Autistics have many struggles in their lives, one of them is speaking up for what is right. Because a common trait in autism is that we are socially awkward and that we oftentimes lack the knowledge and skillset of speaking up to authoritarian figures when something is wrong. This can be further complexed with anxiety, a mixed condition in autistics that enhances the incapability to speak to those we do not have familiarity with such as in a retail or fast food locale.
Over the years, I have become more socially inept through many hours of psychotherapy and speech therapy along with following by example. It hasn’t been easy and there has been faults. Recently because of the pandemic, the way of performing a key task of work has switched from a in person format to a more of a cold-calling over the telephone to see if a person is available to do a survey. When I interview a autistic or a family member of a autistic, they are astonished that I have the job I have, they ask me how long I have been employed. I tell them 10 years and yet again they are surprised. I remind them that it wasn’t easy at first but it is possible, as anything is.
Anyway, speaking up is one of the hardest things for autistics socially, especially in those who are verbal, and do not need support in many cases. I fall into this category, and I dislike this very much. I had one of those examples last weekend.
My mom and I were out shopping and before she returned me to my residence, I wanted to go to McDonald’s. As I had no cash, I decided to go inside where it is take-out only because of COVID. Otherwise I would be hitting it up for breakfast again (how I miss that!) Anyway, I placed my order for a Big Mac, that was originally for my mom, 2 cheeseburgers and a Coke, which I accurately told to the register clerk. I paid and got in line. Next, as I was standing, the songs were playing over the loudspeaker of when I would visit for breakfast with my van driver who is presently on leave, and for a moment I was jamming in my head. Then the crew member called out 299, which was my number. As I approached the counter and compared the numbers, I noticed there wasn’t a beverage, so I made the crew member aware of this and how I wanted it made. Not thinking to check the slip or the bag, I waited while that was rectified and I left the store. I returned to my mother’s car where she said she was trying to call me to tell me she didn’t want the Big Mac. I said I wound save it for dinner that night. She then took me home.
As I settled down to have lunch, I opened my McDonald’s bag and see the Big Mac, However, I quickly notice that there were three cartons of food, now I know this isn’t right. So I take everything out and realize that in addition to the Big Mac, I have 3, 10-count McNuggets. I called my mom and she was almost to her house across town, so if I want this remedied I would have to take a 20-miniute walk in each direction on a very cold day. I simply was too hungry and did not even have the patience to call over there., because all they could do is send coupons at the most, it would not provide an immediate fix. So here I am stuck with a 30 McNuggets that I had no intention of having.
Then, it made me think of how many autistics do not have the social nuance themselves to speak up and say when things are wrong to those that are unfamiliar to them. At that point I just decided to keep everything. There was even sauces in there. The cheeseburgers were a loss at this point. I would be like those who do not speak up for what needs done and deal with what I got.
But you see my followers, that is the issue. Oftentimes, an autistic has to learn to adapt to what is available to them because the onset of their autism combined with the crippling anxiety is just too much for them to bear for fear they will be treated differently or react in an odd manner. When one is reacting or regressing to something that doesn’t seem normal and they are autistic, ask them what would make it better because like me who got 30 McNuggets and while I was thankful for them. What would have made my day was 2 cheeseburgers, because that was my intent on treating myself to McDonalds at the start. Nonetheless, I was thankful for the abundance of McNuggets and had them for the remainder of the weekend.
But honestly, be observant and listen to what Is happening because it can be what will ruin a day of an autistic.