who to tell.
In particular, lean on people who’ve been in your life for a long time. They’ve become accustomed to and accepting of your various “quirks,”
and they can be a breath of fresh air as you come to terms with your diagnosis, because around them you know you can just relax and be yourself.

Part 2: EMBRACING YOUR DIAGNOSIS on the series of Coming to Terms with late diagnosis of Autism.
  1. Identify triggers of over-stimulation.

    Many autistic people have senses that are either extremely sensitive, or that aren’t as sensitive as those of “normal” people. This can mean that some environments are uncomfortable or even painful for you. Sensory over-stimulation can be a difficult thing to understand as a child. However, as a teenager or an adult you probably have a good idea of situations or environments that cause you problems.
    For example, you may find that you hate grocery shopping, and that you frequently leave the grocery store frustrated or in a foul mood. Think about the atmosphere: grocery stores are frequently lit by fluorescent lighting, which can cause sensory over-stimulation for many autistic people. Grocery stores also have a lot of competing noise – shoppers having diverse conversations, overhead music, PA announcements, employee chatter, and the like. Many autistic people have difficulty filtering background noise, which can make all of these sounds occurring in one place frustrating if not painful.
It’s important to know what our triggers are for any given situation that we’re dealing or facing with so that we are well prepared for what is to come.

2. Make adjustments in your life.

Accepting some of the changes that can be made in our everyday lives is important. There will always bound to be a few situations that we may not be able to control yet, in all fairness we just need to know what ones we can and accept the ones that we can’t.

Based on what you learn about sensory triggers and other autism-related issues, you can implement changes that could potentially make a vast improvement
in your living environment. For example, understanding that your problem with grocery stores is related to sensory over-stimulation can help you identify options
that will make this errand easier for you. Adjustments you might make in that situation include wearing headphones and playing some soothing music or
white noise to block out the cacophony of the grocery store, or wearing sunglasses to blunt the effects of the fluorescent lighting. Over time, as you become more comfortable and gain a better understanding of your diagnosis, you will discover other things you can do to improve your life and your experiences with the world.

3.Recognize your strengths.

There are many strengths related to autism, including pattern recognition, strong memory, and intense passions Take some time to identify the strengths you have and learn ways to apply these strengths in your everyday life. Thinking about your strengths can help you come to terms with your autism diagnosis because it can help you to see that while autism creates some challenges, it also has its positive side.

4. Put your weaknesses into perspective.

Certain challenges, such as difficulty with social interactions, are intrinsic to autism.
Getting a diagnosis of autism can help you understand the difficulties you’ve had and provide tools you can use to overcome them. For many autistic people who are diagnosed at a late age, learning they are autistic is like a light bulb turning on in their heads. Suddenly there is an explanation for so many things you may have beaten yourself up over before.
Now that you know you are autistic, you can cut yourself some slack on some of the things that you might have thought were negative aspects of your personality before.
For example, you may have accepted criticism that you were lazy because you have the tendency to procrastinate and overlook certain tasks. However, autism explains this as poor executive functioning – you may see something that needs to be done, but your brain can’t put together the steps required to take care of it.
This doesn’t mean you can use autism as an excuse. Rather, identifying the cause of your challenges opens new doors for you, enabling you to discover different ways of handling those challenges that will actually be effective for you.

You also can use your strengths to find others with whom you can relate. For example, many autistic people are highly visual thinkers who process thoughts in pictures rather than words. You probably will get along better with other people who are also visual thinkers – regardless of whether they’re autistic. If you’re struggling to find a job or career path that’s right for you, identifying your strengths also can help you identify career fields
where you will have the opportunity to shine.

