What’s the REAL STORY about Autistic People and Empathy?

Hey you! Were you listening to me? Why aren’t you listening or answering to me?

So many of the general public believe that autistic people don’t feel empathy towards others, and this I will say is quite the opposite really. I can’t stress it enough that every Autistic you will meet will be different to how they act, speak and think. So, this post is designed to help set the record straight.


Credit: Rebekka Dunlap/Spectrum

First of all, what is empathy? Quite simply, empathy is the ability to understand what another person is thinking or feeling; but the truth is that empathy is anything but simple.

Autistic people can definitely struggle with certain aspects of empathy, but that doesn’t mean they don’t feel it at all. Sadly, despite years of campaigning by autism advocates, there’s still a widespread belief that people on the spectrum have no ability to make emotional connections or form meaningful relationships, and this really couldn’t be further from the truth.

Autistic people are often the most kind-hearted, compassionate individuals you’ll ever meet. Deeply committed to their family and friends, with an intense spiritual connection to the world around them, they really are nothing like the stereotypical, emotionless loners they’re sometimes portrayed as in the mainstream media.

However, like all stereotypes, this one has its roots in reality, and has come about as a result of the complex nature of autism, and the equally complex nature of empathy. This post describes the three main aspects of empathy – affective, cognitive and compassionate – and how autistic people can both struggle with and excel at processing and expressing them.

Affective Empathy

This is an unconscious, automatic response allowing you to feel what other people (and other living beings) are feeling, and is absolutely not something autistic people lack.

For example, it’s very common to find people on the spectrum who feel intensely connected to all species of animals, birds, insects etc. and the bonds they
form – with creatures who live free from the endless restrictions of human social rules – can be quite extraordinary.

In the case of affective empathy, rather than having too little, autistic people can often have way too much – a condition known as ‘hyper-empathy.’

Hyper-empathic people find that even the thought of anyone or anything suffering causes them intense emotional, psychological and often physical pain.
They can be highly sensitive to any changes in atmospheres, picking up on the slightest tension between people, and becoming more and more upset as they anticipate things escalating.

Since processing these powerful feelings can be really hard for them, they’ll often withdraw or go into meltdown over something that’s perfectly valid to them, yet a complete mystery to those around them.

Another way this shows itself is in the extreme personification of objects: forming deep emotional bonds with everyday items like pencils or rubber bands.

There are many examples of personification in the language we use every day (time waits for no-one/the camera loves her etc.) and also in our culture, with films
such as Beauty and the Beast being very much enhanced by its singing, dancing, emoting kitchenware, but what I’m describing here is something much more overwhelming.
Autistic people can become extremely upset if they feel, for example, that a specific crayon or hairbrush isn’t being used as often as the others, because it might be
feeling left out. I can imagine how that sounds to anyone who’s unfamiliar with autism, but believe me, to many, many autistic people, this really does make perfect
sense.

Cognitive Empathy

This is the largely conscious ability to work out what other people are thinking or feeling, and because human beings are so endlessly complex, If you’re not
naturally wired to understand the process, it can be really, really difficult to learn. Cognitive empathy is an intricate thought process allowing you to grasp
what people really mean when they say something vague, or which emotions they’re feeling when they behave in a way you find confusing. It’s something most
neurotypical people pick up very quickly, and most autistic people have to work really hard at.

Anyone who lives with autism (whether they’re autistic themselves or are in close contact with an autistic person) will recognize how difficult it can be for people on the spectrum to guess other people’s behaviours and intentions without very precise instructions. In other words, it really helps to say exactly what you mean when you talk to autistic people, because they just don’t get the concept of ‘implied.’

A perfect example of this happened in here recently, someone mentioned about their youngest son – “When my youngest son’s girlfriend told him ‘I’ve just left work; meet me at the end of the road.’ Now, it was clearly implied that since she’d just stepped out of the office, she wanted to meet him at the end of the road she works on, but since Aidan doesn’t do ‘implied,’ there she stood, more than twenty minutes later, still waiting for him to arrive.

Aidan, meanwhile, was waiting at the end of the road where she lives, which seemed to him to be the most logical road to meet on, since they’d met there several times before. Not specifying a particular road when talking to an autistic person is what we call in here a ‘rookie mistake!’

Dr. Spook from Star Trek

There are a couple of terms relating to this that you’ve probably come across if you’re part of the autism community: The ability to consciously recognize what other people are thinking and feeling is known as ‘the Theory of Mind’ (usually abbreviated to ToM); while being unable to do this is known as ‘Mind-blindness’. Mind-blindness is one of the most common traits a health professional will look for during an autism diagnosis, and its effects very much work both ways.

Autistic people will often assume everyone has the same views and understanding of the world as they do, as well as the same passions and interests.
I’m sure many of you are familiar with the seemingly endless discussions about special interests which are a direct result of this trait.

They’ll also believe that if they’re aware of something, other people must be too, and this can lead to all kinds of problems. Another person mentioned about their son, ” When my son Dominic was young he almost died of acute double pneumonia because he didn’t tell us he was in agonizing pain whenever he coughed”. Devastated, the mum asked him why he hadn’t mentioned it to her , and he said simply ‘I thought you knew.’

Compassionate Empathy

This is both the understanding of another being’s situation, and the motivation to help them if they’re in some sort of trouble. Once again, autistic people have no shortage of this kind of empathy, even though they can sometimes struggle when it comes to offering the right kind of help.

Many people on the spectrum are hugely motivated when standing up against what they consider to be injustice, and you’ll find some of the most passionate voices
in the struggle for equality, animal rights and a cleaner environment are the autistic ones.

Autistic people see far less boundaries than neurotypical people do, which is a really positive trait when it’s applied to finding new solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems. Conversely there are many challenges for autistic people to master when it comes to giving and receiving emotional support, as they tend to struggle quite a lot with social boundaries.

Autistic people often don’t like to hug, or they hug too tightly, which is a natural way for neurotypical people to show empathy towards each other, and this definitely adds to the misconception that they’re unfeeling and lack the capacity to love. Putting your arm around someone’s shoulder or your hand on their arm when they’re sad are both automatic gestures for neurotypical people to make, but can be incredibly confusing for autistic people who have difficulty picking up social cues about how much physical contact is appropriate in each particular situation.

When you’re autistic, joyous occasions such as birthday parties and weddings can be just as difficult to navigate as the more emotionally draining events like funerals. Understanding why it’s important to ‘say the right thing at the right time’ can be very confusing, leading to all sorts of mix-ups, but autistic people really do care, and are genuinely trying their best to be supportive, even when they get things wrong.

Socially Appropriate

So those are the basics of empathy, and some of the struggles autistic people can have with them. I’ll leave you with a real-life example of one man’s version of compassionate empathy which I’m sure many wives of autistic husbands will recognise.

For several years I’d been dogged by some very serious injuries and illness, and had put on quite a bit of weight as a result. We were going out for the day so I squeezed myself into a pair of jeans I hadn’t worn for a really long time. They just about fitted but to be honest I wasn’t too sure about wearing them in public. I told my husband I felt a bit uncomfortable about how my legs looked, and rather than the standard ‘You always look beautiful to me, darling’ reply I’d expected, he spent way too long staring at my thighs and came out with the ever-so-helpful statement ‘Yes, they are pretty big. I know! Just wear a long coat.’
Yes, thank you for that, darling; problem solved. Sigh.






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Please DON’T SPEAK on my behalf as I have a voice of my own.

Don’t you just love it that you have some people that thinks that they know all about you or try to speak on your behalf regardless of what the conversation is about or the topic at hand is? Man, I tell you, this can annoy anyone and this is one of the many pet peeves I have along with my concerns that I shared about for the future of the Autistic Community and if you would like to watch more about this topic especially the link is:
https://youtu.be/dbWjL_YoIBo.

