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.

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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.

Employment Issues & Struggles that Autistic Adults Faces

As we know that there are many times that when it comes to applying for jobs that it can be really difficult for not just us autistic adults after finishing our schooling. This can happen to anyone that has any struggles as am sure that neurotypicals do too. Am I right?

Over 80% of autistic adults are unemployed. And, there is only a small percentage of us working full-time or part-time, casual or other job types that you can think of. You maybe questioning to yourselves, why is this?
There are several reasons why we autistic adults struggle with jobs. The lack of education, lack of awareness and acceptance on autism makes it difficult in our everyday life. Many of us autistics see the world in black and white, sometimes we misread body language and other perspectives. It’s like people are speaking a foreign language that we don’t know. The way others teach us is not how we learn, and it’s very difficult to thrive, learn and to grow in a world we don’t fully understand. Most of us struggle with adulting. Let’s be real. You want to know the truth, I know I sure as hell do. A few people in my life has come in to child shame me for it all the time. They should know to not forever shame me and guilt me over traits I have tied to a disorder that I never wanted in the first place. Instead of listening to me and trying to understand my perspective, many of them brushes it off as real lame ‘excuses.’ Everyone pulls the “excuse card”, or as some may call it a “jail free” card because they don’t want to understand or see what our world is like in our eyes.

Let me tell you something that it’s not that we cannot do the job or even want to do the job or some form specific task to do in the first place, hell no far from it. I know a non-aspie will say ‘well if anyone can’t do the job, of course, they will be fired.’ In fact, we are more than qualified or even skilled for the job. It’s just a matter of fact, our differences aren’t accepted by the neurotypicals and that we have to be doing it to a set standard or some form of expectations from the world of the NeuroTypicals. Most of us autistics when that happens will then try to blend in or mask our feelings and thoughts, just to fit in and blend in to society. The workforce that we are working for is running on neurotypical standards and we are not like the neurotypicals. We are far from it! As I said that we are wired differently and that we work on a different operating system to the neurotypicals. Yes, we are all different and unique. We all have gifts and talents to share with the world yet it’s up to us how we should go about it and how we should be treated also can come into affect.
Some of the key points made will vary from person to person who is autistic or not. Not all autistics will be the same when they have their personal struggles with these but some do to an extent. How we handle our everyday struggles is truly up to us though in the long run based on the choices that we make at the end of the day- good or bad as it will bring consequences to it.

There are several reasons why job hunting is a challenge for autistics and for many others. But, before I go on here I want to make it clear that this is all about how the autistics feel through the way of trying to work in a neurotypical world of expectations, rules and their norms. There is no set reason why we struggle with job searches, landing a job and keeping it. I am just pointing out the most common reasons. If you want, you can comment on your struggles with employment that I did not talk about on this blog. The issues from some personal responses from autistics that are as follows from a survey that was made:

Below are some other reasons to some employment issues that autistics faces and struggles with and they are as follows:
  1. The Application Process!
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If you are looking for a job, the first step in the process is you have to apply. You cannot just walk in and ask for a job like the movies. Hell, would it be great if we could be able to have the courage to still do this today to meet and greet with the employer?

Application screening is the first struggle for autistic adults. Most applications have a questionnaire where it gives you a scenario and you have to pick the best answer. I believe also when it comes down to the application screening process with the questionnaires that they give you that it’s not always accurate. I shared more about this in one of my videos which you can watch here titled Job Hunting with Disabilities: https://www.youtube.com/watch v=VQkxNIwJABo&list=PLD1nCoeovTZ4qAdWVBrLu9BOZrJAnwoG_&index=9

Yet, let met share a bit more to how I feel about this. You see, an autistic person or just anyone may misunderstand as to how the assessment will determine if they’re right for the job. For example, it avoids picking X too often. The applicant may not know how to answer the questions or know what the question is asking. They will not even consider you if you do not pass the questionnaire. I applied for a job a few years ago to work at a gym to clean their equipment and doing database and with their application when I applied had the questionnaire. With this questionnaire, when I applied had a series of questions to answer about who you are as a person like your traits, your personality and so on and forth. It even said I had to pass to be considered for the job. I did not know how to answer most of the questions, I did not pass the assessment, therefore, they did not want me. I felt that I was being way too open about myself and I felt that how can the database with these questionnaires determine that this is the right person for the job. If that’s the case, I can’t get hired at places that do assessments on their applications. More than likely most stores do these sort of tests. Remember, neurotypicals don’t have the issues that we have.

