Autismum

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I am Autistic and I am Tired.

One of the most popular posts on this blog is Steve Summer’s 10 Tips on How to Communicate with Autistic People. He also wrote the moving Don’t Sweat the Small StuffSteve has, kindly, given me permission to post his latest note here. Thanks Steve and I hope you feel less exhausted soon, my friend.

I am Autistic and I am Tired.

Today I feel tired. —
Tired of being rejected.
Tired of being ignored.
Tired of being excluded.
Tired of being treated like an outcast.
Tired of being treated like a misfit.
Tired of feeling like others look down on me for being different.
Tired of being expected to try and act ‘normal’ to have a ‘normal’ life. — I am not ‘normal.’ I am Autistic.
Tired of people who think that just trying harder will make Autistic people ‘more normal.’ — Would you tell a blind person to try harder to see? Would you tell a paraplegic to try harder to walk? Would you tell a colorblind person to try harder to see the colors that they can’t see?
Tired of people who don’t understand Autism and who don’t make any effort to learn about Autism so that they can cure their own ignorance.
Tired of people who refuse to accept Autistic people just as they are.
Tired of people who presume incompetence.
Tired of neuro-bigotry.
Tired of the silence of others. Silence is *not* support.

Want to help us? —
Listen to Autistic people.
Make an effort to learn about Autism.
Educate yourself about what we go through each and every day.
Learn about how negative attitudes make us feel.
Practice Autism Acceptance.
Accept that we are different, not less.
Accept that we are different, but *not* defective. Don’t try to make us into a poor copy of your idea of ‘normal.’
Accept that we are okay to be ourselves — just as we are.
Accept that we are humans with feelings just like everyone else.
Accept that Autistic rights are human rights.
Presume our competence.
Don’t avoid us, include us.
Most of us have have social anxiety. Please be kind and reassuring to us.
Please reach out to us. We won’t often make the first move after suffering from a lifetime of rejection, exclusion, and being bullied.
Please practice inclusion.

I am Autistic and I want to be valued and accepted for simply being me.

*Steve Summers

I was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome (part of the Autism Spectrum) as an adult. I was diagnosed following my 11-year-old son’s diagnosis with Aspergers. I am happy to have my diagnosis. It was like a light being turned on that illuminated my entire life in a new way. Now I understand why I never really ‘fit in.’ It is like having a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders to have my diagnosis.

I don’t feel that people should make divisions between parts of the Autism Spectrum. I am autistic and I want to work to make the world a better, more understanding and accepting place for all autistic people. We need to work together for the benefit of all on the Autism Spectrum. 

I wrote this list due to continuing difficulties that I have had with the give and take of communicating with others. Many people seem too easily offended because they fail to understand these things about me. We all need understanding and acceptance.

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12 comments on “I am Autistic and I am Tired.

  1. Narfi
    25 October, 2012

    Those words made me tear up.

    I was diagnosed with Aspergers a few months back, but both my parents and my doctors have known that something was wrong for about twenty years. They just didn’t know what. My father came to the conclusion that if he picked on me enough, if he just criticized me enough every time I had trouble socially, I’d be normal.

    It hasn’t, yet, but that doesn’t stop him from trying.

    • Autismum
      25 October, 2012

      That’s so sad. I will make sure Steve sees your comment. So much work is being done on awareness but acceptance is what is really needed. I hope you can find it.

    • Narfi
      25 October, 2012

      I wrote this comment in a very emotional state, and not every part of it holds up when I think about it some more.

      I don’t think my father has made the conscious decision that scorn will help me socially. But he has insulted me every time I try to improve, pointing out how far I have to go. He is unhelpful, but I don’t think he means to be.

      But that still means that it’s a lot harder to improve than it should be. Still, I’ve received a lot of help from teachers and others.

    • Steve
      26 October, 2012

      Hi Narfi,

      I am glad that you feel a connection with what I wrote yesterday. I understand how you feel. My Dad never knew what was ‘wrong’ with me (from his viewpoint) because I was not diagnosed as a child. I didn’t get diagnosed until after my son was diagnosed. For me, the diagnosis was a precious gift. It explained why I had struggled, and failed, to fit in with the neuro-majority. It was like a light was turned on that shines back on my life and gives me answers that have always eluded me.

      I hope that with your diagnosis, you can find some peace in realizing that it is okay to be your Autistic self. There is no shame in being yourself. It is a relief to just be yourself.

      I hope that your Dad can learn to accept that you don’t intend to do anything to upset him, that you have a good reason for being the way that you are. We all need more Autism Acceptance. We have just as much right to be the way we are as ‘typical’ people have the right to be the way they are.

      You are not defective, you are different. Just like a Mac is not defective, it is simply different from a PC. And that is okay! 🙂

      (((Hugs))) to you!

  2. Jean Altman
    16 January, 2013

    I have an eighteen year old son who I believe to be on the spectrum, but I am having trouble getting a diagnosis. Most “professionals” are skeptical because he flew under the radar for so long. If anyone has any suggestions I would be very grateful.

    • Autismum
      16 January, 2013

      I will see what I can find and let steve, who authored this post know of your comment as he got his diagnosis as an adult. Generally, I find the thinking persons guide to autism site a mine of information. The UK’s national autistic society has very reliable info too. Sorry for not linking but I’m on my rubbish phone.

    • Autismum
      21 April, 2013

      Have you tried the Thinking Person’s guide to Autism? Different countries have differing procedures and I am most familiar with the UK but I will ask Liz of TPGA for help for you.

    • Sandra Carroll
      22 April, 2013

      my daughter didn’t get diagnosed until 26. My husband didn’t get diagnosed until 46. My first son was diagnosed at 6, and despite my bugging the doctor to help me with my second son who was displaying some of the same symptoms, he didn’t get diagnosed until he was 7. It’ s never too late. Just make sure you take your son to a very experienced professional. It can be such a relief to get a diagnosis, even if sometimes there is a grieving process. But it helps to know why, and what steps you can take to find acceptance, compensate for differences, and use strengths to an advantage.

      • Autismum
        22 April, 2013

        That is so true, Sandra. I felt such a weight off my shoulders when the Pad got an official DX. I compare it to being stuck on one level of a computer game – it certainly seemed as though some professionals were bad guys or objects to be negotiated. I found the whole process demoralising but ultimately necessary (the doc was referring to the Pwd as autistic months before he would formally DX and one professional told me the Pwd was “too happy to be autistic”)

  3. Ib Grace
    21 April, 2013

    Cwtch Autismum and Steve both so big. Love!

    • Autismum
      21 April, 2013

      Cwtches back from the Pwd and I. It’s great to see you here xx

  4. Liz Ditz (@lizditz)
    22 April, 2013

    Hi Jean Altman, Liz Ditz here. I wonder if you have had any progress since January. Let us know!

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This entry was posted on 25 October, 2012 by in acceptance, Autism, Communication, disability, Guest, language.

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