A Photo showing the First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh in the Shadyside neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USA
Acceptance and Awareness, Adulting, Independence

Adulting: Personal Preferences

So, this past week as I navigate the world, I am beginning to realize that I may have different preferences than those close to me and I am realizing that I have the right to have the choices that I have to do the things in life that I want as long as they do not cause an hindrance to anyone. As such, I realize how much my thinking has been skewed by the way I thought I had to follow the choices of those close to me.

In reality, while I am autistic and experience mental health challenges, I am an adult in my mid to late thirties and live under my own roof. As such, I should have the freedom to follow the preferences that I want to without subjecting myself to the fear and judgment of those that are in charge of my care as long as I am following all proper caring methods for taking care of my mental health needs. 

Some of my personal preferences exhibit themselves even more as personal choices as to practice precautions to protect myself from the COVID-19 Pandemic by wearing a mask in public. While this can spark a deep divide between other adults, it should not be a debate between an individual and one who aids in supporting or caring for them because of your perceived notion of their challenges and their lack of knowledge of the situation at hand. 

Should an autistic individual wish to follow the practices they wish, it should be encouraged to allow them to follow the practices to their ability and educate, educate, educate as much as notZpossible so they have a clear understanding of what it entirely involves so they are informed of what exactly it involves (autistic people like details) Being an adult comes with responsibilities and as such what they choose to do may need further education in a way an autistic individual can completely comprehend what their desired preference involves.

Some preferences for those in charge of caring for autistic individuals can involve tough topics and conversations at times and those in charge of their care may have their own personal stance on a certain preference, but they must remember that they are not in the mindset of the ones that they care for and while they may seem to go along with what you prefer, they, like me can oftentimes co-regulate off of the one they are closely connected to and do not want to disappoint you, therefore autistics can be subtle on the subject and not express what they are going through for fear of rejection to the ones that deeply care for them. When reality appears in the auistic individual and the time appears when they reject wanting to do the things they once did with them prior to making their own preference on the issue at hand. This can cause confusion in the one caring for the autistic individual because in their eyes they seen no issues in this prior, but sometimes we as autistics need the freedom to make informed and clear choices of a preference that we wish to follow that may be something that we did not have the opportunity to experience previously because of being confined or restricted in our ability to explore what those personal preferences may involve. 

It can also seem as if the autistic person you are caring and supporting may be offended if your dream of what you see in life come to fruition be shattered because it isn’t the way you thought it would go. Please understand that in addition to not being in their brain when making these preferences, a harsh reality is that you will not be with them after you leave this earth, therefore you must understand that they have to be happy with the choices they make, not you, because it is the life of the autistic individual that must be endured day in and day out and they have to do what is necessary for them to endure life’s challenges and expectations.

Yes, having independence also has responsibility. It is also the responsibility of those that care for autistic individuals to make sure that they are satisfied and compatible with the choices that they make in life because no one can live in the shoes of another person, regardless of their ways of life.

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