Another video I wish to add in here is when I shared about a topic called: AS & Employment//Personality Profiles/ Are they Keeping us from Interviews or Jobs?
Th e link to this is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBqEysDm-O4&list=PLD1nCoeovTZ4qAdWVBrLu9BOZrJAnwoG_&index=11

I have watched a video on YouTube a series called “Employable Me” where it featured someone on the autism spectrum who struggled on an assessment they need to take to be considered for the job, they did not pass because of a question they could not understand. It feels like most jobs are made for the neurotypicals and not us.
One thing that was a huge issue for me is all applications ask for your work history. The person may not know what to put down if they have never had a job. I just didn’t know what to put on the work history. Yes, some parts of my CV has got some spaces in between many years of which I haven’t worked for a time and that there is a lot of reasons to why this is which I will not disclose here. Most applications require you to have references, however, the applicant may not have any friends to put down. The person may not have anyone reliable that they can put as a reference. The job will call whoever you put down so the applicant can’t just put down anyone or make someone up and add a random number. You have to tell them you’re adding them for a reference. If they’re busy, they may not be free if the job calls them.

Be sure when it comes to job seeking when you have a disability, know your rights, know the laws and be sure to know what is at stake when applying. Be prepared for anything that may happen!

Some of the other videos that you can watch on my channel as series is based on why you should think about hiring an autistic and they are as follows:
* Why should you (the employer) hire someone with Autism and the Benefits – the link to this is:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXygQhWbbpU&list=PLD1nCoeovTZ4qAdWVBrLu9BOZrJAnwoG_&index=37
* HIRING AUTISTICS in WORKPLACE/TIME FOR A CHANGE – the link to this is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8knIej9mUk&list=PLD1nCoeovTZ4qAdWVBrLu9BOZrJAnwoG_&index=47

2. Resume Screening 
I have recently been following some autism pages and one page posted a graphic about discrimination against us in the workplace. There are other issues that were discussed in my video called “Aspergers & Employment- Common Issues at Work” which you can watch here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZJ1WTV8vxE&list=PLD1nCoeovTZ4qAdWVBrLu9BOZrJAnwoG_&index=49

The graphics mention how gaps in employment or if the person had several jobs that were only held for a short time can cast bad judgment on us. Gaps in employment probably refer to the person’s struggle with finding a job maybe after quitting a job that didn’t work out. The several jobs refer to how we struggle to hold down a job and is fired after X amount of time. Most likely if the interviewer/manager sees the person had 10 jobs but only had them for a month or less, this makes the interviewer think the person wasn’t fit for the jobs. That person is qualified to the tee for the job. They were fired because their differences weren’t accepted or for other reasons. For instance, my mom refuses to accept that I need a time frame and direct instructions to better understand when I need to be ready or how something needs to be done. If you just say ‘get up early,’ that tells me nothing. How early? 7am? 8am? 9am?  As autistics need more information given to us so that we can be able to do the job for you and get ready for our day. As this comes into the territory for us to have a schedule in place as well as you communicating to us the right way. Some autistics will say it how it is.

