February 5, 2018

“What does it look like for autistics and non-autistics to show love to one another in situations where their needs conflict?”

This is a tough question, but I believe awareness is the foundation of kindness. It’s hard for autistics to be kind when we don’t understand the effect of our actions, and it’s hard for non-autistics to be kind when they don’t understand the effect of their requirements.

I brought this question up at a discussion group about autism & neurodiversity,┬ábecause I was sincerely curious about what to do when my comfort means someone else’s discomfort, and vice versa. The specific example I gave was social interaction in grocery stores. It takes all of my attention to successfully navigate my cart without running into people, while also making decisions and dealing with all the audio/visual information. It’s hard to do all that and also make eye contact and smile at people, so my default demeanor could easily be perceived as quite rude, or even prejudiced.

I wish everyone understood autism so that they would know my actions reflect what’s happening in my senses, not what’s happening in my heart.

Someone at the discussion group said it would be great if every person came with an “effort meter” that would show you just how hard something is for them. Then, if something makes your life a little easier, but makes someone else’s life a lot harder, you might choose to be kind.

P.S. I write from my personal experience as an autistic. What I share is not a substitute for advice from an autistic medical professional. Also, some of my opinions have changed since I first wrote them.