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How to Respond When a Friend Tells You They’re Autistic

I have disclosed my diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to friends, family, colleagues, and acquaintances, and each time I’ve been met with a different reaction. Some have been supportive and have put me at ease, others… not so much. Below are three things you ought not to say, and three things you could say instead when someone tells you they’re autistic.

Don’t say this: 1. You don’t look autistic, you seem so normal!

How do autistic people look? The same as you and I. What physical characteristics indicate that someone is autistic? None. Autism doesn’t have a “look.” Even if you don’t say this with malicious intent, you run the risk of invalidating someone’s identity as an autistic person because they don’t fit your preconceived notions of how an autistic person should appear or act.

Another thing to consider is that for people who were assigned female at birth and have been socialized as women, they will more likely than not have practiced “masking,” which is to learn to behave and present like neurotypical peers in an attempt to fit in. The “normalcy” that you are perceiving might be an intentional choice of theirs to behave in a way you’re comfortable or familiar with. Although this camouflaging process may cater to your preferred way of socializing, it can be at the expense of your autistic friend’s wellbeing, which is not something you want to readily praise.

2. Everyone’s a little bit autistic. I hate (large groups, fireworks, strong smells…) too.

You are either autistic or you are not. Yes, we may share an aversion to socializing in large groups, but you are not accounting for the differences in frequency, intensity, and duration of said aversion. As an allistic introvert, your social battery may drain

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I have disclosed my diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to friends, family, colleagues, and acquaintances, and each time I’ve been met with a different reaction. Some have been supportive and have put me at ease, others… not so much. Below are three things you ought not to say, and three things you could say instead when someone tells you they’re autistic.
You’ve just finished your most recent book. As you revel in your accomplishment and the journey that has just taken place, you are left with a new predicament, finding your next read. There are several ways to go about it, whether you look for something else by the author you just read or seek some recommendations from a multitude of resources. Here are some tips to help you find the next book to read.

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