3. The environment

I’ve mentioned that the setting of the job can play a big role in our ability to perform the job. People with Autism Spectrum Disorders have many different types of sensory issues. These can vary from person to person, however. Some are sensitive to light, cold, hot, unwanted physical contact, etc. If the jobs have a lot of people, it’s possible these sensory issues will be a problem. Take some supermarkets or retail stores or restaurants , it’s just too busy and fast-paced for me to work at yet I am willing to try and give a go if given the chance to work in one of these places. I know that there will be too many people, too many things happening to be able to focus on the job. It would be possible for me to focus on a job and there is a kid screaming around me as I am sure that with the skills or experience that I have that I can cope or deal with it and that I have the patience to do so. Not all of us can afford noise-canceling headphones. I feel some autism pages should have a giveaway for noise-canceling headphones or if the aspie has a YouTube channel/ blog, the page should give them the headphones for free in exchange for a review/mentioning the headphones. In my opinion, retails jobs or any job dealing with the public is not for some of us autistics not all. This is just my 2 cents. Everyone is different.  Jobs that care about efficiency I feel is not for us. We do struggle on the job for not being fast enough for the employers. 

4. Workplace Bullying

There are many different types and or forms of bullying and it can happen anywhere. Yet, this illustration is showing you that this young girl is getting bullied on a cellphone with the peers behind her.

Due to our social differences as an autistic, we are usually the targets for bullying along with many other people with different conditions. In fact, we have issues with bullying in school by kids and adults. I got bullied for being different and I just need an alternative method. I would get called names by the neurotypicals for not understanding their language. When if you explained it in a different text, I would have had that light bulb over the head moment. Kids I had never seen before hated me all of a sudden. I wasn’t given a chance at all because these kids listened to what people told them about me.

We can be bullied to quitting the job. Employers can even harass us. Someone posted in a group that their boss made a snarky mark about their autism. They could not quit because they had no other way to pay their bills. No-one, I mean NO ONE should have to be treated badly so they can live. This is why I strongly suggest you create a savings account and put money away to have for back up. This is why I am all for self-employment for autistic adults. Self-employment for anyone really. No one should have to damage their mental health or health all together for a job that doesn’t give a rats hat about them. If you were to drop dead right now, they’d replace you in a week max. 

Some links that you can watch based on workplace bullying series are as follows:
* Autism & Employment series- Workplace Bullying – Basics of Bullying Part 1 – the link is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C66VquU6cmo&list=PLD1nCoeovTZ4qAdWVBrLu9BOZrJAnwoG_&index=55
* Autism & Employment- Workplace Bullying- Why me? Office Gossip Part 2 – link is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MA_hKv-axqg&list=PLD1nCoeovTZ4qAdWVBrLu9BOZrJAnwoG_&index=56
*Autism & Employment/Tips on dealing with Workplace Bullying- link is:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqBFREN7og8

5. Lack of Communication or being misunderstood

Listening and hearing are two different things when it comes to our communication techniques.
As we know that poor communication can lead to bigger problems wherever we are, if it is at work or even at school. One could be our different communication styles and techniques that we are using on a day to day basis.

When it comes to us autistics, you have to add more context to us when giving commands or explaining something. For instance ‘Ben, needs the tape’ will not cut it. I saw another graphic on Facebook that explains if you just leave one-liners with no context it may seem like a passive statement more than a request. For instance, my mom mentioned helping my uncle in the flea market. She did not provide context, so I just saw it as a train or thought. If I didn’t have anxiety with crowds, helping my uncle at the flea market would be something I could do. She was actually suggesting it and I thought it was just a random thought. If you do not provide context like ‘please take out the garbage in a minute’ we will not think it’s important. Everyone is different, remember that. This can be extremely problematic if the boss were to give us a task but not provide those extra details. Say the boss says ‘Joe needs help in the so and so department,’ if the boss does not say now, at 3 o’clock, etc the employee will not think Joe needs help right away and the boss gets mad that the employee did not help Joe when the boss asked. Is it really a wise idea to put someone prone to hurting themselves or think about hurting themselves when they get yelled at putting them on a job where it’s highly possible is a good idea? This is the icing on the cake as to why I cannot handle the stress and hassle of a job. If we are not fast enough they yell at us which just adds fuel to the fire.

