To kids , teens and their families
these are some things I hope you’ll find interesting and helpful.
Life can be hard as a autistic person but it’s not all bad news
when I was younger sometimes I thought that because I was Autistic I wouldn’t be able to do things like other people, I was worried I would be a failure .
but now that I am older I can see that I have to use my skills to be successful and it’s ok if my skills are not the same as non autistic people or other autistic people.
Non autistic people are often good at seeing “the bigger picture” this is a phrase that means being able to process ( think) about lots of information at once for example in the photo there is a girl with a cake most non autistic people would think that this is a birthday party photo , whereas many autistic people who think in detail might be thinking about how many stripes the are how many stars etc . The world needs both bigger picture and detail thinkers, for example many autistic people do jobs that require them to notice small detail;s such as software testing , or detailed artwork
It’s ok to have different interests
When I was a kid I loved toy cars, making up storys, drawing and music. I played long games of cars in traffic jams , I also loved my cuddly toys and plays cafes and shops with them, but as I grew older and went into high school sometimes my interests were more like that of a younger child, and this made me feel a bit embarrassed I couldn’t see that in fact many non autistic kids will try to copy their peers to fit in because they don’t want to stand out , this is a way of earning something I call social capital.
Capital is a word that is sometimes used to mean when you have something of value e.g money that you are saving for when you need it, so for example from time to time everyone drops a plate or glass and it breaks if you have capital you can just buy another plate or glass to replace the one which broke.
so social capital is when people trust you or belive you meant to do the right thing so if you make a social mistake they are more likely to forgive you. Sometimes non autistic people like to do things that you may think are pointless but try to remember they think differently to autistic people. Non autistic people often do something called “ small talk” this is when people talk about things that are not important to them like the whether , tv shows etc to get everyone used to each other, or make people feel that they want to talk to them and be nice, by doing small talk you are gaining social capital and this will help you in the future. sometimes we all have to do things we don’t enjoy. when you know someone better you may be able to skip the small talk
You can be happy on your own or with freinds
some autistic people find being around people really tiring and need lots of time by themselves, some autistic people like to have friends other autistic people prefer their own company all the time , it is ok to like to be by yourself, but sometimes people do this to protect themselves from bullying and they are actually quite lonely , there are lots of ways to help you get through this situation you don’t have to be lonely. I did not have many friends till I was in my ear 20’s and met people who were into music I gained social capital beacuse I was good at music and full of ideas this helped me when I made social mistakes.
You can do things!
Autism should never be a reason to say you can;t do something you just do it differently. To the left of this text is a photo of one of my favarouite place sin the world santa monica in California , USA. when I was in school I never beived I could achieve the things I wanted to do in life ( travel was something I wanted to do when I grew up) , but I am lucky to of seen a lot of the world. One thing that helped me was having people around me who belived in me evan when I didn’t belive in myself.
It’s ok if you dress different to other people
I hated non uniform day , activity days anything that involve bonding with my age group on things other people my age were typically interested in , I always felt un cool, but people regularly comment on my dress sense and of course my hat and glasses have become my trade mark.
you can do anything you want to do many autistic people have jobs are married and have kids and grandkids.