For Autism Awareness Day, I’m going to show a side of myself that most of you never see – the advocate.
The acronym for autism is ASD, or Autism Spectrum Disorder. I despise this acronym because it says that something is wrong with me, that I need to be fixed. No doubt this is how many other kids feel, after speech therapy or social skills class which they have to miss regular class for. Also, don’t say “autistic”, it plants the idea in people’s brains that a person is defined by their autism, which they are most definitely not.
Autism is a social thing, but it’s also a sensory thing and just in general it changes how your brain works. Kids with autism often don’t have social skills like other kids, and their senses are running on overdrive. For instance, if I am in a noisy classroom, and a train is going by outside the school, and a video is running, my brain doesn’t tune out the train or the talking. I hear it all at once, and it drives me crazy. Also, kids who have autism don’t see things that are obvious to others.
When I have told certain people that I have autism, they say, “But you’re so smart!” This is not a compliment. To put these words into context, this is like telling a lesbian, “But you’re too pretty to be gay!” Some might say this is different, but it really isn’t. You are implying with these words that all people who have autism are not smart. Not cool, people.
Kids with autism get picked on for behaving differently, pulling on their clothes because they are not sensory-friendly, and covering their ears because everything is too loud. I have friends who accept me for who I am, and they don’t care about the autism. But not all kids are as lucky as me to have found a group of people.
A teen advocating for autism awareness in her own words and posted on her Facebook page. Printed here with permission from the author.