Please, be aware…
That we are different from you. But we are not lesser than you, any more than Mac is lesser than Windows; both can get the job done. Both have their abilities, advantages, disadvantages, quirks, specialties, and limitations.
That we feel, too.
That we may not understand you, but we can love you. Just like even though you may not understand us, you love us.
That we’re not mentally or cognitively “children”.
That there are plenty of competent autistic adults. Who have jobs and families.
That many of us do live conventionally “regular” lives.
That we are intelligent and talented, in a variety of ways.
That we simply say what we mean. We’re not trying to be rude or inconsiderate. We’re simply honest and direct.
That there are advantages to being oriented this way.
That we are indeed sensitive and caring people. Probably more so than most.
That we do try hard to assimilate into this foreign world.
That we do have strengths and we are not simply a pathology.
That we’re already (and practically always) making accommodations for you, without asking much by comparison in return. We don’t do this as a special favor, an attempt at martyrdom, a public relations tactic, or caving under pressure from a law; we do it to survive. We don’t just do it for the month, or a shareholder quarter, or as part of an awareness campaign; we do it every time we leave our homes or interact with anyone…for life.
That we need our downtime alone and that’s OK. We’re recharging, re-balancing. Not wanting to constantly be surrounded by people isn’t any more of a disorder or pathology than wanting to hang out with other people a lot.
That our meltdowns are not willful temper tantrums. We don’t throw things around when we don’t get our way; we do it because we’ve become too overwhelmed to express ourselves in words or handle a situation that has piled on top of us.
That just because we might do things differently or act different or be different doesn’t mean it’s wrong or that we’re defective.
That the world benefits from having us in it.
That we’re sensitive to noise and other stimuli. Indeed, we’re sensitive to the world around us.
That we make awesome friends, partners, and parents.
That we are kind, considerate, and compassionate.
That we’re everywhere, all around you, doing our best to blend in.
That we shouldn’t have to expend enormous amounts of energy just to present an “acceptable” version of ourselves to the world for fear of criticism and accusations.
That we really are capable of cognitive empathy, and that mind-blindness occurs on both sides. We may not share cognitive empathy with you, but you don’t share it with us, either. We do share a cognitive empathy for each other on the spectrum, similar to that which you share with other neurotypical people.
That we’re not heartless or narcissistic. We may live deeper inside ourselves, but that doesn’t mean we’re all about ourselves.
That what might look like irritability may simply be anxiety.
That yes, we probably have tried whatever you’re suggesting, or if not, it’s because we already know that it wouldn’t help anyway.
That just because we could do something yesterday doesn’t mean we can necessarily do it today.
That we might not express or experience hunger or fatigue like you do, and we might not even know that that’s what’s going on.
That our emotions often run deep and intense, but we might not know how to express them, nor might we even realize that we’re feeling that way.
That eye contact and other societal constructs are often incredibly uncomfortable for us.
That we may not be able to make a snap decision and might need time to think about it.
That we might not be able to adjust to sudden changes in plans.
That touch, no matter how seemingly innocuous, might actually be painful.
That we may not always be in touch with ourselves; we might not know when we’re hungry, tired, cognitively fatigued, or socially exhausted. If we make a sudden move for the kitchen or bathroom, or if we end a conversation abruptly, it’s probably not you; we just instantly became aware of an urgent or undeniable need.
That we may not understand what you were trying to say, nor might we get the hidden meaning or message behind it. That we might not pick up on the subtle hint you were trying to convey.
That just because we might not speak doesn’t mean we can’t hear or understand what you’re saying about us.
That we can’t always tune out or prioritize the sensory input around us like you can.
That we’re not lazy or unmotivated or underachieving.
That we’re not rude when all we’re trying to do is tell the truth.