Community Stigma

Being neurodiverse and experiencing multiple mental health challenges can present problems when you are out in a world that just isn’t made for us. Although it is often said that being autistic has no look, sometimes when you face challenges that are presented when you are out in the community or because you have special needs, many times judgment is passed and you can feel it  However, you have to be the better one in the situation and be kind because if you are not, it can backfire quickly.

Nowadays there is much coverage about autism being more prevalent than it has ever been. While that may be true in addition to many also being diagnosed in adulthood, there are also the cases that were hidden from the public eye. This was because autistics that presented challenges years ago were institutionalized without the possibility of seeing the outside world. Since the integration of community services to better serve individuals in the community they reside, as they become adults they (including myself) have the right to be independent given the proper support and ability to do so. There has been laws provided to provide for care for individuals so they can choose if they wish to reside in the communities they want,

Doing so makes them a part of the community that they live in and if they wish, they have the opportunity to become involved if they are capable of doing so.  However, because many have challenges on many standpoints that prevent them from doing things that people take for accessing things they need, such as access to transportation being a huge barrier for one, it presents the need to have accommodations made that pass judgment quickly. When this is done, it can be felt by the individual themselves and makes them feel horrible for having to do something that can oftentimes better themselves. As a result, it makes them retreat from doing things or preventing themselves from doing things for the next opportunity.

Being an adult it is likely that individuals have experienced a lifetime of bullying, exclusinon and discrimination for just being who they are. Sometimes when people who know an individual when they were at their worst are reluctant to see that they can indeed improve, get help and move on with their lives, which is the optimum goal and what they are trying to do. However, when that person that remembers seeing them at their worst is condescending to them as a result of prior actions, we too can feel this and it sets us back from wanting to do the things we want to do in order to improve our lives for the better.

Additionally, if we as individuals want to be treated as people, we too have to be worthy of such. We cannot act as if we are entitled to have something just because of who we are. Additionally, we have to present ourselves in a manner that is presentable and attractive. This means that we may have to step out of our comfort zone by doing some things that are expected by all individuals in this world. This includes practicing good hygiene and being presentable so that derogatory comments are not made towards or around us. Furthermore, practicing good manners, following expectations and understanding social construct are all crucial points in ensuring that when you’re in the community that all interactions will occur smoothly and as positively as they can be.

We must remember that while we want to be a part of the communities that we reside in, we must also do our part to ensure that we are meeting our end of the bargain to ensure that nothing ensues to present further challenges to us. We must do what is expected and ordered of us, regardless of what we feel unless it is not safe to do. It is a challenging world out there and people can be difficult, but we must be the better ones in the situations that we face and not react in a way that further compromises the dynamic that is already challenging.

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