I have autism and I'm very frustrated with my life. First of all, I don't have many friends because most people my age are afraid of me and think I'm weird or even mean. That really upsets me. They don't understand how hard it is to have a disability that affects my social life!
Second, I have difficulty speaking up properly when I need help with something. Sometimes I'm too scared to speak up because it's very difficult for me to process what I say and hear. I then get frustrated when my voice is not fully heard and nobody knows how to help me. Sometimes I'm too afraid to ask for help because I'm afraid nobody will believe me anyway so I should just be quiet. Nobody really believes me and that is frustrating, too.
When people do these things to me it often leads to questionable behaviors on my part. Once, I even cut myself I was so stressed. I now know that's not the right way to handle it.
I only have one true friend right now and she has a disability called Down syndrome. She lives in another town and I really miss her. She has always been nice to me and I can always count on her to make me laugh and do fun things.
What can I do to make people understand me better?
- Madi, there are other people with autism who are having difficulties meeting new people.
- Go to places where you are celebrated--not tolerated. There are organizations that provide social opportunities for individuals with disabilities.
- Find out where those types of organizations are and inquire about how you can get involved. Most likely, there will be people there who will make time to understand you and your situation.
- Ask your friend to schedule a visit with you once a month. You do not have to make your true friend understand you better because she already knows you.
- Plan a trip to visit your friend at least once a month. When you are visiting each other, try finding places in your communities where both of you can meet new friends together. This will give you something to look forward to and a chance to laugh and do fun things together again.
- As far as you having difficulties with speaking up properly; it can become overwhelming. However, it is a good thing that you understand the difference between the right way and the wrong way to manage the stress that it causes.
- Perhaps you can keep a pen and some paper handy so that you can write down your questions or concerns. Then hand over the note to someone whom you feel comfortable relating the message.
- Or, you should ask your parents to help you look for a hand held device that will help you convey what you want to say by typing the words and, record what you want to hear when you cannot process information timely.