6. Workplace Discrimination

Discrimination can occur at any time of the day and for a lot of reasons and that they are based on our race, gender, sexuality and more. Yet, we need to know what to do when this happens to us.

Closed-minded employers can also make the persons stay at the job short, or stop them in their tracks. The aspie tells their employer about their autism to request the accommodations that they need to function. In most cases, the aspie is fired upon revealing their autism. It does sound like a personal attack because the worker has autism. In other cases, the person is harassed and they quit as a result. I was on Reddit and a person posted that they were fired for being autistic. I feel it’s more of their autism habits being read the wrong way, being found annoying by other workers and the boss fires the employee due to too many complaints/reports. When someone says they were fired for being X, they are probably saying the traits tied to their disorder was seen the wrong way.
Not only autistic people have this problem. People with certain disorders I saw an article where a Chrone’s patient who worked for Amazon got fired because of his illness. This was due to his frequent restroom trips. This is just to show when people say they lost their job due to their disorder, they were punished for traits caused by the disorder that they can not control.

7. Not working fast enough

As we know that no matter what conditions we have that sometimes we work better with no pressure or time constraints yet sometimes some of us do have that struggle to keep up with the demands at work. I believe that we should be able to still work in the environment that we are in as I believe that in some jobs we should be able to take our time and feel that we autistics especially if we take our time and are absorbed in our work we can get the work done more efficiently. The employee not being fast enough for the employer can also make keeping the job hard for many people. Which is why we need jobs where people with Autism Spectrum Disorders can go at their own pace without being bashed for ‘moving too slow.’ Most jobs care more about efficiency than quality. Which is a messed up system. Customers can also complain about you not moving fast enough. That rules out fast-food for us (or me at least) since you need to be quick. Hence what it’s called FAST food. Some of us can handle fast-food, some can’t. I feel jobs that care about efficiency are not for some of us. I feel jobs that care about quality are for us. me personally, I rather someone take 2 hours to clean my room and it’s neat than for them to rush and do it in 20 minutes and it’s just as messy as when the person started. Not everyone thinks like that.

8. Can’t get passed the interview stage

Waiting game is on for us all to see who will get the job we applied for!
Time for some questions to answer during the interview.

For many of us not just autistics will find this as a struggle to try and get to an interview after applying for their dream job. Why do we struggle with interviews? We all get nervous and anxious when we do go through this stage of employment. Some of us autistics will get read wrong due to us being anxious, not knowing what to say and so on.
Well, there are several reasons why. The person can take the questions too literally. The question ‘tell me about yourself’ could be the reason why we struggle with the interview. This question most likely is, to sum up, your previous employment or how you feel you fit the job. The person will think the tell me about yourself question is, to sum up, some facts about them like where they’re from. When a friend wants you to tell them about yourself, they want to know some interesting things about you. We take things literally, therefore, we may answer the questions too literally.. It takes us a bit to process and understand your question. If the interviewer sees the person taking too long to answer the questions, this can count against them. Sometimes anxiety gets to the person and it causes them to mess up the interview. Sometimes an unexpected question can pop up and the person does not know how to answer it. The interviewer will not know the interviewee has autism, therefore the interviewee’s behavior will likely be read as they are not interested in the job. I know this is rich coming from someone who has never had a job due to autism, you have to think about how your behavior can be read. We lack the skills to know how someone may read our body language, voice tone, etc. Of course, if the person is not aware of how their body language, voice tone, etc is being read, this can complicate things.

