If I tell you I need something, listen. I might not have the energy to communicate your way, can we please communicate my way for a little bit?
I can only speak for myself but I am aware many autistic people will sadly have the experience of being spoken over by others. The ‘others’ in this scenario may not even be aware they are doing it, but it doesn’t make it less hurtful.
Listen to me. Please. I went to therapy for countless hours over countless years to be able to identify and express my needs and now that I finally can, it seems like it doesn’t matter.
We talk with Dr. Mary Doherty and Dr. Sebastian Shaw of Autistic Doctors International about how undetected barriers to health care for autistic people can lead to delayed care, serious complications, and sometimes even fatalities.
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.
Something that would make my life easier would be accessible virtual health care; in other
words, NOT by phone.
This means that people cannot conserve disabled people as easily as they used to. It does NOT mean that people with disabilities will be barred from getting the supports they need and deserve.
Pro tip: it’s fine to want to understand your autistic friends’ sensory and accommodations issues, etc., but please don’t frame it as a “Gotcha.”
For a person with heightened sensory sensitivity, clothing and accessories can make or break an entire day out; here are suggestions for clothes, accessories, and miscellaneous accoutrements that might work.
Jordyn Zimmerman’s story, as told in the new documentary This Is Not About Me, is an example of how non-speaking autistic people can blossom when communication becomes possible.