*NOTE: Yet, one of the parts is what I am sharing now is safety in groups or not being able to be listened to from others. Yet, most of this is shared in about 3 minutes and something on my video that I’m sharing as above. But, back to what I’m sharing is that others speaking for us and somethings that may be shared or said to us or many others with mental illnesses that aren’t doing any good for us but may harm or trigger us. People speaking for myself or others on the Autistic community is viewed in 6 minutes and thirty-six seconds in my video. *

As an autistic person or as I would like to be called when I’ve got Aspergers Syndrome is an Aspie. I ask you to please try to understand autism from autistic people who live this on the daily and that the struggles that we face and that’s in saying that some people not all aren’t wanting to understand or are just plain out arrogant or ignorant. Don’t get me wrong as I’m aware that there’s others that has their own struggles too that are outside of the spectrum of Autism and Mental Health etc. The people who are most knowledgeable about autism are those who live as autistic everyday. Why then do non-autistic people have authority about autism and how to help autistic people?
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network is an important group because we can advocate for ourselves. Although we need many people to learn from, ASAN understands autism better than parent and profession-led groups. (NO OFFENCE TO ANYONE READING THIS).
People should listen to us about our experiences, needs, desires, and goals.

*Note this is just my opinions here along with my thoughts to share with you all. *

Acceptance is making each person feel valued and seeing his or her importance in society. I am helping to pave a way for more autistic people like me to be given a way to communicate meaningfully as well as being able to have a voice that they can use to share their stories, experiences and more. I believe that I have made a difference by blogging, answering any questions, and making my voice heard via through all my social medias I’ve got. People need to know nonverbal people also have feelings and intelligence as well. My voice only comes out through typing or if I chose to through my social media of YouTube and other links that you should be able to find me on. I am learning to type more independently. This might take me a long time. Please respect my voice even if it has to be supported from a trusted person. My voice is all mine.

I have a voice now. My goal is to advocate and educate others for those who communicate like me to have more opportunities in regular education and mainstream life along with just anyone that is interested. I have benefited so much from a good education and lots of activities in the community. I also advocate for people who still don’t have a voice. I blog to tell people how I feel and how communication has changed my life. I do this in hopes to convince parents, teachers, and therapists to believe their children and students are smarter than they look. I blog to show that good alternatives to speaking are possible. Meaningful communication opens a whole bigger world of connection to others and opportunities to learn and to grow in ourselves and with others around us. People become much happier. Taking away my voice would be oppression. To deny any validity of supported communication is like imprisoning an innocent person.

Autism is a neurological difference and disability. I can’t change the way I am wired based on my speech and what I am as a whole as a person. I’m built for another planet that isn’t yours and may not be able to understand this but I must live here. Please help autistic people by loving us as we are and not try to cure us. Peace comes when I am accepted and included.

I WILL NOT LIGHT IT UP BLUE FOR AUTISM ACCEPTANCE- WE AUTISTICS DON’T NEED A CURE(Personal Opinion)

I’m always grumbling or making a form of a rant about how so many people still don’t really understand it, so World Autism Awareness Week – April 2-9 – can only be a good thing, right? In my honest opinion, well, sort of and not quite. Any raising of public awareness is a good thing when it comes to Autism Spectrum Condition, so long as there are no ulterior motives behind us or that is offered to us and it’s just about helping people learn about the condition and how to support those with it.

But then there’s Autism Speaks. Yes, I know that I will get a lot of people attacking me on this yet hear me out as we all have heard of this nasty organisation for a reason. And that is? Before sharing more of this I did share my views about Autism Speaks to why Autistics don’t wish to hear about it and you can watch the video here called: Aspie Let’s Talk- Why WE SHOULDN’T support autism speaks- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOdgoXz3pkg

Now, back to my opinion on this topic at hand of their ‘Light It Up Blue’ campaign as this has been so successful in the United States that it’s now pretty much ubiquitous – even major landmarks such as Niagara Falls and the White House have been known to ‘Light up blue’. The campaign has gathered momentum in the UK recently and I regularly see people posting supportive ‘I’m lighting it up blue for Autism’ memes across social media. The United Nations designated April 2 World Autism Awareness Day dated back in 2007. And the world certainly needs more awareness of autism-related issues – if nothing else, only 16% of people diagnosed as autistic in the UK are in full time employment, 10% of those people who are diagnosed as autistic in New Zealand are in full time employment, and that seriously needs to change. A much higher percentage are more than capable of working, but they simply don’t get the opportunities afforded to those we describe as ‘neurotypical’ (someone with a non-autistic brain). In the UK, World Autism Awareness Week is organised by the National Autistic Society, which has been working on behalf of autistic people and their needs since 1962. Light It Up Blue was founded in 2010 and marketed so aggressively – and successfully – that many people now assume it to be the obvious campaign to support. Most people do so in the genuine belief that they are helping autistic people. The White House has lit up blue. However, Autism Speaks are an ‘Autism advocacy organisation’ who offer a wide range of therapies, interventions and treatments for autistic children. Which is where the issues start to creep in. Up until 2016, Autism Speaks openly worked towards finding a ‘Cure’ for autism, despite the autistic community  regularly explaining why trying to ‘cure’ an inherent condition was offensive. According to a video they produced – which has since been withdrawn by the organisation themselves but copies of which can still be found online – having an autistic child meant the end of your life as you know it. A sample from a transcript of the video: I am autism.

(Link to this you can watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UgLnWJFGHQ)

This is what is stated in the video as you watch this. Be warned that this may cause some triggers to some Autistics that doesn’t believe in all of what is shared here.

I’m visible in your children, but if I can help it, I am invisible to you until it’s too late. I know where you live. And this: I am autism. I have no interest in right or wrong. I derive great pleasure out of your loneliness. I will fight to take away your hope. I will plot to rob you of your children and your dreams. I will make sure that every day you wake up you will cry, wondering who will take care of my child after I die?

Autism doesn’t rob either myself anyone that is diagnosed of their dreams – if anything, it makes our dreams more vivid, brilliant and ridiculously wonderful. Autism cannot be ‘Cured’ – it is a difference in the wiring of the brain and is permanently built into our genetic makeup.

What Autism Speaks offers is training to coax your child into ‘behaving acceptably’, in much the same way one would train a dog. Applied Behaviour Analysis is the most common therapy offered by organisations such as Autism Speaks. Again, many Autistics that I’ve spoken to doesn’t believe in this therapy/treatment that is supposed to be had for their own reasons. (I will share more later in my piece)

Their ‘100 Day Treatment Kit’ states: Treatment for autism is usually a very intensive, comprehensive undertaking that involves the child’s entire family and a team of professionals […] The recommended number of hours of structured intervention ranges from 25 to 40 hours per week during the preschool period […] ABA methods use the following three step process to teach: An antecedent, which is a verbal or physical stimulus such as a command or request. This may come from the environment or from another person or be internal to the subject; A resulting behavior, which is the subject’s (or in this case, the child’s) response or lack of response to the antecedent; A consequence, which depends on the behavior, can include positive reinforcement of the desired behavior or no reaction for incorrect responses. ABA therapy is less popular in the UK, but does have its supporters. However, as an autistic person I find it incredibly offensive that we should be required to undergo training in order to ‘fit in’ to the world – this article brilliantly explains why in more detail than I have space for here. We are not broken and we do not need to learn how to fit into your world. It is our world as well and we have every right to inhabit it just as we are. You can find endless comments from those in the autistic community, explaining how and why they disagree with the methods employed by Autism Speaks and why they’d prefer people to stop ‘lighting it up blue’:

The fabulous @NeuroRebel who I’ve been following and watching some of her videos has put out this very informative vlog, which explains just how autism can become very big business. After much campaigning and complaints on social media, Autism Speaks have actually brought two autistic people onto their board. Professor Stephen Shore is, among other things, the author of Understanding Autism for Dummies and Valerie Paradiz is an author who was herself diagnosed as autistic at the age of forty. However, this is still only two autistic people out of twenty board members, not including the founders and a ‘Director Emeritus’. That’s twenty four people, only two of whom are truly qualified to speak on behalf of autistic people. Despite Autism Speaks claiming to have withdrawn talk of ‘curing’ autism from their website, I downloaded  some of their information resources while researching this feature and found the following quotes within their ‘Treating Autism’ section: Most parents would welcome a cure for their child or a therapy that would alleviate all of the symptoms and challenges that make life difficult. Is There a Cure? Is recovery possible? You may have heard about children who have recovered from autism. Although, this is so relatively rare, it is estimated that approximately 10% of children lose their diagnosis of autism. Life can be difficult whether or not a person has Autism Spectrum Disorder. No child is perfect and a child with autism does not need a ‘Cure’. Autism Speaks are savvy enough to acknowledge that there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ treatment for autism – so they offer several. Before, I write further as you read this that the term of Autism Spectrum Disorder has been removed by some people as some people may call it Autism Spectrum, or just Autism Spectrum Condition as to not to offend anyone that are diagnosed with Autism.

