February 1, 2019

Autistics never “overreact.” If you see us react strongly to something, it usually means that we do feel that strongly about it.

A child who sounds like they’re plummeting to the depths of despair? They may literally feel that way.

A teenager who won’t budge when ordered to do something? They may literally be paralyzed by anxiety.

An adult who jumps around like a little kid at the sight of something they love? They may literally be incapable of containing their joy.

If you decide to accept that everything autistics do is a reasonable, proportionate reaction to how circumstances affect us, it’s bound to raise some questions: “Why do they feel so strongly about this? What is it like on the inside?”

So, ask! If we know how to answer, we happily will.

If we can’t find the words to answer yet, it means no one else has trusted us enough to ask – and the question, like a gift, means even more.

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.