Some of the other responses to why autistics find it a struggle for interviews are based on some of the autistics that responded by a survey being asked:

A video you can watch based on this is called Job Seeking and Interviews and the link to this is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abaNnGKYZG8&list=PLD1nCoeovTZ4qAdWVBrLu9BOZrJAnwoG_&index=10 and another video to consider is called: Aspergers & Employment/Shall I disclose my Aspergers?
the link to this one is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugEtwC9iZRU&list=PLD1nCoeovTZ4qAdWVBrLu9BOZrJAnwoG_&index=50

9. Can’t keep a job down


Why is it that we autistics can’t keep a job?  It’s NOT because we can’t do the job, it’s because our differences are not accepted. It’s because of the employers’ or co-workers’ attitude towards us. The boss’s method of learning the job is too difficult for you to understand. You need to see someone do the action to better understand the job, depending on the job. However, there may not always be an option to have someone demonstrate the job for you to understand. You may need more clarity on the tasks you are given. We need a time-frame when giving a request, otherwise, we will think it’s not important. The boss does not do this when he/she gives you your assignment(s). The person does not do the job the way the boss wanted to and the boss gets mad. You’re reprimanded for taking too long to understand the job, it’s not your fault you need a different method or take longer on some things than everyone else. Or you’re yelled at for not doing the job the way the boss wanted you to do it due to missing details as to how the job needed to be done.

Again, some responses to some parts of the survey attached here to show the responses from the autistics.

End result, here is that the reason to why they can’t hold a job down or keep a job is due to having an autistic burnout or meltdown.

End note: I have mentioned a few solutions to these with giving you all some tips that may come handy if you are working with an autistic. We need to work together and be patient and allow us to show you what we can do with our talents and more. I am asking you to help us. Some of us struggle to find or hold down jobs. Think about how happy we will be that you decided to make it work for us when no one else did. For example: think about it for a second, solo/small game developers don’t have the tools that larger companies have, especially when it comes to promotion. Simply hiring someone to write articles promoting your game can really help you. Think about it, solo/small game developers don’t have the tools that larger companies have, especially when it comes to promotion. Simply hiring someone to write articles promoting your game can really help you.
So, what I am asking you all is to help us. Some of us struggle to find or hold down jobs. Think about how happy we will be that you decided to make it work for us when no one else did.

People’s Attitude towards EXCLUSION- IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT…. LEAVE

Today, more than ever before there has been so many cases or stories that I’ve heard from others as well as in myself to what I’ve experienced for so long is the people’s attitudes of others that are different either they’re on the spectrum, or if they’ve got some other special needs etc is that if they’re accepting of others or if they’re not. I have noticed that some people can be accepting yet they’re still unsure how to respond or treat others that are different no matter who and what they are. My question is do we really know what exclusion is of the difference between this and inclusion? Exclusion as a definition and reminder to us all is defined as an act or instance of excluding, the state of being excluded. So, therefore, exclusion is to prevent or restrict the entrance of, or to bar from participation, consideration or inclusion.

So, this is where the exclusion part comes into place.
Forgive me if I go off on this, but why is today’s society so exclusive to people and not inclusive like they used to be?
Why is today’s society so harsh on each other, but yet be so nice at the same time?
I guess it depends on how you are raised and how you are brought up, and how you value others and their respect, and how you value others and their feelings, for when you include someone, you accept their emotions, you accept their feelings, you accept for who they are, you accept the type of person they are, and you love them nonetheless.
Exclusion and the instance of bullying is to separate from one person to another their values. Exclusion is the lack of self-esteem and a lack of self-confidence
and the lack of self-control, albeit being obvious that the bully has the utter lack of self-control because, they are being exclusive and intolerable to people who are nice and who are brought up the right way. Because in my opinion people who are bullies have been either bullied by someone they know, who were a friend to them, or they are bullied by someone within their family. So they have to take it out on someone else. They find someone else who they feel they can control and who they feel that they can be superior
of and start bullying people. When did that become such a serious issue? When did bullying and the exclusivity of people of separation become an issue to the point to where it has to have an end result of being a suicide or someone being hospitalized or someone being interrogated when they are not the victim, when in actuality they are, and when
they are the bullied victim, but yet they are the ones interrogated when it’s the bully’s fault to begin with because they were doing the bullying?
When did schools become so exclusive to the point to where they feel that instead of sticking up for their students and teaching them right and wrong where
they should be in school? When did schools become so exclusive to the point to where they feel they have to sweep bullying under the rug and not stick up for
the teachers or the students who are at their schools?
When did schools become so exclusive to the point to where they have no emotions or lack thereof with the students that are in their schools to where they feel
they have to keep sweeping bullying under the rug and not teach preventive measures? When did schools become so exclusive to the point where they do not allow or
teach bullying education in their schools to show what is right and what is wrong, what is acceptable, and what is intolerable to those who are in that school?
When did society become of age to when bullying became so intolerable that students have to bear it at their school to the point where they have to be taken out
in order to have an education? When did society become so exclusive that schools and school administration and higher-ups like superintendents have to be so rude,
crude, and not live up to their potential of protecting the students within their schools and keeps sweeping bullying under the rug and not protect the students
within their schools, within their districts, within their towns, but the whole entire world?

