What Is “Autistic”?

So a lot of people have this thing called Autism Spectrum Disorder. But what is it? Ok yes, medically, Autism is “A developmental disorder characterized by difficulties with social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior.” But I feel that Autism is so much more than that. To me, Autism is a way of life. It is not something you can “catch” or “spread”. I think it is something you are inherently born with. But having said that, I think medically and socially, Autism is misunderstood. I think people without Autism see people with it as second-class or subversive. I tend to disagree with that. I am not making a blanket statement about people without Autism. But it’s what I observed. It’s sad some people see us like that. So Autistic is just “different not less”. I think the media has gotten ahold of the “image” of Autism and run with it. Look at shows like Atypical, The A Word, and the Good Doctor. The people on the show are seen as smarter than usual, but socially awkward. I’m not saying they’re totally wrong. But I am saying maybe there is more to us than that. We are not all savants. I like to think I am a smart guy but Goddamn…the media almost holds us to a higher standard. Other shows did a near-perfect job of portraying Autism. Case in point: Julia on Sesame Street. Julia is lower functioning, meaning she does not speak all that much and has noise sensitivity. This is not all of us, obviously. But it is some of us…NOT ALL! Sesame Street realized Autism is not black and white and Sesame Street, when asked by Big Bird, what Autism is, stated “For Julia…”. Smart decision. I know the title of this post may seem a little misleading. Look, long post short…I don’t know what Autistic “is”. I don’t know what Autism “looks like”. Selfish as it sounds, for yours truly, Autism is, looks like, and acts like me. I know there are plenty of other people on the Spectrum. But I don’t know how they are impacted by it. Hell, I am still trying to figure out how I am impacted by it. We may never truly know what Autism “is”. So what do you think? What does Autism and Autistic mean to you? Let me know and thanks for reading!

-Tom

Author: AuTom Spectrum Blog

I have Autism and am a self-advocate and public speaker. On the side I do stand-up comedy. I live in Baltimore County and have an AMAZING girlfriend

One thought on “What Is “Autistic”?”

  1. Autism is to me the noise sensitivity and sensitivity to light. It means that my brain works differently and I think differently. I am proud to be different! My Autism is what makes me who I am.

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