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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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…
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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,