A memo to all of my coworkers, who will not, of course, read this, because if I told you what my website was I’d have to self-censor more and I’m super uninterested in doing that:

Yep, you heard me correctly, I’m autistic. See, autism is a vague group of behaviours and ways of processing the world we all share, and no two people on the spectrum are identical any more than any two people who are NT are identical.

You’ve seen me stimming, but apparently without knowing about autism you’d just thought I was fidgety. Ha! Trick’s on you: stimming IS just being fidgety for people on the spectrum. We stim for the same reasons any other person might tap their feet or shake their legs in a meeting: it provides sensory stimulation that helps us regulate our behaviour and emotions.

The thing about autism is that it makes me really awesome at some stuff, and really not awesome at other stuff. My particular, unique brand of autism makes me really good at learning scripts (“Please let me put this thermometer back under your tongue along the gumline.”) and repetitive actions like taking a blood sample. It also makes me really bad at some stuff I have to do at work, like multitasking and listening to multiple things at the same time. I’m sorry you were speaking to me and I walked away–I was busy hearing the faint harmony line in this song on the piped-in radio station.

Autism also makes me prone to these things that I’ve called a few different names in the past: panic attacks, tantrums, meltdowns. They happen when I’m feeling overwhelmed and without any control (and usually when I’m tired and/or hungry). I know my limits and my strengths, and ask that they be respected like any other person’s–even if they seem like they’re weird.

When you start requiring me to do multiple things I’m really bad at (like listening to two imputs and multitasking at the same time), there is a very strong chance I’m going to have to go cry somewhere and might scare off donors.

Can we please not make that happen? And can we please not laugh at me when I ask?

Thanks.

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