October 30, 2018

My brain has two settings: Flexible Mode and Safe Mode. I can usually choose which one I want to be in, though it takes some time to switch back and forth. Both have pros and cons.

Flexible Mode means I’m prepared for surprises and interruptions. I know they can come at any moment, so I …

October 28, 2018

This week, two different people sent me long audio clips (over 30 minutes) and asked my opinion on them.

In the past, I would have procrastinated for weeks before finally listening to each thing, and even then I’d have split the task across several days.

But now I understand my brain better, including why I …

October 26, 2018

“It won’t hurt you!”

For someone with sensory sensitivity, who takes things literally, this is confusing and unhelpful to hear.

Before I found out that I take in more sensory data than most people, I wasn’t able to explain that water is physically painful for me. I didn’t “know” that rain hurts my skin, because …

October 21, 2018

“What is one piece of advice that you wish you could give all autistics? How about all non-autistics?”

Someone asked me these two questions today, and my answers were more alike than I expected.

For autistics, I said: Never stop looking for ways to make hard things easier, from social interaction to sensory overload. You …

October 13, 2018

I try to make brave choices, because bravery seems like a worthwhile trait to cultivate. And I have frequent opportunities to do so, because so many “normal” things are difficult or uncomfortable for me.

I met a new friend for brunch, and afterwards she suggested we rent electric scooters and ride them around the block. …

June 16, 2018

Someone asked me what I like most about myself.

It took me awhile to answer, because the things that came to mind first weren’t things I observe about myself, which I assume was the intent of the question.

Rather, taking it literally, I started thinking of things I enjoy experiencing about myself from the inside …

April 24, 2018

“How are you doing?” I asked, curious how she was feeling about new responsibilities at work.

She flapped her arms in classic autistic fashion, her face looking overwhelmed but full of hopeful determination, like a baby bird trying to make it out of the nest, or a fish trying to swim upstream.

“Staying afloat,” she …

April 23, 2018

Most of my autistic friends live on the other side of the country, and I’m a little jealous that they regularly give each other recommendations for doctors and dentists and mechanics based on how clearly and directly each professional communicates.

If you’re a professional of any sort, you can gain autistic business (and there are …

April 21, 2018

Someone asked me if I consider autism a disability, and I said:

“Superman can’t handle kryptonite. That’s a disability, right? That’s how I think of autism.”

But I like this answer from Kirsten Lindsmith better:

“Autism is a pervasive, full-body difference that involves varying levels of disability, depending on both the situation in which an …

April 17, 2018

Tonight at an advocacy event, a parent tried to assure me that autism doesn’t define me.

“It does, though,” I said.

“It may be 95% of who you are,” she insisted, “but you’re still beautiful and amazing.”

“I need you to trust me about something,” I said, forgetting to thank her for the kind words. …