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When People Make Assumptions About My Autism Functioning Level

I was failed by the system because I wasn’t diagnosed with autism until between 19 and 20. People assume that means I’m super high functioning. It’s hard living life when people assume you’re one functioning level, but your reality is something completely different. I don’t meet the stereotype of someone with moderate to severe autism, but that doesn’t mean I’m “high functioning.” I look like an ordinary young adult for the most part, except I have stuffed animal friends I take everywhere I go.

You can’t see my inability to get dressed, take a shower, or brush my teeth independently. How do you think it feels for your dentist to recommend that you need help brushing your teeth at 21 years old? Not very good, and that’s just one of the many things I can’t do independently. I’m not able to fix myself something to eat, drink, etc. Sometimes I forget how to do things like use a brush or a fork or how to drink. I also have difficulties being verbal, which leads me to texting my mom 10 times more than I can actually talk to her.

Just because I’m a beautiful 21 year old does not mean I’m “high functioning.” Don’t assume my functioning level. You don’t know what actually goes on in my life. Just say I look pretty or ask about my stuffed animal friend and move on. Stay away from my functioning level completely, because if you’re not really close to me and not a professional I work with, it’s not really your business. I have moderate to severe autism, but that doesn’t mean I’m a burden and can’t do anything. There are many things I can’t do, but I do run a pretty awesome Instagram, Facebook page and blog.

Follow this journey on Actually Autistic Adult.

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Photo by contributor.