I am a young adult who has autism and I work as an autism advocate. I am on a mission to teach what autism is like from my perspective to help others better understand autism. It is important to remember that each person with autism, like all people, is unique.
Sometimes, autism makes certain things more difficult for me. Social situations tend to be overwhelming at time— not because I don’t like socializing, but because sometimes I socialize differently than others. It is hard for me to read body language and social cues of others. I also get overwhelmed easily. Communication can be hard for me even though I am verbal. I always remind people that there is more to communication than being able to speak. Once you have the spoken words, or any form of communication really, you have to know how to use the words to express your wants, needs, feelings, likes, dislikes, etc. in order for them to be effective.
Typing has opened up a whole new world of communication for me. I find typing to be easier than using verbal words sometimes. Typing makes it easier for me to visually see what I want to say before I say it, allowing me to map out my thoughts and put them into words.
I think it is important that people remember that even those individuals with autism who are verbal may have communication challenges. Sometimes, throughout my life, I’ve had experiences where people have told me to “just tell them” versus reading what I wrote. These situations made me very nervous, and they still do, because if I could “just tell you” I would. It is not that simple.
There are other challenges that I face as an individual with autism. I want everyone to remember that even though individuals with autism may have trouble communicating, that they are still people who deserve to be treated with respect. Treat those with autism and those who are different from you with respect.
Chloe Rothschild is a young adult with autism.
She serves on the OCALI advisory board, is a managing editor for the
Autism Research Institute Adult’s with Autism eBulletin,
a calendar editor for Adam Street Publishing, and an advocate.
Read more about her advocacy work at her website, chloerothschild.com.