No wonder we often hear people say: ” But you don’t seem autistic to me…”
People with Autism, especially Aspergers, have learned from their childhood on to mask anything that keeps them from looking normal to others. It starts in the childhood, when their parents desperately ask them over and over to ‘behave’ normally. This causes an enormous amount of stress to people with Autism – children, youngsters and adults. Not only they are trying to do their best, but they feel their best is often not good enough. Can you imagine how hard this is?…Anxiety follows, and not rarely, depression too. Trying to cope is too much a burden. Yet, people with Autism do it all the time. Why is that?…Why can’t they just be who they are?… Why can’t they just be left alone?…Why should they be bullied over and over again for thinking and acting differently than most of other people?…The answer is maybe simple: because neurotypical people are not prepared to understand who they are.
The (social) masks, people with Autism feel forced to use, will eventually get to them. It is just not possible live a normal life, not being ‘normal’. This could explain why so many adults have been diagnosed within the Spectrum, nowadays. Especially people with the (formally known) Aspergers Syndrome feel the pressure to act the way people expects them to.
Depending on the personal experience and the individual necessity to be a part of a normal society, someone with Autism will do anything to disguise his/her condition. It is not as easy as it seems, though. Eventually, this person won’t be able to ‘act normal’ 24×7, which will make her appear as ‘quirky’ in many situations.
It is totally understandable that many people with Autism don’t want to talk about it either. This is often the results of a misconception about Autism by our society. Unawareness and prejudice form a big reason for these special people not to advertise they have some kind of ‘Information Processing disorder’, or a ‘Social Contact Disorder’, or just Autism.
For the word ‘disorder’ is enough to discriminate people, whatsoever. ‘Disorder’ means actually that something/someone is out- of -order. This approach to Autism should be the main reason why ASD-people prefer not to go and shout it out to the world.
But what if we changed it around and called it a different kind of being, instead?… Will ASDs still feel the urge to disguise their condition?… What if Autism will be considered just a Mind Status like any other?… Will this help to drop off the masks?…
They don’t want to wear masks.
They don’t want suffer from anxiety, depression and other unpleasant comorbidities, as the result from a life-long use of masks.
They want society to understand that there are a large population in this (ONE) world who thinks differently from us, just the way everyone thinks differently from one another, regardless a ‘disorder’.
We live in a world of (neuro)diversity. Ther is no more space for misunderstandings around a way of being that has been happening to billions of people in the world – if we take along the whole family.
It is time for us, almighty neurotypical, to say “I’m sorry” to all families dealing with Autism, for the times we misunderstood them;
It is time we jump out of the box and pay attention to what is going on about Autism and learn about it – information is power;
It is time we vote in political parties that are able to represent the families of neurodiverse populations, so that those will obtain what they deserve: Educational, Social and Workplace Inclusion;
It is time every small autistic community as well Autism Advocates all over the world, meet and talk, in order to set up effective strategies of international character to promote Autism, everywhere, anywhere;
last, but not least, it is about time we ask people with Autism, please, to drop off the masks we once – indirectly or not – drove them to wear.