Even if you are one of the ‘Lucky’ parents whose child ‘loses’ their Autism Spectrum Condition diagnosis, that will only be because they have been forced into adapting their behaviour in order to appear neurotypical. But however well you train them to hide it, they will still be autistic. The suggestion that autism is something that can be ‘recovered’ from is offensive. Most people never lose their Autism Spectrum Condition diagnosis for the simple reason that autism is part of us – it cannot just disappear. Autism is as much a part of me as my grey eyes – they can be temporarily disguised, but they’ll always be green underneath. We do not need a cure – because autism is not a disease. I can’t be the first autistic person to wonder whether this is heading into eugenics territory, in much the same way as those considered at risk of having children with Down’s syndrome have had to consider.

Oh, and one last note to end and make you think more about what I am sharing right now– the ‘Blue’ element of the campaign comes from the outdated belief that autism is a ‘male brain’ condition, a theory that has now been widely disproves.

More and more girls and women are now being diagnosed as autistic, largely due to research into how autism ‘presents’ differently in females. For all these reasons, I will never ‘Light It Up Blue’. If you want to show your support for autism awareness, that’s great! You can ‘Light It Up Gold’ with Autism Acceptance Month.

Autism Acceptance #goforred

This image says it all as a declaration for many of us Autistics.

April 2 was World Autism Awareness Day. There will be plenty of people that will be relatively new to being “autism parents,” or “autism advocates” and so on. I am all for awareness, acceptance and generally increasing education for those who don’t know enough, or are starting out to wanting to know more about Autism in general and so much more. As you are aware I’ve been a voice/advocate on my channel for four years and only been blogging for almost two years.

World Autism Awareness Day was brought into being on December 2007 by a United Nations General Assembly resolution, under the more general auspices of improving human rights around the world. The resolution was met with acceptance from all member states, and first celebrated on April 2, 2008. For 2018, the U.N.’s program for the day includes a special focus on women and girls with autism; recent analyses estimate that 3.25 boys are diagnosed for everyone one girl (down from 4:1), but when looking for autism in girls (who often presently drastically differently than boys), that ratio can drop even more.

Autism Speaks, perhaps the most well-known of autism-related organizations, uses the tag line of “Light it Up Blue,” and encourages supporters (of its organization and of those with autism) to wear blue on April 2 and to use outdoor lighting with blue light bulbs. It’s a nice symbol of solidarity, really, it is, but here’s the thing: it’s blue because they operate on the outdated assumption that it’s mostly boys who are autistic. On the one hand, let’s overlook the old science, and the gender stereotype of “blue is for boys,” because the large majority of people and organizations lighting it up blue are simply trying to be supportive of the autism community. On the other hand, doesn’t education go hand in hand with advocacy? Don’t we want people to actually be supportive of those with autism, and not just pay some lip service to an Autism Speaks marketing campaign? And full disclosure: the last few years, many people may have been wearing blue, I have used #lightitupblue on my social media, and I, too, thought I was doing a good thing — in support of friends and family who live with autism.

I have shared some views why Autistics don’t want to share much of what Autism Speaks shares which you can watch this video here:

When you know better, you’re supposed to do better, though, so this year, I didn’t wear blue. I am being educational, instead by sharing some autistic related videos for you all to watch to gain a better understanding and educating you all about this.

I have been reading about Autism Speaks for a week or so now. Reading articles, blog posts, rants, comments on articles, etc. From my purely unscientific assessment, it seems like those who support the organization do so because it’s “the autism organization,” or in other words, they either don’t know any better, or they don’t care. The folks who fall into the anti-Autism Speaks camp almost universally support the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network instead, and they recommend use of the hashtag #redinstead.

Other catch phrases include “Nothing About Us Without Us,” which perhaps is directly aimed at Autism Speaks, who controversially had no autistic people on their Board for many years. When they finally put one on the board, he resigned over the organization’s practices. Currently, Autism Speaks has two autistic members of their Board, which is a tiny step in the right direction, but for many, it’s not enough.

Autism Speaks portrays autistic children as a burden. We honestly don’t know what my son’s future and development are going to be like — only he will be able to clue us into that. For now, we should focus on advocacy work and educating others as well as also if we have kids to teach them how to live their lives accordingly. I can’t fathom any child to be a burden as each and every one of them is a blessing with their own unique gifts to share to the world.

Autism Speaks is perhaps most controversial for their support of finding a cure for autism, or a pre-natal test similar to what’s available for Down syndrome and other genetic conditions. Some autistic adults see this as a direct affront to their existence — how can Autism Speaks possibly claim to represent them, when in effect, they seek to end the possibility of children like them existing? They even partnered with Google to launch a genome-sequencing project, MSSNG, which aims to sequence ten thousand complete genomes and “will identify many subtypes of autism, which may lead to more personalized and more accurate treatments.” While this may sound “great,” it’s reasonable to believe that if they can identify what causes autism, they can identify how to prevent it. Even the project’s name, MSSNG, is a twist on “missing,” one of many negative ways the organization has referred to autistic children in the past.

There is a push by some in the autistic community to make April Autism Acceptance Month, rather than focusing on awareness; but there is wide debate within the community itself as to just what constitutes “acceptance.”

I believe with everything that has come to light so far on this that there is still a long way to go based on Autism Awareness or Autism Acceptance.

In the end, we still have a lot to learn — no matter what it is by being an advocate or a voice for others to understand us better. Because of all that I have read so far, regardless of how we choose to approach autism advocacy in the future. So, to end this I shall say may many of you choose to wear #redinstead.

Being an Autistic! What it means to me! (Autism Acceptance/Awareness Month April [2019])

Wow! Just wow. What can I say? This is so mind blowing and overwhelming for me. I mean – I do know what I mean and know what I want to say. Just as an afterthought knowing now that there are many others like me but may experience life as an Autistic more different to me. Every Autistic I know or have spoken to will have a different story to share with their experiences and so much more. While I am sitting here right now, I never thought I would write this down in my journal of my thoughts but today, here I am. Ready and am about to share it with you all.

Words cannot describe how much I wanted to write (and someday) spread this message; it’s something I should’ve done years ago; especially now, when the world is changing. It changes every day and it’s going so quickly.  And, within these changes that comes into play and or effect that comes with our everyday challenges that we face no matter what it is – big or small.

I never knew why Autism could be complicated, misunderstood or frustrating for so many of us who has been diagnosed with this. I am so surprised about how it is acceptable to be discriminated, stigmatized, stereotyped or for somebody to say to any of us, ‘You don’t look autistic enough to have Autism’. Yes, we may have heard this so many times before of this from others that are lacking of knowledge, understanding and more. It is sometimes out of curiosity or just plain straight out ignorance not wanting to know or be aware that this is real and does exist. It is impossible to deny how Autism can affect so many, even today. A long time ago, Autism Awareness was miles away and everything we have now didn’t exist. I can’t imagine to life in a world with no awareness in the present day. I believe that with the quote I shared just recently in my last post that I wrote that “The first step towards change is awareness and the second step is acceptance”.

Still, Autism can be seen in a different light; this case – its words; written or verbal communication.

When I was researching the term for Autism, I found that according to the Oxford Dictionary, Autism is a mental condition which can include having difficulties of communicating and forming relationships.  (Scrunch or tear a piece of paper containing that fact.) I mean, come on.

The Oxford Dictionary doesn’t tell us how people see Autism.

An online dictionary defines Autism as,
“A developmental disorder of variable severity that is characterized by difficulty in social interaction and communication and by restricted or repetitive patterns of thought and behaviour”. Needless to say again, every Autistic that has been diagnosed will develop different traits and characteristics of it.

