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Celebrating My 56th Birthday and My Life as an Autistic Adult

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Man With Autism Writes What He Wishes He’d Said to Childhood Teachers

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Bryan, a man on the autism spectrum, shares what he wishes he’d said to his childhood teachers in a letter on his Facebook page, Asperger’s Syndrome Awareness: Bryan’s Advocacy.

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The Line From 'NCIS' That Spoke to Me as an Autism Advocate

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There is a single scene at the very end of an episode of “NCIS,” which I have been thinking about a lot lately. The episode is called “Hit and Run.” When I saw the scene, I was in tears because of how much I could relate to the character of Abby, a forensic scientist on the show.

In this scene, Abby is sitting on the floor in the office, feeling pretty upset. Her colleague Gibbs comes over to her and asks what’s going on. She finally admits she’s trying to figure out how to be OK with not being enough good. Gibbs responds that she’s not counting the hit and runs — the good kind. This is when you do something nice for someone now, and you’re not always around to see the impact it has later.

He eventually ends the scene saying, “The things you do mean something to people.”

I feel like Abby so often, especially as an advocate on the autism spectrum. I constantly feel as though I’m not enough good. Like I just can’t keep up and do enough for others. And Gibbs’ response is so true.

This is why it’s so important to let people know when they’ve helped you. Just say, “Hey, remember when you did or said this? It really made a difference!” Maybe someone let you go ahead of them in line at the grocery store. Or perhaps they let you know you dropped something important. It could be a stranger, or it could be someone you know. Whoever it is, and however they helped, it matters.

Those kinds of stories I get from people every once in a while really keep me going. When I’m having a tough time, they let me know I’ve made an impact as an autism advocate. The stories remind me about those “hit and runs,” which can be really easy to forget about, if I’m even aware of them in the first place. They remind me that, like Gibbs said, the things I do mean something to people.

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How My 3 Autistic Daughters Demonstrate the Vastness of the Autism Spectrum

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How many times have I heard the phrase “She doesn’t look autistic to me”? Too many times to count, that’s how many.

But here’s the thing: No two autistic people are the same. So once you’ve met one autistic person, you have met one autistic person. The assumptions and generalizations some people make on a daily basis surrounding autism astound me; they’re not helpful to anyone, and they need to stop.

I’m constantly surprised at how vast the spectrum is. Three of my four daughters are diagnosed autistic. So that’s four autistic people in our family out of six, including my husband. And we see it all.

I have one child who shies away from new people, and another who constantly seeks new social connections.

I have one child who loves to make loud noise, and another who hates it to the point of tears.

I have one picky eater, and another child who eats anything and everything she can get her hands on.

I have one child whose loves imaginative play, and another who is more literal.

I have one child who loves to spin, and another who hates it.

I have one child who is constantly seeking things to touch, and another child who panics if she has things on her hands.

I have one child who loves baths, and another one who hates them.

I have one child who feels the cold acutely, and another child who doesn’t seem to feel it.

I have one child who finds screens relaxing, and another who gets hyperactive from them.

I have one child who gets super chilled-out from physical exertion, and another who gets stimulated from it.

I could go on and on. I’m sure you can appreciate just how delicate the balance is to keep everyone happy and not overloaded. It is constant, and I have to preempt everything, offering alternatives and providing soothing items for the child who is struggling while another may be in her element. Trying to teach a child to self-regulate is no mean feat, especially when everyone seems to have opposite triggers.

Oy.

My point is: Just as is the case with any human being — we are all unique, and it’s really important to keep this in mind when discussing autism. Because sure, there may be a diagnostic criteria — but everyone fits on it in a different place.

Appreciate the individual.

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ABL Denim Creates Sensory-Friendly Jeans for Kids With Autism

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New Program to Help Kids With Autism in the Emergency Room

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A new program will help kids with autism in the emergency room.

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