Giving me space to talk and think will make my life easier as an Autistic person, because it means I will be able to be a part of a conversation with someone or with a group of people.
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.
A small switch in behavior other people can make, to ease the author’s life as an autistic person, is to “Tell me what to expect in advance! Especially for unfamiliar events… and in more detail than you expect I’ll need.”
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.
Something that would make my life easier would be accessible virtual health care; in other
words, NOT by phone.
Ira Eidle is the curator of the of Autistic Archive, an online resource that responds to “a need for better preservation of information related to the Autistic Community and Neurodiversity Movement’s history.”
Those who would deny people access to their most effective method of communication because of concerns about the potential for false accusations should, as Rua Williams recently wrote, “ask [themselves] why a false accusation is more harmful than the ability to accuse.”
If you don’t want people exposing your private moments online, then don’t do it to [autistic people]. Don’t have a double standard. Treat them in the way that you would want to be treated. Think of it that way.
At a time when there remains widespread confusion about autism and developmental disability, it is imperative that responsible platforms make a more serious effort to educate the public and to more regularly share valid, up-to-date information.
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.”