Whenever I go to speak at a new venue about my life on the autism spectrum, parents often tell me about their frustration over people saying “I’m sorry” when they tell them their child is on the autism spectrum.
This is something I continue to hear again and again…
When I hear those words in regards to my autism diagnosis, I often link it to sadness or that I “lost something” due to having an autism spectrum disorder. I’ve been told I’m sorry by strangers, peers and even on several dates.
I’m not often upset when someone says these words, but I want them to know that I’m OK and I’m living my dreams today. Life was tougher when I was a kid, but because I stuck to my therapies and my interests, I’m able to thrive as an adult today.
Because of this, every time I hear these two words, I respond by saying this:
“Don’t be sorry. Autism is a part of who I am.”
I say this because when people learn more about my story, and my key interests in things like films, public speaking and basketball, they are able to understand my experience of being on the autism spectrum. Sure, it was a long road to get to this point, but I can truly say I’m happy today. Isn’t that what so many of us want?
I advocate because I want people to be accepting of those with autism while also providing supports to help each of our loved ones progress.
Please don’t say “I’m sorry.” Instead, get to know us and who we are.
Just like you would anyone else.