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On Autism Acceptance and Awareness Month, Accept I Am Autistic


April is Autism Awareness/Acceptance Month, and I want to focus on the acceptance.

It has been about a year since I received the blessing of a late diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). I wish to be accepted for all of what it means for me to be autistic. It means different things for different people on the spectrum. What does it mean for me?

I wish to be accepted for my difficulty when it comes to making eye contact. Please know I am listening carefully when you speak — possibly more carefully than other people you know. I wish to be accepted for having big emotions — even though you might think I don’t have any at all. And along with that, I wish for others to understand sometimes I have severe difficulty regulating those emotions. In fact, I used to self-harm; now I stim.

I hope you understand that while I have great empathy (I am vegan for the animals, after all), I sometimes struggle with theory-of-mind. This makes it difficult for me to know where you are “coming from.” I hope you know I am still capable of love — very much so.

Please accept I personally know a heck of a lot about a little. I have restricted interests and would love to talk with you for hours about them. I will also try my best to be interested in what your passions happen to be.

Most of all, accept I am autistic. Don’t assume I am neurotypical because I appear “normal,” hold a job, have an apartment, etc. I work very hard for these things and am very conscious of the efforts I put forth to achieve what many neurotypicals could take for granted. Embrace the fact I am different, and be embraced for your differences, too.

If you struggle with self-harm and you need support right now, call the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

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