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

Not All Cats Are Evil!

The stereotype most commonly associated with cats is that they are evil wanna-be dictators. Whilst this is certainly true of some cats, each cat has a different personality, just like humans. There is this cat down the road that we nickname ‘Mean Cat’. He definitely fits the typical stereotype. He is the cat bully around town. Even Pablo is afraid of him, and Pablo loves cats! He’s the reason Smiler comes home with cuts. He isn’t even nice to humans. He’s just rude.

But then you come to my cats: Diego and Smiler. Diego is the most unconditional-love-giving cat you could ask for. He is always waiting for me on my bed and he purrs as soon as I walk in, nudging his head against my hand and kneading into my duvet. He always gives love. He never got mad at us when we got a dog. Although he sometimes finds Pablo quite infuriating, I think he has accepted him as a member of our family now, like an annoying little brother. He still loved us. He didn’t run away. He accepted our decision and still gave us the love, even when people started to prefer paying attention to Pablo than him. He didn’t let that affect him. He has always loved us and will always love us.

Now, Smiler is the cat that wasn’t always ours, as you might know. He was someone’s down the street, but they didn’t care for him enough, so when he kept coming to us, they basically told us, in other words, to keep him. They didn’t want to pay his medical bills anymore. He is now a full-pledged member of our family and gets treated just the same as the others. He is also very sweet, though we think he is quite old. He doesn’t shower us with the love Diego does but the fact that he chose to live with us shows a lot, even when Pablo came. Diego and him are best pals and they love to play together. Sometimes Pablo even gets jealous and wants to join in!

The point is: not all cats are bad. There are just the few, like Mean Cat, that give all cats a bad name! Cats are quite awesome, actually.

Thanks for reading,

Lia