Category Archives: Autism Awareness Month

How Could the World Be More Autism Friendly

Those who know me, and the readers who’ve followed long enough, are well aware that I like to focus on the positive. My last post was not the happiest because life has been hard and it is wearing on me.

We’ve been having conversations in the comments on this site and on Twitter. Talking about all of the problems and hardships Autistic people face in the world. In general I feel like focusing on your problems all the time can be a very dangerous thing. Shifting our attention to solutions tends to be much more effective.

Today I would like to write about my dream world – a world that is more friendly to Autistic people. Maybe some day, long after I am gone, it will be a reality.

It is a beautiful place, where there are always quiet spaces to get away when you need a private moment.  Every light switch has control for the light level and temperature, because everyone’s brain needs different lighting. (I like red-ish light and can not handle bright white, blue, or green). Natural light is used whenever possible and working from home is always an option.

In the place of my dreams you are always aloud to carry a laptop for notes, people don’t mind sending instructions via email, or handing everything over in writing. People wouldn’t call last minute meetings and would stop insisting on phone calls when an email is a perfectly acceptable form of communication.

Work schedules would be more predictable and people would not ask you to stay late for extra tasks at the last minute. (I just need to know when something is over – so I can conserve the perfect amount of energy.) Shifts could start at the same time every day and end at the same time every day (when you have insomnia one night working till midnight can throw off your entire week when you normally wake up early.)

Job descriptions would be more accurate so it is easier for us to determine in advance if we are qualified for a task. Employees would have input when job descriptions change and would be able to turn down new tasks that don’t suit their natural abilities.

Multitasking is a word that would disappear in my new world. Focusing on one thing at a time and doing it perfectly is far more efficient than doing several things at a time half-assed and in a rush. People would stop rushing you, and asking “can you multitask” in interviews – since most people don’t truly multitask very well even without Autism (even when they THINK they do).

Windows in large buildings could actually be opened so fresh air could be allowed in. Offices would have space for people who get cold easy and people who get hot easy so everyone could be comfortable.

Regular breaks would be encouraged and standing desks and exercise ball chairs would be more widely available so people don’t have to sit stagnate all day. Employers would stop valuing their employees based on how many hours a week they work and would focus more on dedication the quality of work turned in.

Office politics would disappear and work ethic would have more value than who’s ass you kiss. “Optional” work functions would really be optional (meaning your boss would never make comments like – “You weren’t at the last 3 office happy hours.” If something is necessary for a job it would be explicit not implied. If the happy hours are mandatory they should just say so.

Most importantly in this perfect new world everyone understands and accepts Autistic people. We don’t have to depend on unhealthy coping mechanisms like “passing”. Nobody expects us to act like everyone else.

It is a dream I have, a magical world. Some day I hope the world becomes more Autism friendly.

I’m Tired of People Talking For Me

My entire life people have been talking for me. As a child who could not express her emotions well – my mother often narrated how I was feeling and perceiving things (incorrectly) to the world.

She would make assumptions about the reasons I did the strange things I did and tell people these things as if they were facts – often times in front of me. Eventually I started to believe some of what my mother said about me even when it was not true.

Certain misunderstandings always bothered me, and many things were never worth correcting but now as an adult I am done letting other people speak for me.

I am done letting non-Autistic people tell me how I am feeling. I am done letting letting doctors pathologize me. I’m done letting other people explain my behavior.

This is me speaking for myself – a proud Autistic woman speaking with her voice through a keyboard, finally feeling understood for the first time in her life. These words don’t come easily from my mouth but here every intention is organized and clear.

After years of letting others talk for me, finally I am speaking up. I have so much to say that words pour out of me like water from a broken fish tank. The flood gates are open.

I’m tired of letting people talk for me – I’m perfectly capable of speaking for myself spreading Autism awareness (in my own way).

If You Don’t Read the Comments Section of this Blog

You really should!

This blog has grown an amazing community of Autistic people (and others). We have amazing discussions in the comments section and would love for you to join in. 🙂

Dear Society… Signed, Autism | Daniel Share-Strom | TEDxYorkUSalon

Daniel is a 26 year old man on the Autism spectrum. Like many of us, he “hates toothbrushes, loud noises, and brushing his hair.”

Autistic people are often summed up by the things that cause us problems. The world likes to focus on the negative aspects of Autism or the parts of Autism that make us different.

People with Autism grow up feeling broken and not believing in themselves – I know I’ve felt these things myself (although finding out I was Autistic helped me to accept myself more).

Awareness is not the same thing as understanding. Knowing Autism exists is not the same thing as understanding real Autistic people and their needs.

