so you got diagnosed with autism? Congratulations!
I was already an old man when I got my diagnosis, so I donít know what it feels like for you, but I am sure itís a big deal.
You probably heard a lot of things about autism, and I bet not all of them were nice. There are people who think that autism is a tragedy, a terrible disease or a horrible disability; donít believe a word they say. Being autistic just means being different, and a lot of people are plain scared of anything and anybody different.
I guess you noticed that most people, be they children or adults, like to hang out in groups where they try to fit in and impress others. Weíre not like that; we like to do our own thing. This is why other people think we are strange, just like they seem strange to us, too.
Because we think differently from everybody else, we are more likely to come up with new ideas and solutions to problems. This is why all the great scientists, inventors, artists and writers are autistic. Of course not all of us will become Shakespeares and Einsteins, yet we all have the potential to change the world for the better, be it in a small or in a big way.
But, as you probably already found out yourself, our gift comes with a lot of struggles and difficulties. We can be very sensitive to certain sounds, lights, tastes or textures, we feel very strongly about things other people may not even notice, and very often we donít know what other people want from us because they donít say it out loud. Also, many of us are mercilessly bullied in school (and even as adults) because we are standing out.
Many of us become experts at certain things at a very young age. If you are good at or know a lot about something, keep it up and donít listen to those who call it an Ďobsessioní or a Ďspecial interestí without taking you seriously!
Other people often misunderstand us, just like we often misunderstand them. This can be awfully frustrating, just like many other things that happen to us. I know it can be very difficult to deal with frustration, but rather than lashing out at others, one should take a deep breath and try to think of a way to solve the problem - and if thatís not possible, one should make sure at least not to hurt oneself or anybody else and not to break anything.
There will be a lot of people telling you and your parents that there are certain things you will never be able to do. Donít take them seriously - there is only one person on Earth who knows what you can do, and that person is you. Donít let them discourage you; every day all over the world autistic children prove that they are able to do a lot more than the so-called experts believe.
Some autistic children learn to speak at a later stage, and some never talk at all. If that is the case with you, try to find other ways to let people know what you feel and think, like writing, typing or pointing at pictures.
Many people try to break us to make us fit into their world because they think thatís what we want. It is not - or do you want to be like everybody else?
Always keep in mind that you can do anything you put your mind to! Our greatest enemies are discouragement and pressure; donít allow anybody to discourage you, and tell anyone who puts pressure on you that this doesnít help.
Most of all, always remember that there is nothing wrong with you, and donít let anybody tell you otherwise!
Wishing you a happy childhood and a fulfilling autistic life,
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