I think that one of the hardest things about autism is that most people with autism look completely normal. When you are born with autism, there are no characteristics that doctors look for and no way for doctors or anyone to know that you may have a disability. In a way, this is a great blessing. It allows people with autism to live relatively normal lives without being prejudged on their appearances. This can also make certain things harder though because people tend to be less forgiving of those they see as normal.
I’m not saying that I want to look different so that I can be people’s charity case. But it would be nice if people could understand why I act the way I do without having to get to the point where I can explain that I have autism. I almost wish there was a way to let people know that I have autism right away so that when I am awkward in some situations, people don’t label me as strange and avoid me in the future. Maybe if there was a way to let people know I have autism, they would be more understanding of my uneasiness.
Looking normal is part of the pressure of trying to live a normal life for someone with autism. Since we look like everyone else, we want to act like everyone else. We want to fit in like a normal person does. When we aren’t able to pull off this lofty goal, it’s a reminder of our weakness and it can feel devastating at times. The pressures to fit in are always present for anyone and realizing that this may never happen is not something anyone wants to experience.
I know that looking different from everyone else wouldn’t make me or anyone else with autism fit in any better, but it might help us realize that we are different and that we don’t have to measure up to the normalcy of the world. Just because we look like everyone else doesn’t mean we have to be like everyone else or live up to their standards. We can still be ourselves and still find a place for ourselves despite the differences that are unseen. If there is one thing I’ve learned from having autism, it’s that our differences make us who we are and can be a huge benefit if we aren’t afraid of them.