Autism is something that cannot be written or read. It can be seen as a jigsaw piece, where it can fit within in us. Every piece we place becomes a person – not a label but a gift we were born to have.   Yet, many others will view Autism again differently. From an article I read from: https://themighty.com/2018/04/what-is-autism-like/

The responses from many autistic adults varies and their responses when they discussed it with The Mighty writers when they answered the questions of, “How do you see the world differently from neurotypical individuals? What do you want people to know about the strengths of your unique perspective?”

These were their responses: 

1. “I see the world the way Zacchaeus in the Bible did when Jesus made his triumphant return to Jerusalem. While everyone else was crowding around the gates and along the path he was taking, pushing and shoving and so on, Zacchaeus decided to climb a tree and watch from there, out of harms way. It gave him a unique vantage point. Without intending to, he drew attention to himself and got mocked by the crowds for it, but Jesus befriended him. Basically, Jesus respected his unique point of view. Just because it’s different, doesn’t mean it’s wrong.” — Susan E.

2. “I have this capacity for joy that others don’t seem to have, at least not in quite the same way. I don’t always express that joy on the outside very well, and it can be quieter than the way it would look in other people, but it’s there inside of me and I think people see it if they look hard enough. No matter what I am going through, I am able to separate it from the joys in life and I can still find deep, wondrous joy even in the darkest of times. The sunlight shining through bare branches and making patterns on freshly fallen snow is beautiful to me, even in April. The feeling of a purring cat on my lap, the first sip of a perfectly brewed cup of coffee, a happy little chickadee at the bird feeder, all these little tiny joys throughout my day, being experienced and cherished as fully as possible, even through grief and pain. Don’t get me wrong, it can be harder to reach sometimes, but I still try and I almost always succeed. I don’t know if it’s because I experience things more intensely or if it’s that detail oriented part of my brain that picks up on those small details, or maybe it’s both. I just know that people are often surprised when they hear about how much I am enduring with my health and loss and other life troubles and they often comment on my positive attitude and my strength. It seems to be something unique to me that a lot of other people have more trouble achieving. I can’t quite put it into words, I just know it is because of my autism, and because of that one little — but very big thing — I wouldn’t trade my autism for anything.” — Jennifer K.RESOURCES FROM AUTISM TALK

3. “Its loud, bright, flashy and it hurts, but I can’t get away from it. Sometimes it’s a good thing and sometimes it’s not. I’ve learned where my personal limits are, but I can’t always tell people I’m at that limit. that my life. I wish sometimes I had a “Waldon cabin” but I don’t. And please, for the love of god, stop calling my genetic makeup a disease! My suffering isn’t from a virus. [Autism] is in my literal fiber, it’s genetic.” — Yvonne T.

4. “I see the world as a confusing and huge place. Because of it, I take everything in all at once and as a result, I don’t always like being at social gatherings. I would like people to know that people with autism are just like everyone else and despite the level or whatever, we’re human. We’re not a disease, not a experiment for science, and lastly, not the people media portray us as, like “Rainman” and “Atypical.” We grow and progress just like everyone else, we don’t stay the same like the media portrays. I want to see the real person, not what media portrays. I’m done with misconceptions, end of story.” — Brookelyn R.

5. “For many years the only way I could make sense of my different experience was having the belief that life was a play, and everyone but me had the script… I was an experiment… that offered some comfort as I saw everyone else managing things so easily that I struggled with.” — Katy K.

6. “I see the world as if I were an alien from another world. I observe the people and my surroundings learning from them, at the same time unaware of what’s going on around me. I’m there, but I feel isolated as if for some reason I don’t belong and have trouble connecting to this strange planet and don’t understand a lot of what is said and done. I’m curious to become involved, but at the same time, keep my distance so they don’t see the things that make me different from them.”– Jay P.

1 in every 150 people in the world has been diagnosed with Autism: that’s about 0.667% of the world’s population.

Autism can be challenging for many individuals, their families and friends. Every day, they have to go through situations like meltdowns, unexpected sudden changes, and diversions; over-sensitive to noise, sight, smell or touch; or travelling by themselves.

Turning a blind eye on Autism is just cruel and it can cause so much judgement, isolation and fear. This can lead to sadness and guilt about one’s self-identity.

An identity is important for everybody and every identity tells a story. Stories are vulnerable and valuable to everyone; they shouldn’t been shut away from the world, they shouldn’t be discriminated and nor should they shouldn’t be stereotyped. Every page needs to turn; so all of us need to be respected.

So, why am I thinking about this now? Why am I so passionate about this? Well, I just want to let go of my past. I want to let go of all the things that have hurt me and my loved ones too. I never had the strength to write about my feelings or tell anyone about them. Now that I have, I can finally say I am going to let everything go. All the guilt and doubt was all there – but not for long.

At the moment, I’m trying out an idea. I’m unsure how it’ll work out but I hope it’ll help me to be and feel confident. The next I feel sad or guilty; I’m going to stop and start to think. When I think, I’m going to imagine a spell out:

A: is for Acceptance: is the world accepting me? If not, why not?

U: is for Understand: does the world understand Autism? Does the world understand me?

T: is for Trust: does the world trust me and allow me to try?

I: is for Identity: What’s the story behind me? Have people seen me or do I only see myself?

S: is for Say: say how you feel. What’s the one thing I can change about today?

M: is for Mighty: Remind yourself how you strong you are. You are mighty – and you can do anything.

And it’s true – anyone can do anything to make a possible change in this world- Big or small.

Although I’ve been called weird, a kid or stupid, I’m going to start to think about me; sure, I’m different but I am special. I don’t care what people think of me anymore; they’re just to have to learn to deal with it. I know who I am and I can take away from all forms of negativity. I’m not alone because I feel accepted by the people I love. My world is going to be inclusive and when it will, I will promise to treasure everything you have and remember that life is just the start of a new beginning.

With the world continuing to change, why not start sharing our stories? Why not start pushing yourself and why not start to raise your voice for what you believe in. Always stand up for what you believe in.

Changing the world doesn’t happen with a tap of a pen or reading a book, it’s about taking action. We all have the power to raise our voice and coming out of our comfort zone. It’s easier than you think.

We prove people wrong by letting the good things in; they can only happen if we do something. I’ve proved people countless times but that doesn’t mean I should stop.

I may be insecure but deep down, I’m more than that. I know that I’m more than that.

I was born to be Autistic for a reason. I was born to be Autistic so I could change the world. I never realised that until now but I’m glad that I manage to figure it out before it was too late. I’m going to push myself; I’m going to make friends with those who see me for who I am but – most importantly – I’m going to be me. Me, myself and I; and when I die, I’ll die, knowing that I have changed the world to make it inclusive for all. Until then, I’ll continue to do what I do – however, I will say this. I recognize and accept my story and although it’s not finished, I know that I’ll continue to shine like the sun. I maybe Autistic but I’m proud of everything I do. I’m proud to be alive, to have love for Autism and to have a voice to say:I’m Autistic and I am proud. 💖

Honest chat/Thoughts – My concerns for the Autistic Community

This video idea or topic has come about from some of the Autistic YouTubers I’ve been watching recently of the likes of IndieAndy and Invisiblei. While watching them two as well as reading some blogs about this topic, I thought to myself shall I really share my thoughts on this topic? What does need to be addressed is so much here in this.
So, just bear with me as this is only based on my opinions as well as to what I’ve seen and experienced in some Autistic Groups I’ve been in. This is a matter of fact, in response to them both of their concerns/worries for the Autistic Community as a whole.
I want to say that both of these people are brave and courageous to speak their opinions or concerns about this. It does take a lot of guts and thanks for sharing this with us. You are amazing and you’re honesty is real and that it is now time for many of us Autistics should be able to speak out about it all.
Just as a side note before I continue to write or share this video (which will be shared during the month of Autism Acceptance and Awareness month) that will come out during the week of Autism Awareness and Acceptance month, that you can agree or
disagree to what I am saying and vice versa if you were to share this with others, I would totally do the same in which is respecting your opinions and views.
I love to hear what you think of somethings even if I don’t always agree with you, I will still engage with you somehow. I want to be able to try and talk to some of
the topics that maybe uncomfortable for some people on the Autistic community so that we can be able to connect and feel included in some way.


