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