We are PROUD to share this blog from one of our brilliant instructors who is not only an accomplished Licensed Occupational Therapist but also an Adult with Autism.  Kim is an inspiration, hope you enjoy the read!

I don’t normally post such things, but I am frustrated how society views autism as a childhood disorder. There is so much education given and there are so many supports for kids (which is GREAT!)..but what about for adults?

11 things I want you to know about autism written by me, an adult (who was once a child) with autism

1. Everyone is different yet we are all the same. I am a person just like you are a person. And like you I have feelings, thoughts, likes and dislikes, fears, opinions, and dreams. Everyone deserves to feel safe, to love and be loved..just bc someone is not you doesn’t mean they don’t deserve these things. Autism is not who I am, it is a part of me just like my creativity, brown hair, freckles, astigmatism, love for nature, and so on. It’s just part of what makes me Kim!

2. I know that everyone struggles with things. Telling me this only frustrates me bc I already know it

3. My sensory sensitivities are more than just a dislike or a preference; they are more than a nuisance or something I can tune out or that I can get used to…they are often disorienting, can be very painful, can make it hard to coordinate my body, are sometimes. disabling, can isolate me, and they make carrying out daily tasks and communication, exhausting and sometimes impossible.

4. Don’t rush me, give me time to process…It is difficult for me to process and organize multiple steps or concepts, especially if they are auditory…Give me one direction at a time…Write down things with multiple steps

5. I don’t mean to be defiant, rude or disrespectful…If I yell it doesn’t mean I am angry…My words don’t always come out right

6. I want to be be social and to be included I just might not know how or the environment may be too much for me. Also my way of socializing may look different than your, however that doesn’t make it wrong.

7. I have feelings and I know that you too have feelings. I may not respond the same as you to situations but that doesn’t mean I don’t care…. I may say things that hurt your feelings but I don’t mean to I mostly look at situations in a logical manner and may not connect a feeling to it. I am very sensitive though especially to those who are “misfits”

8. I have a hard time with change and the unexpected

9. Sometimes I just cannot function and pushing me when in shutdown will make it worse and will make it last longer. Allow me reboot in my own way. I’ll come back when I am able.

10. I don’t do things for attention or to always get my way. Instead of looking at behaviors as a “way to get attention” look at them as a way to communicate something (a need, pain, a feeling, uncertainty, disorganization, overstimulation, a thought, a fear, etc) or a missing skill set that needs help developing.

11. Kids with autism grow up to become adults with autism. Autism is not a childhood disorder. It doesn’t go away when a person turns 18 or ages out of the system. Adults with autism deserve to have access to the accommodations and assistance they need in order to function and live a fulfilling and joyful life!!

– Kim Clairy, OTR/L