What angers me the most as well as hurt me the most is the attitude towards or to others that if you don’t like it then leave…
And, where I’ve come across this statement from others is from some schools, friends, teachers, businesses, organisations and so many other places that involves others
to participate and to get involved in the community to belong somewhere. As I am trying to do and here goes this word TRYING really hard to fit in if need be or to
blend in with my peers where-ever I am to participate in community events, community groups etc. I am trying my best and hardest to access the services I may need
for myself to better improve myself and to prepare myself in the real world of what we are to become. I am trying to make friends. I am trying to make contact
with others in anyway possible. I try my hardest to find a way that works for me to participate with everyday activities that others are doing.
When sometimes myself or anyone that is most likely is autistic is asking or receiving from others in return is rude and incredibly lazy, of the people thinking or say it in a way that is, “I don’t want to have to bother with that and maybe we should give up! Maybe you don’t need friends, maybe you don’t need the health care and treatment you need, maybe you don’t need the education, may be you don’t need to go to some public spaces and events that is happening, may be you don’t need a job, etc. All of these things that we hear about that we all or some of us may take for granted are stripped from others who just
thinks that we are either not good enough or don’t deserve to be in an environment that involves interacting with people. As we know that for everyone
interaction with people is important to gain more friendships, building of trusts, building of relationships and so much more. In saying this that there are often a lot of barriers and hurdles that we autistics have to go through and endure from others and everyday situations we face that involves as to participate that we face and struggle on the daily. Others can’t see it as sometimes they are the ones that does cause some friction
and some difficulties for us when we want to be involved and feel included in anything that we do on the daily.

As for us, Autistics who are advocating for ourselves to make it a better fit for us, for a little bit of flexibility and understanding, empathy and inclusion
can be frustrating for a lot of us to the point is that we may end up giving up and isolating ourselves from the group that will also lead to many other different problems. Just to hear the attitude of, “Well, I don’t think that I am the best service for you.” Let’s give you an example to explain it more, let’s say that your child has special needs and you’re trying to find a school is that is accepting of others differences and then when you come to meet the principal and teachers to have a quick meeting to sit down and talk to see what you can help and they can help to better these needs and meet them, then you hear the words, “I’m not sure, we have the capability to meet your needs.””I don’t think that we’re a good fit.” It’s in your best interest to find somewhere else. This isn’t good enough as we know that the parents are doing their best for their children to get the right education and training in their children’s life to better themselves and prepare for what is to come. This is so not good enough! Why is this? This is basically saying – “You don’t belong here!” “And, we’ll be not making any effort to include you and make our services accessible to you!”

