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When People Don't Understand Autism

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“Hello, how are you?” I say.

“I’m good, how are you?” they  reply. We shake hands, talk some more, and get to know each other. Then we say our goodbyes and leave.

Another week passes; I see the person again. We say hi and shake hands. Conversations happen again. The conversation tends to go based on the people’s personalities. They may see something different about me right away. Sometimes they may not. However, autism may come up eventually because I don’t want to ever lie about myself. The person will react based on many things. It could be their personality. It could be whether they understand it or not. Maybe they’ll continue to act the same way.

I always say nobody can tell I have autism. But with the people who don’t understand autism, it’s more of a difficult process to become friends, colleagues, etc. Not everyone in the world is going to understand autism and we can’t judge people for that. However, it can be disappointing if you wanted to make friends with the person. I’ve known a couple people whom I thought were really great, so I asked if they wanted to meet up sometime. They responded “Yeah, we’ll figure something out.” They wouldn’t ever make plans. But I don’t judge them for that.

I’ve learned over the past few months as I put myself out there to meet more people that there are some people who don’t understand autism despite how common it is. Don’t get mad at those people for not wanting to make plans with you. It’s really not them not liking you. It may be more that they don’t know how to like you. When it comes to most people, it’s not that they don’t want to understand your autism. They may just come from a life and family where they never knew anyone with autism. They may not know how to understand your autism. And that’s OK, not everyone will understand it. Unfortunately, that’s how the world is.

Of course, we all want to spread awareness so we can get more people to understand autism. That’s one of the reasons I choose to advocate for it. More people understand it now than when I was a kid but you’ll still find those people who don’t. Don’t take it personally. If they’re still nice to you, be nice back. If they’re mean to you, you can avoid them as much as possible. Not everyone is everyone’s friend. That’s how the world works too. The world isn’t perfect. Having autism can be tough regardless. I say be grateful for the people who understand you, while also being an advocate.

Getty image by FS-Stock.

Originally published: May 30, 2018
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