What Not to Do to an Autistic Person

I’ve mentioned this before in posts, but I thought I should put a disclaimer before this one, just so you know. Autism is a spectrum, and the things that I don’t like or that make me stressed might not necessarily be the same for other people on the spectrum. They might have other worries.

This is a list of tips for people who might know someone with this condition. However, it is definitely not accurate for everyone, as mentioned above. It is accurate for me, though.

  1. Do not make arrangements with me that have less than a week’s notice, or that don’t have all the details sorted out until very close to the scheduled day of meeting. This stresses me out so much and I get so worked up over it that I am 84% going to cancel. If I don’t cancel, I’m probably going to be sad and tired for a while after meeting, because I hadn’t mentally prepared myself for it.
  2. Don’t speak to me in a demanding way, or with a stern voice. This just causes me to panic and I actually take longer to do the task than if you had just asked nicely.
  3. Please don’t ignore any text questions I have! I cannot stand the ‘read’ feature on social media. I use Facebook and Instagram most often (both of which have this feature) and it causes me an unsettling amount of anxiety when someone ignores my text. I’m talking about people who read it and then decide to never respond. This applies largely to questions and stuff that would normally incite a response. Just.. please…
  4. Don’t look at me too intensely. I am alright with you glancing at me occasionally but it kinda makes me feel uncomfortable if you look at me too long. I’m sorry, it’s just hard to deal with eyes looking at me… I sometimes want to permanently hide under a sheet so no one ever has to look at me.
  5. Try to avoid touching me. I am extremely sensitive to touch, and sometimes I feel so obliged to hug people and it really feels awkward and uncomfortable. Also, please do not touch my arm or something if you’re trying to get my attention or for whatever reason — I know you only lightly touched me, but it hurts! Most people wouldn’t be affected but sometimes my mum will tap me and I’ll go “ouch!” and she’ll think I’m being over-dramatic, but it actually hurts.
  6. Compliments… gifts… help. I am alright with compliments and gifts, as long as you don’t expect a response. I have been called rude for this but it is just so awkward! I am really grateful that you like my hair or for the potato you gave me but it makes me really embarrassed, especially around people who aren’t my close family. My mum calls me beautiful every day, that’s enough compliments for my entire life! I also struggle with confidence and don’t know whether you’re being nice or truthful. It’s hard to decide!
  7. Don’t speak too loud. You can speak at normal volume, but do not yell at me or raise your voice. I’m sensitive to noise, too, and tend to retreat from loud noise and often won’t respond, or might even try to cover my ears.
  8. Don’t expect me to never say inappropriate things. If I’m feeling awkward, or the conversation has stopped flowing, I probably will say something inappropriate. For instance, I might say something about potatoes because I love them and they’re the first thing I can think of. What gets me is when people question why I said that, or look at me strange. I’m not like you.
  9. Don’t forget me. I know I’m not the best person at maintaining friendships, because I eventually drive them away with my inappropriateness or my anxiety, but I always try to do the right thing. I try. It’s hard when people don’t accept me for the way I am, and how difficult I can be. I might be complex, but I can be solved. Just try it.

Thank you so much for reading this post,

Lia

Routine and Fashion

As you are probably aware, I’m autistic, which means that routines are a big part of my life. I can’t deal with someone changing the plan or not giving me specifics; it gives me a kinda meltdown. But sometimes I get overwhelmed with the plan too and then I have to cancel myself.

Due to my like of routines, my clothing choices rarely vary. I have to have the same style of clothing every day. For me, this routine is greyscale. I wear black, white and shades of grey in-between. I don’t usually vary from this colour scheme. I’ve been using it for several years now and don’t see it changing anytime soon.

As well as this, I have this houndstooth bag. One time, my mum went to a workshop for autistic parents, and they mentioned that the houndstooth design is fascinating to autistic people. I had this bag before my mum even went, so she found it really interesting that they were saying that lots of people like me have a similar interest in it.

Another thing is my footwear. I always have to wear boots; black, relatively small boots. Even in summer, when my parents are saying they’re too warm, I have to wear them. The texture is good. Unlike other footwear (*cough* canvas shoes *cough*) where the material really feels funny against my feet, they feel alright and they also look nice, so I wear them. I’m not a massive fan of the feel of my socks because they feel tight and itchy but they have nice designs and those designs make me wear them, and it’s hard to find nice-feeling socks that also have nice designs, because I have to have a nice design! Socks are also my exception to the greyscale rule. I can wear any colour of sock, as long as it’s a good design.

I wear clothing that is wildly inappropriate for the season. In summer, I had to wear leggings, and sometimes I’d get really hot and sweaty, but at least it fit in with my routine. And now, I have to wear the same coat I wore in the summer, which isn’t the thickest coat, so I get cold. But routine is always the most important thing to me.

Do you have any clothes that you won’t stop wearing, no matter what the season?
Lia