By A 2020 Scholarship Recipient ~ ~
I do not look at having autism as a bad thing. I am actually really grateful I have it. I do not let it define me or my life, but I work hard to define it. I often do not tell others that I am autistic because I do not want to be treated differently. I do have a few things that bother me about autism though.
One of the pet peeves I have is when autism is looked at like it is a bad thing. I would not be the person I am today if I were not autistic. I love being able to think of things no one else thinks of and having a different perspective on life.
Next, those with autism can often be treated differently by peers. Some people will purposely be mean to someone just because they are different. Others want to be friends with that person because it makes them look good. I do not believe that everyone falls into this area, but I have seen it happen way too often. This is one of many reasons I often do not tell people that I am autistic.
Another reason is some employers will not hire someone because they are autistic. While this can be hard to always prove, it can be the reason someone is not hired. This is also another reason I do not usually share about my autism as I want to protect my future employment options.
Next, treating everyone with autism like they are incapable of being capable of what those without autism are capable of. For example, most with autism take at least five years to complete a four-year degree. While yes some with autism need this extra year not everyone does.
Also, some look at every autistic person like they are the same. One thing I love is that no other autistic person is like me. Which makes me different and unique. It is just frustrating that everyone does not see it that way.
Another thing is when others talk about wanting to cure it. While, I understand the parents who have children who have difficulty with things like walking or talking wanting a cure. I would not be who I am today without my autism. I feel that if my autism were to be taken away, I would not be the person I am today. I would not be able to always think outside the box like I do. Also, I would not be passionate about everything I am passionate about. Once again autism is not life-threatening.
In addition, I feel like more medical personnel, police officers, professors, and anyone else who must interact with someone with autism on a professional level needs to be educated to understand us better. I am overwhelmed with the amount of time and of how often I have had to explain what autism is to professionals as well as peers. Also, when I am in situations where I need that person to understand that I am autistic, I tell them I have autism, then they look at me and I have to explain what autism is. I feel like it only makes the situation worse when I am trying to advocate for myself.
Also, while this is not as difficult now as it was when I was born, it still can be difficult to get a child diagnosed. My mom knew since I was three that I had something wrong, but doctors did not test me till I was seventeen. This is partly since I have a mild case. I also feel like it is because I am a female, and I feel like most females can hide their autism in a way.
Next, being asked what it is like to have autism. This is because I do not know what it is like to not have autism. Since I have been autistic my whole life, I do not know the answer to this question. Which is why I do not like being asked about it.
While I do have pet peeves that have come with autism, I would not trade it for anything. I would not be the person I am today without my autism. I love how puzzle pieces symbolize autism because it is so true that every piece is unique.