Working together and creating a partnership with families, friends, workers and a community as a whole is an important part of inclusion, and can help children reach their developmental potential. Strategies that promote inclusion are also strategies that promote meeting children at their individual developmental level.

Let’s be real here I don’t wish it to come across as a lecture or a rant. So, let’s try to avoid it in that retrospect and also to respect our opinions of this matter that need to be addressed. What I’ve seen or heard in the autistic community has really affected me emotionally as we all should be there for one another and that we should be including as much people in our community,accepting one another based on our differences and so much more. Some of the reasons are listed as follows:

The first step toward change is awareness and the second step is acceptance.

1) Some autistics aren’t being heard or listened to what is going on and that some places now are starting to not feel as if it is a safe place or haven for them to talk to others or even just posting what they’re going through without the fear of being judged or excluded from the group just for saying what is going on or even if they’re struggling to use the right terms etc.

Some of this that been hearing or seeing, has given me mixed emotions and feelings through all this as well.
Sometimes, when all this is going on inside the groups, it’s just makes me feel not to be involved in the Community. I am trying to support others as it is a shame really as am sure that there’s others out there that feels the same way or come to some agreement of what I am sharing right now. It’s like that despite it needing the feels to be safe, some days I just take a step back or try to do some other things in my day and conserve that energy for other matters that need to be shared or thought out. Before, I want to continue to share this, I will hope that I can have this conversation open in the discussion/comments section for you all to share what it is that concerns you of the Autistic Community and what you think you would like to see changed. As you are aware that ever since I’ve started writing my blog or even started my channel that I’ve been as real and honest with you guys and inviting you guys on a journey with me as a whole to see what life is like and that I am always willing to try and open up the floorboard to many discussions of different topics and I do my utmost best to answer any questions or concerns.

2) Is having others to try and speak out for or behalf of the Autistic Community- Yes, I believe that many are autistic themselves. Regardless of the connectivity that we are in of the spectrum for Autism and how close we are by having some similar interests to one another yet we are all different and unique souls that I feel right now it’s not right or not even anyone should have the place to at least for anybody to speak on behalf of every autistic person regardless of how autistic or not that they are and how involved that they are in based on the experiences that they may have as every experience we have is different to one another. There are a few people that try to speak on behalf of the autistic community that I may not agree with and vice versa and it is about respecting each others different opinions when it is shared and not to slap it back in our face if you wanted our opinion. Sure, I may see it from a different angle yet sometimes some things need to be met somehow I may say or think differently even if they think that they are right all the time or try to correct me with a few things and that is fine to point but what I am getting at is just they will want to correct you and I know that there are some autistics that are still learning about themselves and others around them.

I don’t need anyone to speak for me as I am able to speak for myself in terms to what or how I feel or think. Accept it or reject it.


3) Another scenario right now I’ve seen and heard about is the language preferences barrier between us all.

The preferences to what you wish to be called like I hear alot of people saying what they want to be called. I talked about this in one of my videos which will link here and in the icard and description for you to gain more understanding here to what I am trying to say. Example for this to gain a better understanding is that someone may tweet something like, “I met a person who has autism today.” Then you may have someone that is autistic and is again trying to speak for the whole of the autistic community something like,
“On behalf of the autistic community, we’d prefer you to say autistic person.” Yes, I do understand that this is an opinion that alot of people on the spectrum may share but I have preferably have no preference to a point yet I like the feel of the term Aspie for me to be called.
I did share some of the terms that maybe are being used in one of my videos which I will link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKGJu0C9Ygg&t=1s

We need to be patient and be able to guide them the right way. Sometimes, somethings that are being shared with the ones that are trying to agree with you at all cost. It is okay to not agree with a few things.
Here I am saying, “Please stop and think to what you’re saying and doing as not all autistics may want this or like this or even agree to some of this to what you are saying to me.” We need to respect each others differences of opinions
and thoughts etc.

I don’t force my opinion on others as I just accept others to how they want or what they want to be called autistic, aspie etc. I don’t like people from some of the Autistic Community to speak on my behalf as I am able to speak my opinions and thoughts
on different matters that may matter to me and may not matter to you and vice versa. This also goes to trying to speak on my behalf to share their opinions and views and trying to force it upon me to believe that also when I have come to the point of my life I do my own research etc to line up to what I believe in of my views and opinions. It is again a matter of respecting our differences of opinions and differences of our thoughts.
Just differences in general as well. Some people may have a preference of the language that is fine with me absolutely and others don’t in my case myself
and maybe a minority of us that don’t. This isn’t a bad thing. It’s not a right thing or wrong thing. Preferences to language if you do or you don’t is totally cool with me. I will respect that and that goes the other way too. I don’t usually have a preference with language and that sometimes if you’ve watched some of my videos that I may say a few things out of my mouth, like blah blah and sometimes, I don’t filter my language properly and sometimes
as you know that when it comes to my speech yes, I speak fast as sometimes my mind is engaging before my mouth or vice versa. I don’t usually police my own terms that I use. As you’re aware I use the variety of terms that are usually used example, Aspie, Aspergers Syndrome, Autism, Autistics and so on. I know that this can be a bad thing when you’re in an autistic community as I see that most people have a rigidiy of preferences and I try to care and then again not to care as we should be able to express ourselves and be ourselves in the community that we are in. For people that are trying to speak on my behalf telling me how I should be addressing others in the community and not very often I will speak about this due to the fear of being judged, fear of getting a backlash from them etc. For having some form of language right now, it’s a big thing in the community right now at this given moment. And, you may be seen as you know why isn’t this important to you as it is to us? It should be important to you! I’m like trying to say what I want to say and mean and then I get a few handful of people that will attack me and then I am like needing to have to apologise when it shouldn’t have to be necessary or even trying to validate my
feelings or thoughts if they’re valid. I will be like sorry I can’t forever change how my brain is wired and how it is working like a strip of film having to act
a certain way etc and that is coming to the term of “Shapeshifing” which again I discussed this and you can view it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yrNF9_jG6A

I shouldn’t have to change something about me or say turning on and off a switch just to be on the right side of you. I would rather try and be as open, honest
and transparent to the point of the important topics/matters that I wish to share with you will as well as promoting an open honest conversation with you all
that doesn’t involve policing language and that for others to be able to feel safe and be able to express themselves and openly be able to feel what and how
they are really feeling like they’re saying something wrong or not saying it correctly. I’ve rather invite and promote these type of conversations than promoting
conversations that you have to say everything one hundred percent correct all the time. Yes, we may have some weaknesses in some areas of either communication or some
form of language that needs to be had/shared. I may see or hear someone saying something that isn’t right or even about to offend someone but not me but maybe to the
person who they’re talking to or addressing some form of topic to that person then if it does get to the point where it may feel it is on the edge of getting a bit
controversial or political – if I can and will I will try my hardest to politely correct them and will address it like, “I totally get what you mean, you made a really
good point and thanks for contributing to the conversation – just a heads up this tem or this way of wording what you’re wording can be a little bit offensive to some people. Or even some people may even not like this at all so in future this is something that you should think about before contributing or sharing your thoughts.
How about we go about saying this instead and guide them through that process gently and not in a judgemental way. I will carry that conversation yet I won’t totally
shut the conversation down despite that there has been a few instances in some of the groups that has happened to me and some fellow Autistics. Just as the conversations
we have are flowing and that they’re going okay and that it’s still open and we should be able to not be triggered to what others may say.

4) When I have been in the autistic community that sometimes, as shared earlier or just now that some of the conversations that are being had either
that they’re being shutdown or they are just like getting bullied or even removed from the group from the admin/moderator

Why am I feeling this way? Why don’t feel as if I’m accepted.