And, when this has happened a few times in my life while growing up and still sometimes face this dilemma to this day, that I get frustrated and angry about this
along with other mixed emotions and I get a few comments from my friends and some parts of family to say, “Why don’t you go with your feet and just look
at it this way, that this company or organization is treating you this way, go somewhere else.””If this employer is treating you like this, go somewhere else.”
And this does sound like it make sense and is simple for many of us to up and leave if they’re not treating me the right way, I won’t give them my business,
time etc, right? But, at the end of the day how I look at it and feel is that I for one as an autistic as well as maybe a few others like me don’t have that many options that are left as we may not have nowhere else to go as again no matter where we go if we tried, we may likely get the thoughts and attitudes from others that “I may not be a good fit.” “I don’t think that we can accommodate you and your needs.” And, that’s why I’m passionate about what I am doing right now here on my channel as well as keep trying even if certain situations that I face may not work out for me and just keep moving forward with a positive attitude and mindset. If I can and want to, if need be I will try and find a solution
if need be yet if I can’t then, just need to learn to let go and say, “Okay this didn’t work and I can’t control this situation I am facing, time to let go and breathe and start again in a different way.” This attitude from some of the others that I’ve spoken to or met is saying to me “We don’t serve your kind here.” “We don’t want to accommodate you.” “We don’t wish for you to participate in our business no matter what it is.”
Some of the things that we are talking about here of the major important things in our lives, like going to school, making friends or trying to build up a friendship or relationship with people around us and going to some places that we like to go to as a hobby or interest.

You see where I am at the moment, I am trying to do for advocacy is flexibility and inclusion of others as I try to find as many possible solutions while sometimes, yes I can be difficult in trying to find the needs to be meet of others. The degree of flexibility and inclusion is important to me and should be for others that does advocate for others to make anything accessible that needs to be accessed. I’m privileged that I have a voice and can speak out my opinions and thoughts to try and advocate for myself. And what irks me that is that the knowledge that one of me that doesn’t have a powerful or useful voice to advocate for themselves and be included. So, that is one of the reasons to why I get angry about the people’s attitude towards exclusion if you don’t like it then leave. It may sound denying-ably enough on the inside but this is limiting as this denies people access to the right accommodation and support services that they need. I can’t stress it enough that all AUTISTICS WANTS TO BE INCLUDED AND FEEL ACCEPTED IN GROUPS. Yet, we face a lot of barriers no matter what we do or we go and turn. Participation for everyone is important.

The problem with creating mental health and autism videos

Hi guys, as you can see reading straight off the bat about what this topic is all about and I want to be real, honest and transparent with you. As you know that it’s hard as it is going to be for me as well as most likely any other person that has their struggles to do this
to be as brave as they can be and not to fear about getting judged or misunderstood. Some of the videos that are being shared can be restricted especially
in this area of sharing our life stories and experiences with Autism and many other hosts of conditions we may have which I clearly shared one of my videos which I will link here: and with that if we are all brave enough to make a stand to talk about it
then I feel our job should be done. Let’s hope that we can agree to disagree or agree to disagree or whatever to what is to come of my points I would like
to share today on my channel.

This video will share more than what I’ve written and will hope that you all will understand it better.

If any of you really know me as a person I love to try and help people and do my darn hardest to be happy regardless to what my everyday battles/struggles are
even if I do wear them either with pride or not.

So, let’s get on with the video now.

Point number 1- Representing the whole entity of the spectrum of Autism, can it be done?

Just hoping that this makes sense to many of you or hoping you understand to what I am trying to say but I will explain this to you.

I have now come to realise that despite it all that we are all different with different needs with Autism. We can’t all represent autism as a whole as it’s a whole
new ball game as well as being a spectrum of different Autism Spectrum Conditions along with us we all have a different story and life experiences etc.
I have also realise this now too.I believe that as a person with Autism or as I keep calling myself as an Aspie. This platform
is for me to at least share my stories and experiences as well as documenting as much as I can what my life is like as an autistic for others to gain a better
understanding and knowledge about who and what I am underneath autism and a few mental health conditions I have. I believe strongly that I should be able to be
express myself without the fear of being judged, criticised by others or others telling me what to do or say or think. I am my own individual self.
I am not to be born to be the same as others. I am born to be different and to stand out. I am learning to come out of my shell than I’ve ever have and am trying to
learn to love myself again and to not be hard on myself when I do have these really bad days that are thrown at me. I have learnt alot along the way while facing these
struggles and that all I can say is that I am blessed and humble to be alive and have a few small amount of people who are there with me on my journey.
We can’t live in a world of perfectionism. You can try but I hate to say it that you will fail! Being perfect to everyone will not be easy and that we should
just be able to do what we love. I feel sometimes that whenever I do something that I tell myself, “Aspie, you got this regardless of what you been through,
you can get through your day shining brighter as a star!” I’ve come to realise that despite what others has said to me I want to speak on my terms and no one else, I
did share about this topic about this which I will link here if you wish to view what I am trying to say here. “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlBD23cHcO0&t=616s”
I have learnt now that you can’t always please everyone and if anyone does attack you for doing the things that you love, you must be doing something right, right?

