Today’s blog is written by Ben Moore. Ben, age 26, recently shared his insights about life with autism at Seattle Children’s Autism 200 class in November and we couldn’t get enough of his honest, heartfelt answers. Today he shares a little more.
What is it like as an adult living with autism?
Like, how do I even answer this? Let’s see… It’s hard at times. Sometimes there’s too much loud noises. Sometimes people speak too fast – their language gets scrambled and jumbled when I hear it. When I speak, often times what I intend to say is not what comes out of my mouth. Most times it’s hard to sustain my attention for prolonged periods. I can be blunt and easily hurt others’ feelings (I try really hard not to).
How do you explain your diagnosis to people?
Okay, first off, I don’t bring it up hardly ever unless people specifically ask. Instead, if I’m having issues with sensory stuff, I politely ask people to turn down whatever stimuli is bothering me (light brightness, sound volumes, etc.) I try to amend/ameliorate my situation/surroundings. If that doesn’t work, I’ll cover my ears. It’s as if I’m ashamed of being autistic. I know I shouldn’t be – there’s nothing to be ashamed of, but stigma is a powerful thing.
What do you want people to know about autism?
Please don’t see autism and autistic people as a burden, or defective, or diseased, or people who need to be cured. It is said by some so-called “professionals” that we lack empathy. This is just not true! We may not show it like you, and we may struggle at times to put a label on what we’re feeling, but believe me when I say that we feel every emotion that you do. Heck, sometimes I think we even feel emotions more profoundly than the average person!
What are you hopes and aspirations?
I want to make the world a better place for autistic people. One where every autistic person feels loved and valued, and get accommodations so that they can be as proactive a member of society as possible. As for career goals, I like hospitals, so doing something medical or at least in a hospital setting would be cool.