For many autistics, the ability to make one’s decisions can be a difficult task for an autistic to perform. For the younger crowd, one that seems to lack the ability or show the interest of one doing this will result in the parent making these choices for them, which can result in friction between the autistic and their parents. An autistic should have the autonomy to be the person they so choose to be without judgement from their parents and supporters, yet have the support they need to thrive in their world.
While some things because of my autism or mental health challenges are at times challenging, sometimes I need to experience them and not play the “card” as a crutch to get out of something. This can be difficult because when thinking independently, it can be hard to make these decisions.
While in the modern era, we advance to the need for inclusion everywhere we look such as sports, activities, the classroom and so forth, it is also important to teach autistics and others with special needs that life just isn’t fair and sometimes we all can’t be winners.
Twenty years ago, this week, I celebrated “graduating” from a residential treatment facility, or RTF. It felt like a group home, but if my parents didn’t want the best care for me, it could have resulted in me being placed in a group home for life because of my behaviors.
Autism is a spectrum, meaning it has a spectrum of features. One of these is communication. One cannot have the ability to communicate without assistance and likewise individuals such as myself can be very articulate, however we are all classified as being autistic. Although it may not seem as such, I sometimes struggle with communicating socially with the less articulate because I am indeed socially awkward.
In the last few months since becoming independent again, I have noticed benchmarks that I continue to achieve as time progresses. While they may seem little to some, for me they can mean the world because it is proof that I can adult and know how to properly take care of myself. If there is any advice, I can give to anyone raising a autistic child, it simply is that knowledge is power. The more they know, the more sound their future will be.
Yesterday, I had an epiphany. While I WANT to adult, I HAVE to put forth the effort to want and need the changes and the responsibilities of being an adult. For the majority of my adulthood, I have shied away from issues in life because they may require me to put my “big boy pants” on and fight them. Oftentimes, for me, anxiety is a big player in the game of adulting that really isn’t a game, because I just revert back to my immature self and refuse to deal with the issues at hand, because I personally know they are going to be unpleasant and scary for me to tackle.
We must continue to fight for that voice to be heard locally, regionally, statewide and nationally!
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.
No matter how many times I flirt with disaster and cause heartache on those closest to me, I still struggle with the understanding that medication management is necessary in maintaining a healthy life even though the side effects are at times rough.