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10 Things to Learn From an Autistic Adult

by Gauri Rangrass, Social Media Intern

lydia wsj

Much of the work we do here at AHSS is centered around autistic children. Early intervention and therapy most often occurs in clients who are rapidly growing and learning, which for the most part excludes adults. We thought today was a good day to touch on adults with autism, and their perspective. Blogger Lydia Wayman, who herself is on the spectrum, outlined a list of things that she thinks people should know about adults with autism. Here are a few of them that we thought were particularly interesting:

1. I remember conversations from when I was two and phone numbers I haven’t seen in two years. But I need direct support in the grocery store and when crossing the street. The first sounds impossible and the second ridiculous to most people, but it’s the only normal I know.

2. Just because I have the words to type it doesn’t mean I have the words to say it, and when I do say it, it’s rarely as I wish I could. Sometimes, I can explain my quirks; other times, I need a keyboard and some time.

3. I am extremely sensitive to sensory input. The world is almost always too much, so I have to regulate my body as I react to every passing car, beeping machine, barking dog, siren, and so much more. It’s very hard for me to remember that I can ask for a break. Sometimes I walk away, pull out my phone to type or look over favorite cat pictures, or disappear to the bathroom (if there are no hand dryers!). I’m not being rude—I’m doing what I need to do to be able to be there at all.

4. I’m not a child with a precocious vocabulary. I’m not an adult who refuses to grow up. The boxes built for typical society won’t work on me. I’ll break them every time. Save those judgments until you know me.

5. I’m not missing out on normal; I’m happy with uncommon. I’m more isolated with another person than my cat. A keyboard brings me closer to a long-distance friend than a lunch date ever does.

It’s important for neurotypical people to try to be as aware of the feelings and perspective of autistic individuals so that society can become more inclusive and engaging with people with ASD. The rest of Lydia’s article on the Wall Street Journal can be found here:

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