*SIDE NOTE- For many of us autistics this can be a huge relief and huge weight off our shoulders is now gone because without the label or even the diagnosis of autism and many other mental health diagnosis or just any diagnosis for that matter, we tend to think or shall I say we tend to overthink/over-analyse everything around us as well as thinking that there must be something wrong with us. We tend to question ourselves and doubt ourselves of our capabilities, skills and so much more like most people that goes through a mental health diagnosis. The questions that many of us ask ourselves are: ‘Why don’t my peers relate to me?
Why can’t I do these things that seem to come so easily to other people?’ You might start thinking you’re broken. But then, when you get the word autism, you realize there’s not anything wrong with you. You have a condition, and there are other people like you. Suddenly, you’re not alone in a world in which you were kind of alone for a long time.”

PART 3: UNDERSTANDING YOUR DIAGNOSIS

I feel that it’s always important to know what is going on with our body and to know what we’ve got so that we can become better and stronger in our minds and body.
  1. Talk to your doctor.
Doctors are the first call of action to see what is going on with us so that they can then diagnose or detect what’s going on if we give them some symptoms so then the next step after this will then do series of tests.

The doctor who diagnosed you should be your first source for information about autism and how you personally fit into the autistic spectrum.
They will be able to explain the diagnosis, as well as provide you with resources to enhance your understanding. Have the doctor go through the screenings or tests that you took in detail, and explain the traits that indicate you are autistic.
Go through the diagnostic criteria and consider how you identify with them, and which ones don’t seem to apply to you. Ask your doctor any questions you have about the autistic spectrum and the diagnostic process.

2. Read essays and books by autistic people.

There are a number of books, essays, and articles written by autistic people for other autistic people that can help you understand your autism.
Focus on books written by people who also were diagnosed late in life, such as Cynthia Kim. Loud Hands and And Straight On Till Morning are prominent anthologies of work by autistic people. Generally, you want to avoid books or articles by non-autistic people. They may have misunderstandings because they do not have the life experience of an
autistic person. However, NeuroTribes is a book that is well-regarded by the autistic community for its accurate and compassionate overview of the history of autism – despite the fact that it is not by an autistic author. When you find an autistic author that you like, find out if there are other authors, books, or websites that they recommend. Many of these books have a “resources” section in the back.

3. Fit autism in with other diagnoses.

Many autistic people who were diagnosed with autism at a late age have an extensive history with the mental health profession. You may have previously been diagnosed (or misdiagnosed) with other conditions or disorders. I have shared this before and I shared my story about being misdiagnosed which you can find on my channel and the title of the video is “AS DIAGNOSIS DENIED- DIAGNOSIS STORY”
For example, many autistic people who were diagnosed in adulthood were previously diagnosed with ADHD, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder.
If you have any of these diagnoses in your history, talk to your psychiatrist about whether you should continue to be treated for that disorder or take previously prescribed medications. On the other hand, there are disorders such as anxiety and depression that often co-exist with autism. Talk to your doctor about how autism potentially impacts those disorders or how they’re treated.
You may be on psychotropic medication for anxiety or depression. If you are, and if you like what the medication does for you, there’s no reason to stop taking it just because you were diagnosed with autism. However, if you aren’t satisfied with the treatment you’re receiving for other disorders with which you’ve been diagnosed, understand that these may be misdiagnoses. Autism also may present other options for effective treatment.

4. Consider starting a blog or a vlog

Do you enjoy writing? If you do enjoy writing, a blog can be a good way to come to terms with your diagnosis and understand autism and the autistic spectrum better. Many blogging platforms have active autistic communities. Even if you don’t yet feel comfortable writing yourself, you can still establish a presence on the platform and follow other autistic bloggers. Maybe, if you’re brave enough that you can put yourself out there on some other platforms as well such as Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and many more.
You’ll be surprised to see how many autistic people out there that are doing this already to share the life stories and experiences with Autism. I’ve talken to some of them and some have been great towards me. Search under tags such as “actually autistic” to find blogs written by and for autistic and otherwise neurodivergent people.Blogging platforms such as WordPress and Tumblr allow you to share the posts of others on your own blog, which enables you to save those posts you find helpful for future reference.