Recently, I have realized how much more accepting I have came at embracing my autism for what it is and recognizing the need of having accommodations to better manage myself in situations that may be challenging for me that I would otherwise have struggles in getting through.
It goes without saying that I have always acknowledged the fact of being autistic, but it is becoming a fact that I have better accepted that my autism is a part of me and that it doesn’t make me less of a person or that it inhibits me in any way. It also goes without saying that I do need things to help me understand things that may come easy to others like captioning on a screen or the use of headphones in environments that may be prone to overload. These are things that I have recently learned that because of my being autistic are acceptable and a part of my life.
It also means that I may need to embrace that being autistic, while a neurological condition is the fact that I need to embrace that it in some instances makes me qualified in some terms under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It is not meant in a way to infantilize me but instead make things that prevent sensory and other issues that may cause moments of unpleasantness for me easier to manage. We (and ironically myself) are often quick to judge those for the use of facilities and devices earmarked for the disabled, but just as autism is disability that can not be seen, we can not judge someone simply because their disability isn’t visible and that we should put ourselves in the same situation and realize that they too go through some struggles just as autistic people do.
There is so much being done in the autistic world for us to mask ourselves as neurotypicals until we reach our safe spaces and are able to be ourselves. Having accommodations is not a sign of weakness, instead, it is a moment of embracing your challenges and making the life that you have to navigate easier and making being yourself more manageable and lessening the stressors that may be brought forth by having to do additional tasks that are expected of all when that may be more stressful to you as an autistic person.
I never make use of my being autistic as an excuse to get out of something. I do make note of realizing that I may not be able to withstand a particular event because of additional sensory challenges that may become overwhelming to me. That also goes with saying that the way I act is not just because the autism made me do it because I have the skills necessary to cope with a situation. It has taken me a long time to gain the knowledge that I have gained over the years to know that there are points in my life that I am going to need to ask for accommodations, help, or to be excused from something depending on the situation that it entails because of the degree of overload it may bring. It is not a way of getting out of something even though it may seem that way because of the anxiety that may be brought on through being afraid of something bad that may happen by doing it. It is important to be prepared for what you may have to go through so that you are not suddenly overwhelmed.
In reality, it boils down to owning your autism and the challenges it brings for what it is and knowing that you have the power to advocate for yourself to get the accommodations and help with things when you need to have them so you can muster your way through the things that you need to get through without any issues.