Saturday, April 15, 2017

Interview with Edith- Autism Acceptance Day 2017

I am interviewing Edith, age 32, a cat lover with a philosophy degree.

What is your life like as an Autistic person?

I am fatigued at this point. Most of last year was spent in housing instability and even homelessness for a spell. At this point I am in a safe place and trying again to look for work, but it's difficult still. I know I have a solid skill set. I just need to find the right environment.

What is the most joyful, fun, exciting thing about being Autistic? 

I love that I can read between the lines and notice patterns. This has fueled much of my best journalistic work as well as many of my best papers/essays in college. 

What is the most difficult about being Autistic, for you?

People, some of them anyway, not having patience to wait an extra moment for response. They either assume the conversation is over and leave, or worse they assume I ignored or didn't comprehend them. Also I constantly ask people, friends included, if they are mad because I really cannot tell. Asking and receiving the answer alleviates/prevents anxiety for me, but sometimes this same action actually angers the person where they were not angry before. 

How has the Autism Acceptance Day/Month effort over the past seven years affected you personally? If you were not aware of it until recently, what meaning does Autism Acceptance Day/Month have to you now?

Acceptance to me means a huge step beyond simple awareness. You can be aware something exists but not have learned anything about it. Further you can learn about something without meeting it with acceptance. Acceptance means autistic people being treated with respect and our own self-knowledge being seen as valid. It means we are allowed to be ourselves without masking. 

What does “moving beyond awareness” mean to you?

See above. 

What is one thing about acceptance that would make a difference in the world?

Rather than growing up in pain or shame, autistic people would grow up with a reference to understand themselves. And others would meet us where we are instead of us always having to compromise. This could mean our individual contributions to the world being actualized on a much greater scale. 

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