To Parents, From One Person on the Autism Spectrum
Ever since I found out that I was on the autism spectrum, I have loved being a self-advocate to help others. I started a blog about my life and published a book. I have made YouTube videos, written articles and given presentations. Of course, the views expressed are my own. But my hope is that people can learn from what I have been through and apply it to what may help others. I especially enjoy sharing my experiences with parents and caregivers, teachers and professionals who are looking for ways to help people they know on the spectrum.
Unfortunately, it hasn’t always been easy to help parents. Many times I would try, but I wasn’t able to join their groups online or in person. A lot of people thought I wanted a support group that was geared toward others on the autism spectrum, rather than for parents. Once, I was even added to a parents’ support group, but they told me they had accidentally added me, and then immediately kicked me out before I could post anything.
It was all so discouraging. I couldn’t figure out how to explain that I just want to help people who aren’t on the spectrum to better understand autism, at least from my own point of view. Finally, I read a blog post about the two words that a particular parent wanted to hear after their child received an autism diagnosis: I’m here.
That’s when I understood that not everyone processes the news of an autism diagnosis the same way. Some people are happy for answers. Others are scared of what the future holds. Maybe they are overwhelmed by the vast amount of information and just don’t know where to start. And still some need time to let it all sink in. Perhaps even all of the above.
So, to those who are lost in a sea of emotions; to those who feel that they might be on their own; to anyone who is ready, I’d like you to hear those words. I would like to say that I won’t judge you. I want you to know that I would love to provide insight into what my life is like, personally. This is not to say that I speak for anyone else on the spectrum, because I don’t. I only want to help. You don’t have to go through this alone.
The Mighty is asking the following: Write a letter to anyone you wish had a better understanding of your experience with disability, disease or mental illness. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.
Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images