I Am Autistic | Teen Ink

I Am Autistic MAG

March 20, 2018
By MagentaPixel SILVER, Redmond, Washington
MagentaPixel SILVER, Redmond, Washington
8 articles 0 photos 3 comments

If you pass me in the hallway, you will probably see either a tired girl ranting about the perils of a Monday morning, or you will see an excited girl running, flapping her hands, and jumping for joy even though she is fourteen. You will see a girl with a long black coat because she feels uncomfortable and cold otherwise. She is slightly unkempt without much regard for fashion or makeup. If you don’t know me, you might think I’m strange. But if you get to know me, you’ll understand why I’m constantly moving and dressing like I do.

When I flap my hands, I feel like a million butterflies are lifting up my arms and fluttering around me. When I wear my jacket, I feel secure and warm against the cool elements outside me. When I run, I feel like an airplane on a runway, soaring. When I do things like this, when I am my autistic self, I feel free. If I don’t, I feel like a moth without wings or a bird without a song. I am autistic, and I couldn’t be prouder or happier.

Some have this idea of autism as a socially awkward, straight white boy who’s about twelve, one who loves trains and knows the square root of 57 up to twelve digits. Maybe they’re that character in the book with a tragic fate, the embarrassing little sister, or Rain Man and Forrest Gump.

If they see autism as a thing, they falsely envision heartless mad scientists injecting evil autism serum into vaccinations, or cute blue puzzle pieces on a fundraising T-shirt to demonstrate that they know autism exists.

But autism isn’t a thing or a character. It is simply one aspect of a whole human being. I’m autistic, and I go to a regular school. I have a few disability accommodations, like extra testing time. I get crushes on girls and boys just like any other person I doodle in Spanish and have friends. Some students with autism, who have a greater amount of supports, may use devices or pads to “talk.” Sometimes they have classes in other parts of the building to meet their needs, but they are nonetheless still teenagers. Autistic teenagers, like me. Who again, have dreams and plans and crushes.

Are we different? Of course we are. Autistic teenagers might be ostracized for our flapping or rocking. We might use fidget toys, or have to have extra patience in dealing with people who use “autistic” and the R-slur insultingly.

When we “stim,” or move in strange ways or repeat sayings, it’s our way of moderating the constant sensory input all around us. The same thing applies when we use spinners or cubes or stress balls. Our interests are often intense or obsessive, but this intensity allows us to create beautiful things or join communities and make significant contributions. Many people believe Silicon Valley wouldn’t exist without autistics helping to build up the industry. We are the way we are, not caused by vaccines or in need of cures. We are autistic and amazing.

We aren’t people with tragic lives. We aren’t worthless. We’re the next generation of autistics, beautiful in all of our stimming and obsessions and abilities. We are more than puzzles, we are more than the stereotypes presented by Autism Speaks, and our disabilities are important to our identity. 

I challenge you to not just think about autism whenever April rolls around, but to be appreciate people with autism year round. Commend autistics not for how neurotypical some may seem, but for being autistic, being brave, and facing ableism. Do this because we are fantastic and awesome people. We are teens too.


The author's comments:

This is an article about the perception of autism and being autistic and proud. 


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This article has 2 comments.


on May. 2 2018 at 10:50 pm
MagentaPixel SILVER, Redmond, Washington
8 articles 0 photos 3 comments
That's so cool! Personally, I think being autistic can be tough sometimes, but I love being neurodiverse and decided that the spectrum needed to be shown in a better light. Thanks so much for reading my articles! This made my day!

on Apr. 29 2018 at 10:02 pm
WolfWhisperer0911, Austin, Texas
0 articles 0 photos 643 comments
@MagentaPixel Hey, I'm autistic too! Thank you for writing this article, you're the best!