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As an individual who has autism, I have unfortunately came in contact with quite a few ignorant people throughout my life. People who judge me before they get to know me. People who tease me or make fun of me, as if I do not have feelings. The person who talks about me as if I was not standing right there, the people who judge my parents and their parenting skills, and so many more things. The bottom line is that many times people judge people before they truly get to know them. This is not fair, in my honest opinion. It is not right to just see someone in one situation for a very short period of time and already have judgmental thoughts about them.

What is the “Norm”?
I feel like when people see someone who acts different from the so-called “norm” they automatically start to think weird, strange thoughts about that person. Society sometimes automatically thinks different is a bad thing. As soon as some people hear the word different, their brain automatically thinks of the word bad after it. But really, I know first hand that being different is not a bad thing. Being different is just that, different, but it doesn’t mean I am less of a person than anyone else. Just because I am different from the so-called “norm” does not mean that I deserve to be treated like I am from another planet, or like I grew two heads. I actually like being different, because being different is what makes me who I am. Autism is a part of me and a big part of who I am.

The “Real” Me
I have learned to not let other people’s actions bother me, but it still frustrates me that people can be so ignorant and not accept others who are different. I also wonder how come that person cannot look beyond my autism and see the real me, who is very talented, kind, loving, caring, helpful, and funny. Yes, I have my moments, I do have meltdowns, but don’t we all? I know sometimes I seem to really stand out. I know sometimes I do certain things that society perceives as weird or unusual, but I am human. I am not perfect, I make mistakes, just like any other so-called “typical” human being, and I learn from those mistakes that I make.

Don’t Judge Me
Next time you see me out in the community, can you just get to know me before you judge me? Please? If you do not have anything nice to say, please do not say it at all. Also please do not assume thoughts about me or my family that are not true. One of the hardest things about autism is that it is truly an invisible disability, people do not always know I have a disability by looking at me, unless they really know and are educated about autism. If I was in a wheelchair, people may still have judged me, but at least they would have known that I had a disability.

Autism is Not Contagious
Autism is not contagious, you can not catch it from me. My parents are more patient than ever, so please do not tell them that they are impatient, as you just see a glimpse of the life that my family and I live each and every day. So please do not judge us. If you have questions ask, but do not assume things. If you think I may need help, ask, or ask my mom. We may accept your help, and we may not, but even if we decline your help, please note that it was very much appreciated.

My Message to Others:

  • Please think before you speak.
  • People with autism have feelings too, just like any other person does.
  • Words hurt, sometimes even more than actions.

How I Deal with Judgmental People:

  • Laugh it off!
  • Tell the story to as many people as possible.
  • Use the story to educate others.
  • Use the moment to educate more people about autism.
  • Tell myself that I did nothing wrong, and that it was that person’s problem, not my problem.
  • Think about all of the wonderful people I have in my life, who love me very much for who I am, autism and all!

How do you deal with people who judge you or your child? Do you ignore them? Do you say something to them? Do you walk away? Please share!