As long as I have the word autism attached to my name, there are certain preconceptions and connotations that that word carries with it. If you hear that I’m autistic, you’ll probably assume that I’m not the best communicator. And you might assume that I can be rigid. You might also guess that I don’t do well with other people, with friendships.
That’s where I’m about to prove you wrong.
In October of 2011, my evaluation stated that I had absolutely no insight into normal human relationships. That’s a blow for someone like me, who happens to love her friends and family fiercely, intensely, and completely. It hurts to hear that.
I’ve known in the past several months or so that I’ve made a lot of progress in that area thanks to some very patient friends, but I realized just how much progress I’d made when I discovered that I’m doing better than a lot of people my age…
I was on Facebook a few weeks ago when I saw a meme posted by an old friend, my age, that said, “Real friendships are based on a solid foundation of alcohol, sarcasm, inappropriateness, and shenanigans.”
She might’ve just been joking around, but I know that for some people that’s the truth. And I thought of my friends, and what our friendships are based on. Our “shenanigans” are going to the grocery store and stopping for a bite to eat. I can’t say any of my friends are big on sarcasm, and neither am I.
I have a handful of autistic friends via the internet that have proved tried and true through my recent ordeals. Some of them speak, and several of them don’t, or prefer to type. Some of them need fairly intensive supports. They have varying levels of ability, disability, maturity, and so forth. These girls have taught me about true friendship. Why must it be such an unlikely source, a person with autism?
When are we going to realize that people with autism make some of the most loyal friends?
Want to know what real friendship is?
Ask your local autistic person. Better yet, let her show you!
Lydia is a young adult with autism whose world revolves around her faith (with cats and the color pink following not far behind!) She likes to spend her time doing anything that can be created, from drawing, to painting, scrapbooking, needlepoint and of course, writing. She tends to live life hard and off the beaten path, but she likes it that way. She was diagnosed at 21. She received services through her state’s Adult Autism Waiver for 18 months before her health got very complicated. Though she lives in a nursing home, she sees no reason why she can’t change the world.