People are aware of the stigmas and the stereotypes without truly understanding us. Good intentions are great, but we need positive actions.

I can take NO credit for Daniel’s Ted Talk  below. It is amazing and shows great perspective.

How Autism ‘Awareness’ and the School System Failed My Brother and Me

Wow THIS article by Nora Burritt contributor to The Mighty is AMAZING!

I can take no credit for the article below, although so much of what Nora had to say could be my own words. The little girl below could easily have been me -or a million other invisible Autistic women.

There is a huge problem in the way Autism is treated and how women and girls are being missed . We really are invisible and grow up wondering why we always fall short of others expectations of us.

We wonder why we are not good enough. We wonder why we are different. Eventually when the pressure gets to be too much we implode and find ourselves staring down an official Autism diagnosis – despite all the signs being visible at childhood.

Boys are diagnosed as toddlers. Women are diagnosed in their 20’s and 30’s (or older). I know a woman who was diagnosed at 68. We NEED to do better. We owe it to our sisters and daughters.

There is a photo of me at 3 years old. I am standing in a meadow on the tips of my toes, arms scrunched up like a t-rex, hands blurred from excitedly flapping.“You were so cute!” my family members coo when they pass this photo. These are the same people who look at me and say, “You can’t be autistic, you’re a girl!”

I hit developmental milestones quite differently than others. For instance, I never learned to crawl forwards, I was speaking complete sentences at a year old and reading books by 3. I wasn’t potty trained until I was almost 4 and said to my mother, “I am finished with diapers,” and that was it. I would bolt and hide in clothing racks in stores and cry when my parents made me try something new.

Sensory wise, I was notoriously known for my aversion to dirt, anything soft, loud noises, flashing lights, and many other things. I walked on my tip-toes constantly, chewed apart all of my shirts and gel toys, rocked and spun enthusiastically. I struggled with math concepts to the point where I barely skimmed by. I used to cry constantly in preschool and elementary because I couldn’t regulate my sensory system or handle my surroundings. I was often in the principal’s office because teachers misunderstood me trying to comprehend with me being insubordinate. In middle school, when a psychologist brought up Asperger’s syndrome with my mother, she laughed and called him “crazy.”

See full article here.

Autism is not my disability.

Autism is not my disability, altough I truly believe that it is the root of all my “superpowers”.

My disability is invisible because I am able to blend in with society. People don’t know if I am suffering. When I speak up asking for help I am told that I am not “Autistic enough”.

Autism is not the disability, although symptoms of my sensory processing difficulties can leave me crippled and unable to function.

The disability is society’s misunderstanding of Autistic people.

Cure culture says erase the Autism. Neurodiversity begs you treat us with compassion, learn about us, and accept us as we are.

Autistic children are sent to therapy to help them look “less Autistic”. They learn to be still, and learn how different they are from everyone else.

We become self-conscious and learn that our differences are something to be ashamed of.

So no, I am not disabled. Society has unrealistic expectations.

 

10 Things Not to Say to an Autistic Person Video BBC III — Everyday Aspie

More GREAT things from my news feed. Again – I can’t take credit for this great Autism Awareness video but it was worth sharing. 🙂

I love this video for multiple reasons. It’s presented in manageable, easy-to-digest bites, it’s relevant, the participants are true autistics, and they share common challenges of those of us on the spectrum. Mostly, I appreciate how they are sharing that we are all unique. It’s nice to see fellow autistics; seeing them reinforces I’m not […]

via 10 Things Not to Say to an Autistic Person Video BBC III — Everyday Aspie

New 360 Virtual Reality Video Attempts to Help NT People Experience Sensory Overload

I saw the original video (without the 360 VR) a few months back. However this new 360 VR video takes another stab at offering an Aspie experience to neurotypical people. Once again I can NOT take credit or this video.  This video belongs to The National Autistic Society.

Remrov Speaks at the Autism Speaks Walk Montreal 2016

First off – I cannot take credit for the following video. All content belongs to the original artist linked below. This post has been shared in order to spread a message / educate / inspire.

Let’s set aside the controversy surrounding Autism Speaks in order to support someone who is out there spreading the message that Autism is only a “disability” when we are expected to act Neurotypical.

Please do check out Remrov’s channel (Remrov’s World of Autism) on YouTube.com.

The Invisibility of Black Autism — Discover

More from my news feed. I’ve written openly about the invisibility of Autism in females, but women and girls are not the only Aspies being missed.

Steve Silberman, the author of NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity, explores the challenges faced by autistic people of color in gaining access to proper health care.

via The Invisibility of Black Autism — Discover