When People Tell Me I 'Can't Be Autistic'


A powerful hashtag (#SheCantBeAutistic) has been blowing up on Twitter lately, bringing attention to an issue I’ve been talking about a lot recently.

I was not diagnosed until I was 30 years old because people thought #SheCantBeAutistic.

They were wrong. I am autistic, and I spent too many years waiting to find that out.

Below are just a few of the reasons I’ve been told I “can’t be Autistic.”

#SheCantBeAutistic – she has a great job.

#SheCantBeAutistic – she pays her bills on time.

#SheCantBeAutistic – she works full-time.

#SheCantBeAutistic – she has a husband.

#SheCantBeAutistic – she has pets.

#SheCantBeAutistic – she is too smart.

#SheCantBeAutistic – she wears makeup.

#SheCantBeAutistic – she is very talkative.

#SheCantBeAutistic – her imagination is really good.

#SheCantBeAutistic – she has feelings.

#SheCantBeAutistic – she knows how to read and write.

#SheCantBeAutistic – she is successful in life.

#SheCantBeAutistic – she seems happy and warm.

People make assumptions and use stereotypes to make snap decisions about people. Autistic people are all individuals (just like non-autistic people are all individuals). I fight these stigmas every day when the way I present myself does not match what other people expect of me.

These assumptions are part of the reason so many autistic women go undiagnosed. We go our entire lives feeling different but not knowing why. We grow up believing the stereotypes we hear about autism and don’t ever think we fit that description.

Then one day we hear an autistic person’s point of view — like a lightning bolt, something stirs. There it is, the truth breaking through all the assumptions.

I wish the truth didn’t have so many obstacles, so people could just accept autistic people as they are without assuming how they should be. We are not cookie-cutter people. Every single one of us is an individual. 

Follow this journey on Anonymously Autistic.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Image via Thinkstock

TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Autism Spectrum Disorder

mother and two children waiting in line for a ride at the epcot center in disney world

Planning a Trip to Disney World With My Child on the Autism Spectrum

Recently, our older daughter, Kendall, kept begging us to take a trip to Disney World. We believed as a family with a child on the autism spectrum, Disney World would be too much of a challenge. Oftentimes our vacations are simple family trips without any large-scale plans. In the past, when there has been too [...]
Kerry Magro dressed up as Santa and as a penguin

Why I Play an Autism-Friendly Santa and Penguin During the Holidays

The holiday season is one of my favorite times of the year. When I was growing up on the autism spectrum, music became a form of therapy for me. This started with Broadway tunes but then also with an absolute love of Christmas music. “Silent Night,” “Jingle Bells” and so many more classics made me fall [...]
Close up of red candles with family in the background sitting at a table

7 Ways We Make Holiday Activities More Enjoyable for Our Child on the Autism Spectrum

Oh, the holidays. Just the word conjures up idyllic Normal Rockwell images of family gatherings, tasty food and joyful faces. But for my daughter, large gatherings can also mean extra stimming behaviors as she tries to regulate her sensory intake, and meltdowns. My biggest challenge of the holiday season as the mom of a child [...]
mother and young son sitting by pond

The Beauty of 'Just Following' My Grandson on the Autism Spectrum

Taking my grandson Noah to our local park is always one of my daughter Sara’s favorite things to do, but there are differences about him that some might find “unusual.” For instance, he doesn’t really like the fenced in yard where all the playground equipment is. As much as he likes his own slide in our [...]