While understanding my own autism in recent months, I have begun to learn to be more accepting and understanding of the traits of my autistic peers. While there can be barriers in understanding how other autistics operate, it is something I realized that I needed to do to improve my relationship with the autistic community at-large.
Many know I am in my thirties and when I was diagnosed in 1998 with Asperger’s Disorder, little was known what it was. While it has since been clustered into Autism and the varying degrees of the diagnosis, it has also made me realize that while everyone that everyone that recognizes their autism has various needs that need to be met along with that is the traits that need to I have to recognize not only in other autistics, but myself as well.
I had to accept the fact that while I was breaking barriers being autistic that I have to be an eqial voice that I share a diagnosis with. This means listening to all of their voices whether it is them directly, their auxiliary aid or a family member advocating for them. While I am privileged to have both of my parents who have advocated for me and be my voice when I wasn’t able to advocate for my needs. I know that I must continue to pay tribute to them for me being able to be where I am today.
Knowing this made me realize the fact that I come with privilege and that not all have access to the same opportunities that I have. I must always recognize that I have a blessed life and that I must do my best in order to keep intact the things that help. Learning from others’ experience has made me realize that things could be alot worse if I do not honor the opportunities given to me just because of who I am.
This means recognizing other autistics and what they bring about themselves to the table. Yes there are things that I may not see or value, but I am not in a place to judge one’s experience just as I would not prefer to be judged for mine either. While there may be a struggle to have a level playing field at the advocacy table for the autistic community, I realize the importance of having ALL voices being heard and validated because these are experiences that are being who they are and it is part of what they bring to the field and I would hope that they would respect my offerings as well.
The world has a lot of hate in it these days. Getting through life can be challenging, especially by those involved in the autistic community. The last thing an autistic voice needs is to be squelched or silenced, it needs to be heard, empathized and validated for what it is. It does not need to be ridiculed, corrected or bullied because it does not meet someone’s agenda, viewpoint or plan for what they see. People can agree to disagree on things. Voices do not have to speak at every conversation if it is going to adversely affect them.
I as anyone in the autistic community have to know my boundaries and I would hope they would be respected by my autistic peers and allies. Likewise, know that I would also respect your boundaries and rights as I feel that we all have them no matter what walk of life we may come from, after all we are all human and deserve the same kind of decency and respect.