“What is it like to have autism?” “What do you wish people knew about life on the autism spectrum?” “What misconceptions do people have about the disorder?” These are valid questions often asked by neurotypical (NT) individuals, friends, and even family members. But the very nature of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) – being a spectrum – means that the disorder manifests differently for each person, so individuals will have different answers to those questions.
On top of that, many people with autism when asked a similar question respond by simply stating the obvious: Who they are as a person is all they know, so by what comparison can they explain or answer? For that matter, how would a person not on the spectrum describe what it is like to be neurotypical?
However, we found on Reddit many individuals with ASD who shared their experiences, thoughts, and clarifications to misconceptions about autism. Here are some of those answers, in their own words, to the question “What do you wish people knew about autism?”
9. “Autism manifests differently in different people”
“What would help me the most is if people could understand that I really am trying hard to understand other people. Something that hurts me might not hurt you, and what is interesting and fun to me might be completely boring to you. I sometimes accidentally offend others or take forever to understand a joke. It doesn’t mean I am weak, cold hearted, stupid, or not trying hard enough. Im a little different but its not a big deal, just have some patience.” – Reddit user aspcaweb
8. “I’m almost afraid to tell people I’m autistic”
“I really wish more people would understand this. I’m almost afraid to tell people I’m autistic because almost every time I have so far, that start treating me “special”. I’m not five years old…. Just because I have trouble explaining what’s on my mind and can’t always communicate with you doesn’t mean I don’t care about you/understand you. Not everyone with ASD is the same and many of us are extremely intelligent without the means to express ourselves.” – Reddit user Loveless1997
7. “This is all part of who I am”
“I wish people would understand that this is who I am. I make funny noises when I’m happy. I need to be shown how to do something a few times to get it right on my own. I can’t block out noises around me, because most of them are at the same volume for me. I have to wear a silicone chewing device, because it’s that or grinding my teeth from stress. I don’t like being touched. I have issues with volume control. I can’t eat some food because the texture is sensory hell. This is all part of who I am. I’m autistic. Always have been and will be. I’m living in a world that wasn’t made with people like me in mind. Have some patience, this is hard for me, too.” – Reddit user evilblackbunnyWhizzco