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 Sally J. Pla, who wants other people to believe her when she asks for sensory accommodations.

What is a small switch in behavior other people can make, to ease your life as an autistic person? 

To truly understand that my sensory issues are real. I need regular doses of solitude to recover from sensory onslaught. This doesn’t mean I am anti-social. I’m deeply social, but I do need a fair amount of downtime.

How will this accommodation make your life easier? 

It’s taken me fifty years to feel empowered enough to ‘take’ the downtime my nervous system needs, and still, I often feel like a social failure or disappointment. When friends and family truly understand, when they’re not offended at “I love you, but I don’t have the spoons”—when they accept our connections and friendships just as they are, me just as I am—it means everything.

What is one thing that brings you joy?

A meaningful conversation in some lovely spot with an interesting new friend.