Autism Acceptance Day 2017

Helping people with disabilities has always been a passion of mine. I’ve worked with children with various disabilities, but the ones with autism always stole a piece of my heart. I felt as if I saw a little bit of me inside them. Little did I know the reason I felt so connected.

 

I have autism.

 

I’ve been hospitalized 11 times in the last six years for mental health reasons. Depression and anxiety was always my diagnosis until my hospitalization in my freshman year- and only year- in college.

 

The psychiatrist said that he noticed some signs of Asperger’s Syndrome and suggested I got tested. Over winter break, I went to a testing psychologist who had my parents and I fill out questionnaire. I also had IQ tests done.

 

When I went to get the results, the psychologist said that I definitely was on the autism spectrum.

 

My parents said that the had wondered if I was on the spectrum for a while. They noted poor eye contact, difficulty with social cues and taking things too literally. After the questionnaire, it was revealed that I had many other symptoms.

 

I never suspected that I had autism. All of the people I had worked with or had seen on television were a lot different than me. I’m not nonverbal. I don’t wander away from my family. I am able to communicate.

 

However, I do have autism. There is no one way everybody expresses their symptoms. I have trouble with sarcasm, but another autistic person might be able to laugh along. I wring my hands and rock side to side when I am stressed, but someone else might flap their hands. Everybody in the world is different, and that is the same with autism.
As it is Autism Acceptance Day (April 2, 2017), it is important to know that there is no one face for autism. Everybody on the spectrum deserves to be accepted, no matter their ability. We might be easily spotted, or we might look like just another person in the world. In fact, that is what we are. Just another person in the world. No matter our ability, we are human, just like you.

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Outsider

 

Your square is a little tight

With four sided enclosure

To keep the world far away

To keep the comfort closer

 

Break down the walls

Turn them into chain link

The holes will introduce

You to a new way to think

 

Tear down the metal

Turn holes into a home

Invite outsiders over

Let the conversation flow

 

The square shape is no longer

A circle has appeared

Then you look from a new angle

It’s a sphere

 

A sphere that’s brown as dirt

Green grass and waters blue

Crevices and mountain tops

The home of me and you

The great big Earth

Holds us all in one mitt

Walls break down between us

When we don’t try to fix it

 

The bricks are not forgotten

People will try to stack

Build themselves a shelter

So attention they won’t attract

 

When we pull away the rocks

We’ll help them know we care

They are not alone

We’ve all been there

 

I’m not just saying this

I’ve stayed inside like you

You might be stuck inside your head

But I’m an outsider too

Free and Above

Today’s poem goes out to a very special organization. Free and Above is a movement promoting love and acceptance. The organization followed me on Twitter when it was just starting out. I have deeply believed in it since. It tweets out reminders to love your self and rise above the things holding you back. Inspiring is not enough of an adjective for it, because it is so much more. It is a loving, safe environment for people to share their feelings and stories. The stories shared are raw and honest. They come from the heart, and it feels like you are not alone when you read them. I have shared some things with it, and have always been accepted for who I am. It is beautiful. Everybody should check it out at https://twitter.com/FreeAndAbove to check out what exactly is going on with the cause.

I wrote this poem hopefully as inspiration to others, and to myself. If you are reading this, everything said is true. You are loved. You are enough. You can be free and above whatever demons are haunting you. Here is my poem.


 

Books don’t begin with the end

So why should you give in

When you’ve only just begun

 

Life is a thousand page test

Full of opportunities to do the best

There are chances to be on top

 

There are times you can’t move

The road isn’t always smooth

There are bumps, twists, and turns

 

Sometimes it’s too hard

To walk very far

But a step forward is one in the right direction

 

You might take nine steps back

But the tenth will bring you out of the black

It will take you to new heights

 

Don’t worry about the “what if”s

Think about the what is

The truth is you will thrive

 

You will find self love

Come out free and above

Become the change you wish to see