How Autistic People Hear the World: auditory chaos and the search for silence

acoustic drum set being played

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.

Neurotypicals: Listen to Our Words, Not Our Tone

White person with brown curly hair covering up his mouth with his red shirt collar.

There are a few assumptions neurotypical people have when it comes to tone of voice when anyone talks. I'll clarify them here.

Autistic Anxiety

Picture of palm of someone's hand with a blue background and light spots. Hand has a button in it that's painted purple and says you are loved in white letters.

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.

The Spoiled Brat Stereotype and Autistic Children

Person with green jacket and jeans sitting on a dock with long hair, face looking away from camera.

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.

How “The Golden Rule” Harms Autistic People

[This post was also published at NeuroClastic. For new posts from me, head to my author profile on NeuroClastic.] Miscommunication and misinterpretation of autistic people happens very early in life. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Or in modern language, "Treat other people as you would like to be treated." …

Literalness, Uncertainty, and Perfectionism

frustrated black kid with grey sweatshirt doing homework

It is hard to know what other people expect from you when growing up in general (and when you're autistic). Most expectations other people have of you are not explicit, even from a young age. That ambiguity can make you go to extremes (i.e. perfectionism) to make sure that you meet others' expectations. This is …

Facial Expressions and Intent

happy black son and father sitting in park smiling at each other

Essentially, by not providing that social response, people can read whatever they want into my still/unsmiling face. This explains to me why I often become the backboard of people's emotions and assumptions.

Anxiety Looks Like Anger

[Disclaimer: This post is targeted towards parents, as I have been seeing a lot of parents recently ask about what to do about their child's behaviors (trying to figure out what is best for them, and asking autistic people). Similar versions of this can happen as autistic adults, especially when people misinterpret us as complaining …

Alexithymia and Interoception

When I realized that wearing headphones had helped me with anxiety in multiple ways/multiple places, I tried to check in with my sensory environment at least every few hours every day. Setting a reminder might help.

Here are some pragmatic things I check to determine my emotional state: