I want to talk about the physical health of autistic people and how the gaslighting of our sensory sensitivities teaches us to ignore our pain - whether it be physical or sensory. There are many reasons why you shouldn't gaslight an autistic person's sensory sensitivities, but this is a really important one.
I just watched the movie Sound of Metal and it is by far the most relatable experience of my hyperacusis and auditory sensitivity that I have ever seen and heard on film.
There are a few assumptions neurotypical people have when it comes to tone of voice when anyone talks. I'll clarify them here.
The difficulty of this task has real consequences for autistic people and contributes to our high unemployment rate, including autistic people with high educational backgrounds. We often undersell ourselves, but only because many neurotypical people have no problem embellishing their traits.
Here are the most common questions I see from parents of autistic kids, answered in this blog post.
Honestly, this misinterpretation of my signals is one of the things I have struggled with the most for my entire life. It’s caused me a lot of fear and pain. And so many non-autistic people don’t see it. They don’t see the problem and they don’t see how they misinterpret me. To them, I don’t have a disability, I am just judgment #1, judgment #2, and judgment #3.
No matter what, people will make assumptions. Both ableism and cisnormativity are baked into our brains and our society. The things people have to do to accommodate us and acknowledge us involves unlearning their preconceptions.
My autistic traits were obvious! But the Spoiled Brat archetype worked against the assumption that I needed support, and instead adults believed I needed chastising or ignoring.
It's okay to be not okay, and to take some time to adjust to everything. For many of us autistic people it may take a lot longer to adjust, and that's okay!
Remember that it’s okay to be autistic. It’s okay to wear headphones or sunglasses, or use weighted blankets or fidget toys (lots of us autistic adults do!). It’s okay to want things a certain way. It’s okay to not look into people’s eyes. It’s okay to be you. Don’t let people, or society in general, take that away from you.