We’re honoring Autism Acceptance by publishing April Accommodations—meaning adjustments that other people can do for  the autistic people in their lives. (For the flipside, as in things that make life harder for autistics, please see  our Autism Checklist of Doom.)

Today, we’re hearing from Reid Caplan, who wants people to let them ask for clarification!

This seems really simple, but in practice I have found people have a lot of trouble with asking for clarification. As an autistic person, I’m often told my tone can come across as overly blunt or sarcastic, when that is not my intention. A huge way to accommodate me is to just ask instead of assuming, or assume good intentions first. It shows you are trying to come from a place of understanding, which is the first step in building trust for me.

This also applies to times of stress. I have a lot of sensory sensitivities that relate to my physical disabilities. When my symptoms are triggered, it causes a meltdown or shutdown, and recently this has been happening more when I go out. When people stare or assume I’m freaking out over nothing, the anxiety that causes just makes things worse. It makes me more afraid to go out in the future.

I don’t recall ever being asked if I needed help during one of these times. It would be nice to be asked, even if I said no. In those situations it can feel as if the world is out to get me. Any reassurance that others are on my side can make a world of difference. Feeling like I belong brings me joy. I want to be a part of the community.