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I Will Not Apologize for Being Autistic

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Have you ever felt you needed to apologize for things you cannot control? Have you ever been pressured to feel you had to say “sorry” for things that are a part of who you are? Did it make you feel guilty? As if you were some burden? Well, my friends, I have some great news for you. Don’t be sorry for being yourself.

For years autistic individuals, like myself, have had to apologize for our characteristics. Whenever we stimmed, we were told to stop. Whenever we rocked back and forth, we were told to stop. Now of course there are behaviors that need to be held in public, but the above aren’t behaviors that are hurting anyone. These are characteristics that help us throughout the day.

We autistics are various indeed. With that said, there are those of us who experience sensory issues. For example, some of us have trouble with loud noises, while others are sensitive to certain lights. When we are in situations like this, we use our autistic characteristics and coping methods to help ourselves feel better. However, society in its infinite wisdom tells us to stop it. They tell us that we look weird. But what they don’t know is that stimming such as this is helpful.

Society needs to listen to the autistic community. We are the community, we know what can help us. They also need to keep in mind that each one of us is different, so if one thing might help one autistic, it might not help another. Just like Dr. Stephen Shore said, if you met one autistic person, then you met one autistic person.

I know I might be coming off as being short, I just feel that if we want to be truly neurodiverse, there are times when we need to be bluntly honest. And with this being Autism Acceptance Month, now is a perfect time. With that said, I leave you with this. When it comes to society wanting me to apologize for being autistic, just like the kids say these days, sorry not sorry!

Getty image by Jorm Sangsorm.

Originally published: April 7, 2021
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