Refer to: What an Autistic Shutdown feels like for me – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Naf9F2dBR5w&t=8s

A huge example to illustrate to get a better understanding about how we work as Autistics that there is someone that’s outside our community group and that they want to know more and are curious, ask some questions or just one question to start that conversation of a topic that they may want to know more of like a person with autism as opposed to someone who is autistic. Yes, for many of us who are autistics we aren’t all experts in the field of Autism even though we live with it we share our life stories and experiences
to what we go through on a daily with it. We know for a fact that there has been so many myths/misconceptions and this is still a mystery to the puzzle. Some people in the group that may be policing the language that needs to be said and that some may say, “You shouldn’t say that on behalf of this community, you
should say autistic person.” And then they may not respond to the question or don’t like invite a continuing conversation and then the conversation stops or ‘ shutdown and then the person who’s trying to learn and get involved somehow, will end up leaving having a negative response or negative thoughts of what the community that they’re trying to be a part of is really about. I feel as if somehow some of us on the community is preventing people that are interested to learn more about us and the community to come to some understanding about us as well as us we should be creating awareness and acceptance of each other. Maybe to better understand someone that they may know of that has autism or someone that they’re maybe being their support person to understand how they go about things in an everyday situation. Whatever the reason, again I can’t stress it enough that we should be able to feel included and accepted. We know that we are sometimes misunderstood when we are autistics. Yes, we are always going to ask questions and be the mister Curious George. Yet, the ones that are in the community are solely focusing on the way of how some words are said and how they approach that matter or address these different topics at hand.
I have seen in some autistic groups for some that are wanting to know more about us that there are statements, curiosities, questions and so much more that
is coming from a lack of understanding yet isn’t malicious as these type of people are just trying to be friendly and may be cautious at the same time. With that lack of understanding then some of the autistics in the community will lash out at them in a negative way. You see some of the autistics in the community will put up a wall of defense or a guard up and expect others to know what to say and how to say it to them and then it is like “Don’t say anything to us until you get these terms right!” This really hurts me when I see or hear others that goes through some experiences like this as we should all be about inclusivity and trying to gain a better understanding about us a bit more and so on and so forth. Please don’t go bashing me as don’t get me wrong that there are a minority of people
in the Autistic community that’s not like this at all. I know that there are loads of people that are willing to open up and answer any questions that you may have
and open up for conversations regardless of language. They’ll talk from their own personal experiences as opposed to talking on behalf of everybody.


Social exclusion is a form of discrimination. It occurs when people are wholly or partially excluded from participating in the economic, social and political life of their community, based on their belonging to a certain social class, category or group .

To end this afterthought: Let’s be real I am worried and concerned about the long term effects and consequences of this because the more the conversations that were to be had and that they’re
being shutdown along with the refusal of not involving people or including others that may not know about the Autistic Community from when they didn’t do it correctly or
with the right language. I feel that we are separating ourselves to the point of no return and that there are some Autistics in the community that their main goal in terms of advocacy and awareness is inclusion and acceptance. We need to bridge that gap between people who are and who are not on the spectrum and this is sadly as I can see isn’t happening at the moment because of the way certain members in the community is acting and behaving towards others. Like shutting each other down or even just some topics down and refusing to talk because it’s not seen as correct in their eyes. Or their opinions/views has gone in a way of having a very open and honest discussion to educate and advocate. From my experience at hand, I know firsthand with the many conversations I’ve had
with people that may want to have an autistic friendly environment, or to open up some services to us Autistics, and that they’re worried it may not be deemed good enough or seen as good enough in our community and that they may get backlash from it. Because, everything that they do, will not appeal to everybody.
Or be deemed as not suitable for everybody based on their needs and so much more. They may have others judging them for not being autism inclusive and it’s not
autism friendly. This really upsets me to see or hear this as there are some people that are willing to open their doors to many of us Autistics and giving us a chance in employment as well as just wanting to learn more about our community in general as well as in terms of their business as well as being worried to how we are going to react. People are afraid of us as we are monsters or something or just scared of our community as a whole and scared of opening doors up to us for a chance or an opportunity to work with them. I just want to try and share my thoughts or opinions and actually say to these one that are trying to give us that chance to not be afraid of us. I am in this community and that I wouldn’t blame them for being scared of us as I am scared to just being in a community that we still have a lot to learn and educate in ourselves.

Autistic, Allistic, Neurodiverse, and Neurotypical: Say what?

Autistic, Allistic, Neurodiverse, and Neurotypical: Say what?

Hi all and welcome back to an everyday life of an Aspie. If you’re new I welcome you all. I’m Aspie and I’m all about creating mental health and awareness and sharing my life story with Aspergers Syndrome and the like along with advocating, educating you all based on this and more.

So, it has been bought to my attention right now as read Autistic, Allistic, Neurodivergent- Say What?!! as a topic today. I wanna address to you right now, because obviously at this point of time, many of us Autistics get labelled as different things as well as normal people out there that doesn’t have Autism. And, I wanna hopefully just clarify up a bit so that hopefully in saying this that we don’t get any confusion or misunderstandings between the autistic community and the community out there that ain’t autistic. So, that hopefully, we can respect one another’s differences of opinions. So, as we know basically, like now and again we tend to question ourselves what’s the right way to address ourselves and the Autistic community right? I’m sure that many of us autistics have that same sorta question to ask ourselves as well as maybe just you normal people around us when it comes down to it. I want to like I said hopefully that in hope we can be familiar with all this because there has been a lot of questions raising above this like terminology that gets so confusing once in a while, here say as well by it all. So, perhaps like I said it’s about time, I’ll address it to you guys that are new or has been with me, journeying with me so that we can just accept one another’s differences of opinion hopefully, here say as well. Assuming at this point, while you’ve been journeying with me however, that you should know the term, so well about Autistic that has come out, what it means in a general way for people on there as well as the terminology Autism Spectrum Disorder that I clearly address- What is Autism Spectrum Disorder which will be linked above me while you’re doing this. So, feel free to click that before continuing on watching this if you wish.
Yet, some of you guys not all of you guys, I am not going to prejudge yas may still have bascially or hold some form of misconception about the everyday life of an autistic, you know – how they live their life and how they may label it but it’s all in due course we’re in the learning process together- be it Autistic or not, here say I reckon. You may have heard many of us Autistics or have been reading/watching some Autistics voices either here on the blog I have got also on WordPress or even just maybe through YouTube if you’re know some that are supporting and admiring right now. I’m just hoping right now, hopefully just while teaching you or educating you today we can learn from it and also in saying this that it will matter. Because, obviously many people may say, “Say what, Kerrin!” or shall we say, “Say what, Aspie?Are you nuts right now? Who cares! You’re the only one that cares about it and that I hear about it by many people saying to me time and time again via out on the street or while I get some of the comments listed below. As you’re aware that Ihave been using the terminology or word Neurotypical or as it is abbreviated down to NT.Which stands for neurology Typical or NeuroTypical depending on what context that you’re using it in- past or present here say. Which is a neologism that has been widely used in the Autistic community for quite sometime now as a label for people who are not high on the autism spectrum here say. And just to bear note also, I am now trying to consider after doing my research that I’m hoping to address to you all even though it’s running of late about basically autism and camouflaging.

Autism Spectrum Condition to be used so that we can hope for the best we don’t offend anyone that feels of any Autistics out there of that word “disorder” to the point where they may offended or rattle some feathers. So, forgive me on this one but back to this one now though. So, for this, NT in its original usage, usually it is referred to certain person obviously with not Autism or what have you. Right? So, you are probably thinking well what’s the case here? Because obviously in saying this its original usage was basically referred to anyone who is not autistic or a cousin with an autistic like trait or autistic like brain however in this case. But, this being said is the latter.

Coming into the neurodiversity movement, there are some terms that a new person might not be familiar with. I’ve been seeing a lot of questions about some of them,
and some misunderstandings about them as well, so it is perhaps time for writing something on these terms.

If you are reading this blog, I’m assuming that you know what Autistic means in a general way. Some of you might still hold some misconceptions about autistic life,
but I believe that to be a part of the learning process. You are reading Autistic voices either here or on the blogs of other Autistics, hopefully learning from it,
and that is what matters.

Neurotypical or NT, an abbreviation of neurologically typical, is a neologism widely used in the autistic community as a label for people who are not high on
the autism spectrum. In its original usage, it referred to anyone who is not autistic or a ‘cousin’ with an ‘autistic-like’ brain;[he term was later
narrowed to refer to those with strictly typical neurology, that is, without a defined neurological difference.

