A Letter From Your Autistic Friend


Dear friends,

You probably don’t understand why I told you I am autistic. You probably don’t get why I told you I have issues with comprehending people or certain things.

Here’s the thing: I did it because “comprehension” is what gets me into trouble. I tend to lose friends because of it. It can cause issues with communicating and understanding things in general. I tell people so they are warned that I don’t do these things on purpose. It’s just a part of who I am, and I have to work around it, but it’s hard to do this. I do my best, but sometimes my best isn’t good enough.

I get things mixed up. Sometimes I don’t even know I do it till it already happens and the person has walked away. I ask that you please try to be patient with me. I am trying. Please remember that it’s not you, and it’s not entirely me — it’s how my brain works. I try to be patient with myself, but it’s harder when my friends aren’t with me. I’m sorry for any misunderstanding that may happen, but please know it doesn’t mean I’m not trying to be a good friend.

There are many things I’d love for you, my friends, to do, but the most important things are these:

I’d love for you to let me know if you feel I am not understanding you correctly. I can’t tell when I am having comprehension difficulties, so I need people to let me know, “Hey, I think you may have misunderstood me.”

I’d like it if you didn’t treat me like a child or think that, just because I am autistic, I am in need of constant help. I can live my life on my own. Yes, there are some things I need help with, but I don’t need constant supervision. Being autistic doesn’t mean I am a child. I’m 23, so please treat me as such.

But most importantly, when things get tough, please have patience. I know things can be difficult, and I don’t expect you to be perfect, but I ask that you try to have patience with me. I know it can be frustrating; it’s frustrating for me, too!

Being autistic is part of who I am. It’s not a “disease,” and I don’t need to be “cured.” Yes, things can be difficult, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I just need friends who are patient and understanding.

We autistic people just need a society in which we can be ourselves — and it starts with you, my friends.

Sincerely,
Your Autistic Friend

Image via Thinkstock Images

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