My Autism Is Valid
I have a very unique perspective in the autism world. My autism is invisible. For the most part, I could walk into any place and you wouldn’t know I had autism unless I chose to disclose it. When I am with my colleagues with disabilities, I am often mistaken for their aides. I still have to deal with all the facets of autism, though.
I have extreme sensory issues and a lot of trouble socially. I have meltdowns and I consider stimming one of my greatest joys. This is where the problem lies. People assume because I’m so-called “high-functioning,” I can make it in the neurotypical world with no problem. If I let a little rocking slip, I get stares. I have been told I am making fun of people with disabilities if I am unable to keep my flapping under control. I have been turned down for advocacy interviews because I don’t sound “autistic enough.”
People need to recognize that all types of autism are valid. When my autistic characteristics really kick in, I can become nonverbal. I have hit my head against walls hard enough to leave a bruise for days. Even on my good days, people need to realize I still have autism. I have the right to claim my autism even if it’s not what you think autism should be.
Getty image by Victor Tongdee.