In other words, this refers to anyone who does not have any developmental disabilities such as autism, developmental coordination disorder,
‘or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The term was later adopted by both the neurodiversity movement and the scientific community.

In recent times, people with any sort of mental disability, whether congenital or acquired, have also sometimes been excluded from the neurotypical label.
In this sense, the term is now contrasted to neurodivergent, ND, or neuroatypical, an umbrella term inclusive of people with diverse mental and behavioral
disorders, such as mood, anxiety, dissociate, psychotic, personality, and eating disorders. The conditions themselves, following the neurodiversity
and social construction of disability models and in distance from the hegemonic medical model of disability (otherwise known in the neurodiversity community
as the “pathology paradigm”), are often referred to as neurodivergences—that is, neurotypes that are divergent from a given social and medical norm.

Neurotypical, as a specific term for its original purpose within autistic communities, has been replaced by some with allistic, or “nypical”,
which has roughly the same meaning that “neurotypical” had originally.[6] These terms refer to those who are not autistic and who do not possess another
pervasive developmental disorder, even if they may be neurologically atypical in some other way, such as having dyslexia.

The National Autistic Society of the United Kingdom recommends the use of the term “neurotypical” in its advice to journalists

You’ll notice that I use “autistic” rather than “person with autism” throughout. This is intentional. The basic idea is that my being is autistic-
the patterns my brain form thoughts in, the essentials of the way I perceive and learn from the world are autistic. Autisticness is, for me
and many others, an essential part of what makes me, me. It is who and what I am as a whole. It is as I’ve shared so many times before known as the difference of wiring in the brain and how I connect to the world as well as seeing it as a different pair of eyes to you guys. As you know, I’ve used term Aspie alot in most of my writings as well as through my videos. I am a person with Aspergers Syndrome. On the other hand,
saying I am “with” autism denies this reality.

There are many brilliant writers who have addressed Autistic vs person first language in more depth. Jim Sinclair, one of the Autistic community’s elders,
wrote a piece in 1999 on the issue which you can read on Cafe Mom. Many others have echoed and expanded upon Jim’s thoughts since then. Lydia over at
Autistic Hoya has written a number of posts on identity first language vs person first, including “The Significance of Semantics: Person-First Language:
Why It Matters” which ends with a list of links to other writers on the issue.

Some people’s constructions of how they phrase their identity are very personal, others political, and a good number both.
I have a mixture of phrasing for myself. My own preferred construction is “
Allistic, on the other hand, means “non-autistic.” (Some people use “neurotypical” this way, but I”ll get to why I disagree with that usage in a moment.)
That is all it means. It doesn’t mean someone is intrinsically better or worse, and it doesn’t indicate ally-hood or opponent-hood.
\It just means that someone is not autistic.

Allistic is a term that members of the autistic community came up with. While the earliest mention I can find (Zefram, Fysh.org, 2003)
is constructed to work in a parody, the word construction makes a lot of sense. So much so, in fact, that Zefram’s work isn’t known to many community
members now using the term. In Zefram’s postscript, it is explained that the construction is based on the way that the word “autistic” is constructed:

The word “allism”, invented for this article, is intended to precisely complement “autism”.
It is based on the Greek word “allos”, meaning “other”, just as “autos” (in “autism”) means
“self”. […]

This explanation of “allistic”‘s construction continues to be in use. As some might note, the relative constructions of “autistic”
and “allistic” are not dissimilar to the relationship between the words “transgender” and “cisgender.” Even if the alternative was developed to suit
the needs of politically charged parody, allistic is linguistically a more accurate term than some of the alternatives.

Neurotypical is often used interchangeable with allistic, but I would argue that it isn’t actually interchangeable. Neurotypical is short for
“neurologically typical”- within the typical range for human neurology. Obviously it wouldn’t make sense to say that someone with definitively atypical
neurology was neurologically typical just because their atypicality wasn’t that they autistic. Indeed, the Neurotypical/neurodiverse terminology has been adopted
by certain segments of the Mental Health consumers/survivors communities for this very reason.

On-going usage aside, from what I recall the initial usage was one that is synonymous with the current “allistic.” However, between the acceptance of autistic
cousins (those who aren’t autistic but who have similarities, including those with ADHD) and the penetration of the term beyond the initial communities it swiftly
became used more diversely. Eventually, the more diverse (and in my mind accurate) usage meant that a more accurate term for non-autistic was needed.
(Which brings us back to Allistic!)

Neurodiverse can have two meanings depending on what it is talking about. When referring to individuals, it simply means that the individual(s)
in question have neurologies that are neurologically atypical. AKA, that they aren’t neurotypical. Generally speaking this usage is not used to just
talk about Autistics, but is inclusive of other people whose neurology is atypical.

When discussing a population sample, though, it can mean that the neurologies represented are diverse. In this usage, the people in question include
more than one type of neurology, and may even include members with individually typical neurology in some instances. This is the less common of the two usages
that I’ve seen, though.

I hope that this was useful. For those interested in more information about the origins of certain aspects of autistic culture, I recommend you read
Jim Sinclair’s History of ANI, which documents the early days of the autistic culture movement through the establishment of Autreat.

Let’s Talk Aspie: #AUTISM AWARENESS VS. ACCEPTANCE- REPLACING AUTISM AWARENESS WITH AUTISM ACCEPTANCE. P2

Let’s Talk Aspie: #AUTISM AWARENESS VS. ACCEPTANCE- REPLACING AUTISM AWARENESS WITH AUTISM ACCEPTANCE. P2

Hi all, I was and have been pondering how quickly last year flew by. A random thought popped into my mind. We are now in the month of April which is dedicated for autism awareness month.

Other individuals will display their personal autism symbols be it a logo colored gold or a symbol that displays a multicolored prism of the rainbow to symbolize the individuality of the autism population. I am several months ahead of myself here but decided to present some early food for thought.

Personal beliefs aside, I propose changing autism awareness month to autism acceptance year. I will now present and share with you all my reasoning behind this statement.

Autism awareness, what does this really mean? Logos, colors and symbols that represent autism awareness are prevalent during the month of April. People equate the symbols with the autism spectrum. However, being aware that autism exists and comprehending what the autism spectrum is composed of, the challenges faced by families, children and adults who live with autism 12 months out of the year is a totally different and pressing issue.

For these individuals, autism awareness does not end when April comes to a close and all the symbols and autism awareness programs that are plentiful during April disappear and society at large goes on with their daily lives as autism awareness month becomes a distant memory in their minds. For individuals living with autism and those that love them, autism does not end in April. They are extremely aware that autism exists because the challenges connected with the autism spectrum are enmeshed in their daily lives. It is a lifestyle for them that defines how they live. Individuals who live with or have loved ones on the spectrum have gained awareness through experience. They perceive autism from the perspective of life experience which is quite different then equating a logo with autism and leaving it at that.

Awareness’ is resultant from knowledge. They say Knowledge is power. Knowledge can only occur through interaction and engagement with individuals and families on the spectrum and educating the public at large numbers. People tend to fear the unknown due to lack of understanding and knowing. Understanding and knowing are two different terms here. Let’s be clear here. Through education and interactions fear is diminished and a level acceptance is created. Tolerance should not be an ultimate goal either, as tolerance merely means that society tolerates a certain population. ie People tolerate mosquitoes at a cookout yet find them annoying at the same time. People on the spectrum and their families are human beings who should not merely be tolerated but accepted and embraced as meaningful members of society.
Lets create a better society where autism colors and logos are equated with action. Support and seek out to understand the challenges of those on the spectrum by spending time with them. If you are a neighbor of a family with a child on the spectrum, stop by their house with a coffee for the parents and visit them to chat for a while and get to know the parents and their child with Autism. These families often feel isolated, they often feel like outsiders in today’s society and the parents would welcome visitors who wish to chat with them.

Take their child out to give parents a break. Encourage your own children to include kids on the spectrum in their play. Inclusion is what any Autistic would want as well as acceptance for who and what they are despite being different. Yes, even if your child must adapt their play to include a special needs child. In doing so you will teach your neurotypical child a life long lesson, respect for others differences. Offer to babysit so parents can spend much needed one on one time with typically developing siblings, spend time with their husband, or merely allow a sleep deprived parent to take a much needed nap.

