We’re featuring “Slice of Life” conversations with Autistics of all ages — kids through adults — throughout April’s Autism Acceptance Month. Today we’re talking with Lydia Brown, who is eighteen, attends Georgetown University, and is an intern at the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network‘s national office.

What is your name?

Lydia Brown

Do you have a website or are you on Twitter? 

www.autismeducationproject.org &


What would you like a one-sentence description of yourself to say?

I am a neologist, a writer, and a student who gorges frequently on hot chocolate.

Do you have any autistic superpowers? What are they?

I have very hypersensitive hearing, and I also learn languages very quickly. Not so fast as to be on par with Daniel Tammet, but much more quickly than the average person. According to some native Spanish speakers, I’ve lost any trace of an American accent in my spoken Spanish. I can also memorize numbers relatively easily.

What are some situations that make you happy, or satisfied?

Knowing that I am respected as a person, or that my ideas are respected, or that my work is respected — whether my advocacy work or my creative writing or anything else whatsoever.

What are some situations that make you sad, or anxious?

Whenever people attempt to de-legitimize my voice on the basis of assumptions about my abilities or challenges, make personal attacks on my character or personhood, or otherwise treat me as less than human and less than a peer. But most egregious of all is when someone does one of those things to someone else and I have to witness it.

Are there specific topics you find particularly compelling?

I have intense academic and personal interests in worship in Sufism, Sufi music and poetry, Islam and American politics, inter-religious dialogue, post-9/11 national security policy, national security and public policy, religiously justified terrorism, twentieth century Serbia and the former Yugoslavia, the etymology of names, autism and public policy, the autism rights movement or neurodiversity, and my own writing and characters — I am currently working on my fifth and sixth novels simultaneously.

What are your preferred ways to be social?

I like to meet friends over lunch or attend scholarly lectures or other planned events with friends.

What traits do you prize in a friend, or companion?

Integrity, faithfulness, unconditional acceptance, trustworthiness, and respect.

Are there parts of your life you wish were easier?

I hate some of my sensory issues, especially around certain types of olfactory and tactile input. I also hate allergies. And massive amounts of homework.

What’s the next big goal you have for yourself?

I’d like to graduate with my GPA intact and pretty. 🙂

What does bliss feel like to you?

Being with the people I love, monologuing about one of my special interests to an engaged audience, or writing.