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What I Want You to Know About My Life on the Autism Spectrum

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My name is Alex, and I have autism.

They say my mind is extraordinary, that’s why I stand out. I never said a word until I was 12.

I’m learning how to live in a world where I don’t belong, and I say that because people like me aren’t usually accepted. When I finally did talk, everything else looked fine from the outside. So my biggest problem now is that people forget I’m on the spectrum, so they say and do things I either don’t understand or get stuck on because I can’t figure out what they mean.

I still can’t always look at people when they’re talking to me, but I’ve worked hard to get where I am with eye contact. I still have meltdowns, and I still shut people out, but it doesn’t happen as often as it once did.

I learn in black and white, that’s all I know. I don’t know body language, and I can’t read facial expressions. I also have sensory processing disorder. Most materials that aren’t cotton feel like knives or fire on my skin. I don’t like to pet things, and I don’t like fur.

On a good day, most of the time you wouldn’t be able to tell I am autistic, unless you knew what to look for.

alex with a bunny

I know what I want, I just don’t always know how to say it. I don’t always use my words. There are days where I don’t talk at all, and those are the days where I shut people out.

I graduated high school this year, but I barely made it out alive. I have no confidence or self-esteem. High school never taught me how to love myself or how to fit in.

I’m obsessed with cars. If I know you, I know what you drive. It only takes seeing someone get out of their car one time to know what they drive, and I will remember it… forever. I know most people’s license plate numbers without even trying to. I have to be careful not to look because otherwise I would know every plate on the road.

I want people to know that just because someone may look completely fine, doesn’t mean they are.

So be kind, always.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page. 

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255

Originally published: July 6, 2016
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