As you know or should know by now that my channel is about all things Autism and Mental health along with sharing you my life stories and experiences with it.
Trying to understand the whole spectrum is impossible and difficult as we are all different and have different needs etc in our lives no matter where we are in
life. There is a lot of learning and experimenting about the spectrum and all and just listening and watching some people share their experiences with Autism- to know
that I am not alone makes it so much easier. 2
I have noticed that when I have been in groups that it’s never easy for me to try and speak the way that they want me to as we all know that we have our
different styles of communication as well as just everyday struggles. For sure, I believe that I am getting better it is just a matter of hoping
others can accept to how I am wired differently. I have also mentioned about this in my video of the future for the autistic community again I will link it here
and in the description. When we are on the spectrum, there could possibly be some similarities of the traits and characteristics that we share yet again
we need to be aware that there is never a same autistic when you meet one for the very first time. We know that there wasn’t enough advocacy for the whole
spectrum. No one or anything like some businesses can represent the whole spectrum of autism. We can’t please everyone as I learnt that when I was nearing my twenties.
I did spoke on pleasing everyone or we can’t forever be perfect for anyone. I did a poem about perfectionism which you can watch here: https://youtu.be/ixPDwl9PeMI.
I have noticed that we have to be put in a box with some expectations that others would like to see from us. I am now accepting that I can’t please everyone and what I say or do or even when I am in front of the camera with you all that I do my utmost best
to make the best content for you all to enjoy no matter what it is of a subject matter or some follow me vlogs and more. I want to be true in myself based
on my life experiences to what I’ve been through and hope to share with you all and that something that I share may shed some light and hope for you all
that you’re not alone and that I can relate to some situations we face in life but not all yet also being your listening ear or sound board for any advice.
I will do my utmost best also to represent my side of Autism of what goes on in my life as well as just other hosts of conditions that I have yet, I know that
I’ve not shown any behind the scenes footage of what goes on in my life yet I want to do what I can do for you all. I want to try and as said give back to you all as much as I can. I am really humbled and blessed to have some of you that has stood by me through the very beginning and I can’t thank you all enough. I appreciate this. I want to try and open doors of opportunities and communication on my medias where you can be safe and not be judged even if you would like to
private message me that is fine with me. Most of us autistics are now trying to open doors of acceptance more than awareness as did share my thoughts about what
we need which you can see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPQcBVbW1pE (World Autism Awareness & Acceptance Month/What does Autistics want? ACCEPTANCE [April 2019])

2. Being able to help someone through my videos

I am grateful that there are times like these that people tell me that some things that I share of the everyday topics help them. I love hearing what you think
or even some feedback to make my content better as well for you all. I am hoping that with the other items that I enjoy. I also admire ones that shows
what we are as a person as a whole with what we share. I may not know everything about Autism and Mental Health yet we need to grow and share some interests.
I love to engage with you all about mental health and autism that’s personal. I hope that with some variety that adds a bit of fun about me?
Let me know in comments section.

3. Autism and mental health Advocacy

I do try to go to some events that is related to what I love to do and hoping that I can be really strong minded for what I love to do.
I believe that we can be an advocate in our rights. We all different for sure.
I hope that with whatever I share will learn from me and I learn from you.

I will hope to hear from you all of what you want to share based on this video that I am sharing.

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.






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.