Living with Autism in the Community
By Kristofor Medina of Self Advocates Becoming Empowered
I would like to tell you what having autism is like when taking a trip into the community. It can be painful and even assaulting. Yes, assaulting. It seeps into all parts of my sensitive being. People look at you with so much doubt that you have any intelligent thoughts. When in the community, we with autism stand out like amazingly working animals. I am the monkey. It is hard to be the tame lion. I wish the lion would eat the crazy moving monkey. I quietly watch all of society believe that we are empty space – what we really are, is full with intelligence.
Having autism and going into the community sounds stressful and quite frankly it is. You are dealing with sounds, lighting, smells, and anxiety from all of these things. Next to anxiety taking over all, automatics set in and take over. This means my sensory system takes a quick turn and I become overloaded. I want to control the weird, stressed-out, automatic behaviors going all across my nervous system, but that feels nearly impossible.
Right now under my skin, I am feeling very tight like my veins are snakes and typing is the way to release anxiety. It is not my idea of a good time. My feeling is that my body is a mess but I have no choice at times because my autism plows right over my senses. It is not the person I want to be.
Going into the community poses a tremendous amount of stress on a person with autism. There are so many stimulants. I quietly think to myself, but my sensory system screams out. I want to stop myself, but my autism takes over. Is it weird to quickly flap my hands and say words that have no relevance to any conversation? Yes, it does look very different, but we with autism are not. Would you really accept someone who everyone thinks is weird and incompetent? People will, but autism works in mysterious ways. Quite everyone with autism has a lot of sensory issues; try to acknowledge that please. Yes, rallying for equality is what I’m all about. Rallying for autism and ordering of acceptance.