I want people to know autism is another way of being. I am weary of stereotypes that make us out to be less human than neurotypicals. I have listened to people talk negatively about autism since I was diagnosed. I learned to hate myself and think I was a monster for causing so much hardship. I can't let others continue living under popular ideas about autism. Let’s pretend you are like me. You can't talk; but having a thinking mind, you can understand. Imagine you are each day answering back what you mean to say. But only you can hear it. People hear your voice saying things you don't necessarily mean. They think that’s all you are capable of thinking. People see you stimming by your repetitive flapping or tapping. They think there is no purpose. They don't understand the minute you stop, the moment is flooded with lights that hum, loud sounds that echo, kids moving too fast for me to keep up with, and people trying to engage me. It is hard on me to put my stims away but I try. People see your hyper movement. They prefer you to sit quietly. It’s hard to feel my body in space. I prefer to move because I can feel my body better and peacefully work. I work better sitting than I used to. The reason is now I get interesting lessons.
Interesting subjects like math, science, social studies, and language arts really stimulate my thinking, ease my mind, and teach me something about the world. I was not always taught in the way I am now. Many years of my life were spent in ABA school. I was made to do my drills over and over until I was so bored and frustrated with my teachers. I would melt down. I am telling you ABA is not the solution. ABA is long hours meeting pointless goals like pointing to flashcards and pointing to my nose. If pointless goals are your passion, then I pity your kids. People need to be able to set their own goals. No person should be without a voice. I believe in teaching communication first. Meaningful communication means being able to say what I really want to say. People must believe we are capable and our minds are intact.
Most importantly, my parents have been great. Love is felt when you are accepted. Love is felt peacefully when you are no longer seen by your momentary deficits but by your attributes that make you a complete person.
I peacefully make friends now. I learn normally. My school values me. I make my own goals. My parents support me by communicating to others about autism and me. They play. They make my life as normal as possible.
I think autism is no better or worse than a typical life. Each life is special in its own way. I love my life as autistic.