“If you’ve met one person with Autism, you’ve met one person with Autism.”
I’m not sure if people don’t understand that phrase very well, or it’s quickly forgotten.
Each and every single person on this planet is different. Where you find someone with similarities, you’ll find that those people also have massive differences. Between your interests, the foods you eat, your health, family, schooling, religion, parenting styles, ambition… there are so many things that you could potentially have in common or not in common with another person.
Even within your own family. Your parenting styles may be completely different than your parents. You could see completely eye to eye on something with someone… but apart from that one similarity, you couldn’t be more different.
And that’s a good thing! It’s what makes this world amazing! It’s what keeps life from getting boring. It’s what helps inspire others. Everyone can’t care about absolutely everything. On a very singular level, sure.
There are amazing people out there rescuing animals and saving their lives. There are people out there helping homeless people… there are people out there trying to find better ways to create, store and use energy.
We can’t ALL care and DO all of those things. On a small scale, sure. Like making sure we spay and neuter our pets, donating to food banks, conserving the electricity we use… But we all have lives to live. We have to make money to take care of ourselves and our family. But by everyone caring about something, we can all take care of our world together.
It’s the same with Autism.
We are NOT all the same, and it’s ridiculous to think that we are. Sure, we may have similar characteristics, have something in common… but besides being on the spectrum, Joe Shmo and I may have absolutely nothing else in common.
Some people on the spectrum might have the ability to talk, and others need help communicating. Some might have severe anxiety and others wander around without a care in the world. Or have severe sensory issues, where even soft clothing with no tags can feel like sand paper against their skin… but another needs deep pressure or to constantly feel textures because their body says they need it in order to feel normal.
So my child on the spectrum may be completely opposite of someone else’s child on the spectrum. Which is okay! That’s life. But we shouldn’t shame others or say ugly things to people because what we imagine Autism to be, is different for someone else.
Everyone’s experience with Autism will be different and unique.
And while I appreciate people trying to understand Autism, and be more aware… your cousin’s, friend’s, brother who has Autism… probably isn’t going to end up being the same as me or my kids who are on the spectrum. So you don’t “get it”. It’s really about the wording we’re using.
Things like that can seem irritating to Autistics or parents of autistics. Because the “if you’ve met one Person with Autism” rule applies.
But you know what you can say?
My cousin’s, friend’s brother is Autistic… and I think that’s pretty cool. He’s a really great kid. What’s Autism like for you? I’d like to learn more.
I don’t know too many people who would EVER turn down the opportunity to raise some awareness and share a bit about themselves or their children.
Lastly, for those who feel the need to compare and contrast people and kids on the spectrum and then belittle others for dissagreeing or having a different experience. The rule applies to you too.
It’s fun to find similarities… but stop disputing the differences. Everyone is different.
If you’ve met one person on this earth… you’ve met one person on this earth.