Autism: The Invisible Disability
Random Human: "Hi, how are you today?"
Me: (looking down) "good"
Random Human: "Are you alright, is something wrong?"
NOOOPE nothing is wrong, random person, this is just me communicating in the most "normal" way I can even if that means I'm looking at this concrete floor.
Educating people on Autism and creating awareness is by far one of the biggest goals of mine. My entire life I have had to deal with people either not understanding or completely misunderstanding me. Autism doesn't have a logo and each and every person on the spectrum is unique. We are your neighbors, your waiters and your clerks and we look just like anyone else. Thats the thing that makes being on the spectrum so difficult; you don't slow down for us because we're sitting in a wheel chair and you don't become more patient because its apparent we have Down's Syndrome. Instead, I have found that people look at you like you're the "weird girl" who walks a little sideways, stutters when she talks and doesn't pick up on your everyday social cues. Don't even get me started on how difficult it can be to go out in public and shopping sometimes. The weird looks we get when my sister has to explain she needs to join me in the dressing room to help or the eye rolling when I ask if my food can be placed on separate plates; the list goes on. However, I'm not here to complain. But, I am here to educate and inform.
In general, this world could really benefit from everyone being nicer to their neighbors. When you ask people what they would do if they could change the world, I bet you 9/10 will say world peace. I know we live in a fast paced world and I know how hard it is to be a teenager who just wants to fit in. But let me tell you something, as you grow older you will find that it isn't "cool" to be a bully. Take the time to understand people, learn to have patience and live without judgement. So what if I start to flap my hands when I talk; I'm talking. And, I think its pretty darn cool that I was gifted with a voice to do so. Autism isn't the only "invisible disability" out there. There are millions of people living with conditions that you can't see. Instead of scowling or raising an eyebrow at the girl who talks to you while looking at the floor, smile at her, listen to her, and be a friend.
Anyways, enough rambling for the night. In the end, we can all work on being more kind and patient, myself included. There is no sense in downgrading people because they do things or think differently then you. If we were all the same, this world would be a pretty boring place. If you take away anything from this post, I hope its this: We rise by lifting others. Be kind, be patient, and be the reason someone smiles today.
7/15/2016 10:55:36 am
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I couldn't agree more!
7/15/2016 11:41:11 am
This made me smile Ashley!! I HOPE people will share your message. Well said. 😘
7/15/2016 12:52:39 pm
Hey Ashley! So proud of you for sharing your everyday autism experiences with others. I know the future is incredibly bright for you. I remember you from high school and your sweet and kind nature always stood out. Good luck to you , Ashley!
7/15/2016 02:22:33 pm
7/21/2016 06:30:10 pm
This is most inspiring and insightful. Ashley, your writings will change young people's lives by helping them accept others with all their diversities. We can get along with each other as we listen, try to understand, and accept the differences, as well as, rejoice in our unity. Thank you for reaching out with your knowledge, experience and fine writing.
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Welcome to my blog, I'm Ashley! I look forward to sharing my journey with you. Learn all about me in the "about" tab above!