A Few Things I Wish People Knew About Autistic People, Part 1

[Image Description:"Sunset on the Lake" by April Marie Mai A vertical rectangle impasto (thick paint) acrylic abstract painting with teal, seafoam, blue, neon orange, yellow, green, metallic gold and white combining in an expressive palette knife movement style. The colors are scattered all over with neon orange popping. Each swipe of the palette knife is different and contains multiple colors. Part of my Color Explosion series. Acrylic on Canvas. 48″ x 36″ x 1.5″]
"Sunset On The Lake" by April Marie Mai, 2020, Acrylic on Canvas, 48″ x 36″ x 1.5″

Autism does not affect intelligence. In reality, we’re statistically slightly more intelligent as a whole than the non-autistic population as a whole. So don’t talk down to us, talk about us as if we’re not there, etc. Even if you think we’re not listening or understanding, we are.


What we have to say is valid. We’ve lived a lifetime of people telling us that our input is not important, that we’re lying about our own experiences, that we don’t get to speak for ourselves and other autistic people. We do. We speak up because our voices are ignored. We speak up for Autistic kids because we know no one else understands their needs the way we do. That’s why we ask that neurotypical parents of Autistic kids listen to us to improve their kid’s life.


All forms of communication from Autistic people need to be accepted. Non-speaking does not mean non-communicative or less intelligent. Whether it’s an AAC device, pointing, sign language, or something else, all Autistic people are always communicating. When people choose not to listen, that is a reflection on who they are, not a reflection of our value.


We have value. We shouldn’t have to say this, but we do. Even in this space. Sometimes especially in spaces that are supposedly accepting of us. Human value goes beyond what we create for capitalism. All people have intrinsic value, including us. Yes, due to disability I cannot currently work. I still exist. I still give what I have to give to help others. I still create paintings and other art. I still try to make money to eat and pay rent. Even if I couldn’t do those things, just existing gives me all the value and rights of other humans.


For many of us it takes a lot more energy to interact. This is caused by many things: masking, Autistic burnout, past trauma of being rejected and abused for speaking honestly, etc. I’m one of those people. Each sentence is hard work. Sometimes I’m quiet just because I don’t have it in me to deal with how I’ll be treated for speaking up.These are just 5 things. There are a lot more things it’s important to know. 


Please comment to let me know if you’d like me to share more! I’d also love to know what you didn’t know already and/or what surprised you!

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A few things I wish everyone knew before interacting with autistic people

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