To “autism parents”:
I am like your child.
I process sensory stimuli much different than a neurotypical person. I’m very sensitive to noises; I have aversions to many food tastes and textures; I can’t wear certain clothing with certain textures, because it feels uncomfortable on my body; and I can’t certain visual stimuli because it bothers my eyes.
I have meltdowns. This is because when I get too overwhelmed, I can’t express my feelings into words, so I let out my frustrations in ways that you may not expect them to come out.
I have expressed my emotions in ways that are deemed “agggressive”. I have hit and bit people and thrown things as a child because I was too overwhelmed to express my frustrations into words.
I’m not employed or in college. The reason for this is because I’m still trying to work through trauma that I have experienced in primary education. Diagnosed as autistic at 3 years old, I went through early intervention in an attempt to “treat” my autism, and now I have PTSD because of the things my treatment plan included, like ABA.
I can’t make eye contact with other people. I can’t do this because looking other people in the eye isn’t just uncomfortable for me, it’s downright painful.
There are times where I don’t speak verbally. This is because I am so overwhelmed that I shut down, so I use a text-to-speech app on my phone to help me communicate.
I have “self-injurious behaviors”. I sometimes bang or hit my head or bite myself because I’m too frustrated to speak verbally, and I don’t want to take my frustrations out on other people.
So, yeah, I am like your child. When you say that I’m not like your child because I’m “high functioning”, you’re not only invalidating my autistic experiences, you’re reinforcing functioning labels that don’t actually help autistic people – reinforcing the “high-functioning” and “low-functioning” labels makes it harder for autistic people to get the accommodations we need.