An increase in educational programs would provide a venue to educate the public. Schools incorporating special needs education as required parts of their curriculum, all parents attending required special needs presentations at the beginning of each school year to gain an understanding of the challenges facing kids with special needs and required in-services on a regular basis for educators. Perhaps students could be offered a course where they are paired up in class with a student on the spectrum which they mentor and engage in their activities throughout the year. I realize we have a minimal amount of voluntary programs like this across the country. (The majority of these programs focus on children) Considering the inclusive environment we live in, I would propose this special needs program as mandatory for graduation. It would prove to be a valuable as all kids will go on to work in companies with differently abled individuals as adults.

Aside from educating society on the challenges of families and individuals on the spectrum ,we must also shine a light on their capabilities and abilities to do more. Everyone learns through experience, not merely digesting factual information. Towns could start photography clubs, art classes, writing workshops, dance competitions that display the talents of people with challenges and their successes. Interview them in the local newspapers and display them as productive members of society, not merely individuals and families to be pitied. They do not want your pity, they wish for understanding and acceptance. Through this action, society at large will open a venue for society to understand and appreciate the talents special needs individuals embrace and not merely see them as being destined to be supported by society. You see, with your help they not only support themselves but live work and play side by side with neurotypical individuals who embrace them into society.
Education programs within colleges, polytechs, universities or even secondary schools across the world would prove a prudent move to increase autism classes offered as mandatory within their curriculum. Schools and life in general is so inclusive now that there is an increased need in assisting future educators by squelching myths and misnomers and teaching the educators of tomorrow how to hone the skills that people on the spectrum posses. They are no different than you or I. They wish to live a fulfilling life just like anyone else
Include individuals on the autism spectrum when offering presentations. After all, who knows what it is like to live on the spectrum than an autistic individuals themselves. Invite parents of special needs kids to speak at presentations. They have lived experience and would prove to be an asset providing knowledge and experience that cannot be found on Google.

Offer to drive an individual on the spectrum who has no license to school, the store, doctors appointments etc. Highlight the skills of an autistic individuals who may excel in math, English, science and more by inviting them to tutor a neurotypical individual who struggles in that subject. Remember, and individual may struggle with specific academics yet excel in others. By turning the tables we focus not only on their deficits but challenges as well.

Neurotypical authors of books on the spectrum could hone the artistic skills of an individual on the spectrum to illustrate one of their books, thus providing an opportunity for experience and employment. Allow someone on the spectrum to write the forward for your book. After all, if you are writing a book about the spectrum, shouldn’t you include someone with lived knowledge that a neurotypical could not possibly possess?

The opportunities to increase understanding regarding the autism spectrum is only limited by your imagination. What will you do to help someone or their family on the spectrum this year?

Autism Awareness month is now upon us. What is awareness really all about? I will start by posting a definition of awareness that I have mentioned in mentioned in my video as well.
According to the Merriam Webster Encyclopedia, awareness means: “knowing that something (such as a situation, condition, or problem) exists”
Knowing that something exists, is not quite the same as fully supporting the issue. An example would be that we may see a homeless individual on the street and feel some empathy for there dilemma. This is an example of awareness of a situation. An individual may express concern for the homeless person’s situation, yet walk by them and go about their day. Rather then walking away, the individual who acts upon their concern and offers the individual a cup of coffee, etc. has learned from their level of awareness and used their knowledge to take action.
This said, I will not focus on whether an individual wears the color blue, which I am aware many individuals connect with Autism Speaks and present negative connotations towards this group. I do not care if an individual is wearing blue, orange, gold, or polka dots for that matter.

We may or should be surprised and find that the meaning of wearing blue for one individual during autism awareness month may not fit ones preconceived notions. I attempt to look beyond the colors and witness the individual’s actions and character as first and formost.

In not doing so, I would be presenting myself in a judgmental fashion akin with grouping African Americans, Asians, Caucasians, Indians, etc. into a preconceived belief system. Example in point: All Asians are not smart, all Indians are not rich because of casinos, all African Americans do not play basketball, and all Caucasians are not money hungry baseball lovers. I would be acting in an archaic manner and stepping back into another century where prejudice ran rampant in harboring these notions.

In the same fashion that “if we have worked with one autistic individual, we have worked with all autistic individuals” This is a phrase that I personally abhor as there is a reason it is called the autistic spectrum. It is called a spectrum because there are many different degrees of autism. This ideology is an example of a preconceived notion as well. Individuals on the autistic spectrum present with varied personalities and needs, just like typically developing individuals do.

To take the idea of preconceived notions a bit further. One may assume a color is symbolic for a group or belief. For another individual, that color may symbolize something totally different. I will continue to favor the color blue because it is symbolic of something very different in my eyes.
For me, the color blue symbolizes promise. As I peer into the clear blue sky I see winter is fast approaching after a bout of rain and weather yet I can smile and be at peace to know despite these changes there is always something new to learn and remember. I see a beautiful blue horizon that has taken on a distinctly sharper more vivid hue then was evident in the winter sky. While peering at the Spring sky, I see promise of green grass coming back to life, the return of birds tweeting outside my window.

In conjunction with autism, I do connect the blue horizon that extends for miles into the atmosphere and over the ocean with realization that the autistic spectrum forever knows no boundaries. As the horizon is spread across the whole world in areas where our eyes cannot peer, the autism spectrum holds secrets that we cannot see. It holds the secret to individuals futures that we cannot see.

We do not have a crystal ball, tarot cards or anything that will try and predict the future for that matter. i.e. a child that was not supposed to speak, ends up doing so, a child who’s parents were told to institutionalize them suddenly gains an awareness of their surroundings that no one expected, the child who was not supposed to toilet or self feed independently miraculously does so. As the horizon connects us all together although we are not aware of the activity on the other side of the world, our children have a future path that we are not aware of.

As you can see, blue possesses a different meaning for me then it does for someone else. Lets get to know each other before making judgments. Focus on the advantages of autism awareness month. Breed awareness through your actions not preconceived notions. A color will not change the world but making a difference will. Help a family who is overtired from caring for children on the autism spectrum. Help the family do chores, watch their special needs child so they can get a few hours of uninterrupted rest or enjoy a cup of coffee alone at a restaurant.

Help an adult on the spectrum who cannot drive by giving him a ride to work or elsewhere. Offer to help him or her compose a letter if they struggle with writing skills. Teach a parent support class, offer to teach life skills for free to transitioning young adults. These are mere examples of focusing on not only awareness but acceptance and education for the autism spectrum as well.

Last but not least, do not stop with only making contributions during autism awareness month. Continue helping society to become accepting and a place where all on the spectrum can live, work, love and play 12 months of the year. For families and individuals affected by autism, autism awareness is a 24 – 7 life for them.

Parents, families and individuals without Autism are affected by autism will still be living with it after April is nothing but a mere memory. As families and individuals live with autism seven days a week, let’s make a pact to stay action oriented seven days a week as well as throughout the year. Keep your focus on the goal. When there is no more blue what will you do?

In summary: Autism Awareness month is April 2nd yet it is celebrated through the whole month of April. What is awareness all about?
According to the Merriam Webster Encyclopedia, awareness means: “knowing that something (such as a situation, condition, or problem) exists”
Knowing that something exists, is not quite the same as fully supporting the issue. An example would be that we may see a homeless individual on the street and feel some empathy for their dilemma. This is an example of awareness of a situation.

With all that being said, I will now and forever wish you all a happy AUTISM ACCEPTANCE YEAR. Please do remember, the autism symbols, colors and declarations of autism awareness will become a distant memory on May first for those who do not have loved ones or live with autism. For those families like mine, autism is something we live 365 days a year. Remember to continue, advocating, assisting, attempting to understand those who live with and interact with those on the spectrum daily. These individuals do not get put in a draw in may to be released next April. They are your co – workers, neighbors, classmates and hopefully become your friend.
My hope is may we all grow, interact, respect and gain a better understanding and appreciation of one another this year.

Much love

Aspie