Some people still think that autistic people can’t be social or outgoing.
It drives me CRAZY.
I know what you’re thinking. Autism is a social and communication disorder so wouldn’t everyone who has autism be introverts?
Let me explain.
As a child, I was a big theater nerd but I was also terribly shy. My parents realized that my love of theater could be used to help me build on my social abilities. It allowed them to help me get involved with roleplaying exercises to help with my sensory and speech challenges. As I started speaking in complete sentences at 7, conversations and friendships were easier to build on allowing me to realize how extroverted I wanted to become. By high school, I fully embraced being an autistic extrovert. Even today as an adult, I’ve made a career as a public speaker and, in my personal life, would consider myself very outgoing.
Being an autistic extrovert has some benefits. I meet new people and no two days are really the same for me. That’s why I enjoy my career as well because there is always a new group to connect with. I can also be a cheerleader for others in the community and root them on. My mentees for example teach me so much.
I know I’m not alone either. Along my journey, I’ve met others on the spectrum who have also expressed being extroverts.
There are some challenging times though when I still struggle with things like mindblindness; being able to understand the perspectives of others. I can also feel burnout when I’m in social situations for long periods of time. Other times I may come off intense because, especially when I’m meeting somebody for the first time, I’m unsure if I’m being too talky.
I hope that if you are reading this today you know there are extroverts like me out there. It’s a misconception that I’d truly like to see debunked within our community.