My name is C.J. I was born on the last day of June in 1995.
I live in a confusing world of light, sound, colour and busyness.
What is clear to you, is scary for me.
When I look at things, I see colours you cannot see and patterns you probably won’t see also.
Can you see the paw prints and the frog face in this photo?
It is a frightfully scary place to be. I often prefer to be on my own and watch the world pass me by.
I smell differently to you. I can smell hot, and I can smell cold.
I feel things differently to you. You might like the smell of fresh sea air, the look of fluffy white clouds, the feel of hard rocks under your feet, the sound of water lapping against the shore, and the feel of cool clear water. To me, it’s all very overwhelming and I HATE the feel of water.
This is the world I live in, the confusing world of Autism.
But it isn’t all doom and gloom.
We just take a while to find our place in space and time.
But once we find it, we can thrive.
Just like you, we can make our dreams come true. We just need your understanding and support.
Tread gently when you work with us, for we can be as delicate as a rose, yet break easily.
Don’t just tell us what you are going to do. Show us, for we are visual.
Don’t just tell us or show us once. Sometimes we need you to show us a thousand times patiently!
But once we understand, we will never forget.
Just like you, we are all different. We have different likes, dislikes, tolerances and capabilities.
Just like you, for us, these levels can all change throughout the day. However, sometimes they can change throughout the minute. So be patient with us.
Although we can be rather delicate, we still need a challenge. We might not like the challenge, but we need to know the difference between something that is going to harm us, something that is going to hurt us and something that is going to help us.
Sometimes things hurt us and we are uncomfortable as we experience this. When you know something has the potential to hurt us, help us through it. Show me why it has to be done. Show me how it will be done. Let me touch it and give me strategies to help me deal with the process.
Show me the difference between harm and hurt.
Sometimes what I am doing to myself is harmful, but I cannot see that. I need your help to understand there is a better way. Sometimes you have to think outside the square to help me understand.
Sometimes, I’m just not ready to do what is good for me and I will fight you all the way. This is when you need to decide if it is something that has to be done now, or something that can be done a year or two or ten from now. Or is there a different way of doing it that we haven’t thought of yet?
I don’t need to be just like you, or anyone else who think they are normal, for I am normal to me. I just think in a different way to you. And if I was just like you, or you were just like me, what a boring world that will be!
So take my differences in your stride. Work with me, not against me. Help me to understand, don’t fight me. And if our appointment only lasts 5 minutes, then that can be 5 minutes towards conquering your world, instead of 30 minutes of shear hell for both of us.
Oh, and just a little clue, sometimes you need to send my primary care giver out of the room, and bribe me to get my co-operation. For we are well known for feeding off the anxieties of others, just as much as we are known for being able to barter to get what we need out of the exchange that you think you need to have with us.