5 Things I Wish People Understood About Autism

5 Things I Wish People Understood About Autism • minimalistic bedroom

One of the things I really want to focus on with my blog this year is to create more autism awareness content.

I want to use my platform as a place to dispel some of the stereotypes and misconceptions around autism because let’s face it, there are a lot!

So as its World Autism Awareness Day today, I thought what better time to start!

5 Things I Wish People Understood About Autism • minimalistic bedroom
Photo from Unsplash • Nicole Honeywill • https://unsplash.com/photos/W3jacLiUrhI

Autism is a spectrum

Every person on the spectrum is different, it’s why it’s called a spectrum in the first place.

Personally I find that my autism makes traditional jobs impossible to cope with, I’ve had several different jobs and never lasted longer than a few months.

It’s one of the main reasons I decided to become self employed; something I love, but which comes with a new set of challenges of its own!

[Related Post: 4 Reasons That I Love Being Self Employed]

On the other hand, Chris has had his job for over 5 years now and while he doesn’t enjoy it, he copes really well in it.

People seem to assume that all autistic people are exactly the same, and expect you to say and do certain things based on the experience they’ve had with another autistic person.

That’s like expecting all people with blue eyes to love the colour green, just because you once met a person with blue eyes who liked green…

There’s isn’t a “look” to autism

Oh boy, if there’s one thing I’m getting a little fed up of hearing its “you don’t look autistic”.

Worst of all, they think that saying that is a compliment!

Now I completely understand that most of the time this is meant in a genuine way, but just think about it for a second.

It’s the same as saying “you don’t look disabled” to someone who isn’t in a wheelchair – which is also a big problem but that’s a rant for another time.

I recently found of that quite a number of people mix up autism and Down’s syndrome, or think that if you have one you have to have the other as well.

I’ve no idea where this has come from, but it’s definitely not true!

5 Things I Wish People Understood About Autism • stacked books and glasses
Photo from Unsplash • Nicole Honeywill • https://unsplash.com/photos/UlIdQK8RZdw

Of course, someone with autism can have other conditions too, both physical and mental, but without getting too deeply into the medical side of things (which I’m definitely not an expert on) those conditions aren’t usually related to each other.

We’re not all amazing at maths

Apparently this comes from a film called Rain Man, although I’ve never actually seen it so I can’t really comment on it.

But since then everyone seems to think being autistic means you’re good at maths, which in my case is definitely true.

I only just managed to scrape a pass in my GCSEs!

This ties back to autism being a spectrum; some people are amazing at maths, others at languages and others (like me) have really good memories.

But there are also people who aren’t particularly academic and might be better at practical activities like woodwork, building or graphic/digital design.

Everyone has different skills, and being autistic doesn’t change that.

Women can be autistic too

This is something I wish medical professionals would actually understand too.

As a general rule, women are better at masking and hiding their autism than men are, which is why we’re missed so often.

The lovely Rebekah has an awesome graphic that highlights this perfectly, so I’m going to let that speak for itself:

3 Facts About Autistic Women & Girls Infographic • Rebekah Gillian
Rebekah Gillian • https://rebekahgillian.co.uk

When I went for my initial assessment, I ended up with a guy who basically didn’t believe that women can be autistic and tried to tell me I was just slightly anxious!

As you can imagine, that didn’t go down too well with me.

I’d waited three years to get an assessment and then I ended up with a guy who basically refused to believe anything I said because I didn’t have my mum with me.

I was 23 at the time…

The whole process was horrendous and I was so angry and upset that I phoned up and cancelled the whole process as I couldn’t face going through those two more times!

I might go into this in more detail in a separate post, so let me know if this would be something you’d be interested in hearing more about it?

Being autistic can be great

In all honesty, there are times when I love being autistic!

There are downsides of course. Meltdowns are a bitch that can knock me for days or even weeks at a time and working in a traditional environment is out of the question for me.

Even uni is difficult now because I’m forced to do things I struggle with as part of this course, and unlike my undergrad, they aren’t providing an alternative such as working on my own or presenting in private.

But even then, there are still positives and I personally don’t see autism as a disability or disadvantage.

5 Things I Wish People Understood About Autism • minimalistic bedroom
Photo from Unsplash • Nicole Honeywill • https://unsplash.com/photos/VDPauwJ_sHo

I know that no everyone will have this point of view.

I know some people on the spectrum hate and really resent it and that’s okay. I’m writing this from my own personal point of view, and I know how lucky I am that I can function fairly well in my day to day life.

I’m a lot like a cat; I can kind of survive on my own but someone really should supervise me – I’m not joking when I say I actually managed to burn soup one time!

Are you autistic or know someone who is? What is the one thing you wish people understood about autism?

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5 Things I Wish People Understood About Autism

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  • I’m autistic and you pretty much hit everything on the nail! I also want to create more autism-related content on my own blog.

  • Dax Munro says:

    Hi Jade. 🙂

    I went through a similar process when I was 21. My mum had always suspected I was Autistic and had tried to have me assessed as a child but my school refused to give supporting evidence to the doctors, saying I got good grades so there clearly wasn’t anything wrong/different about me.

    When we went to the doctors, I was told I was ‘very low risk’ for Autism but we ended up persisting as I too have never been able to keep a traditional job and get really drained from just a few hours of socializing. Eventually, they pushed for me to be seen more quickly, I was assessed, and diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome.

    Knowing why I’m different has helped me to make adjustments in life, so I can try and go after my dream of being a writer. The one thing I wish people knew about Autism is that we’re all just as human, with our own hopes and dreams, fears and goals. We just want the same common decency given to us as is given to anyone else. xoxo

  • Jade, I am so glad you wrote this as it’s really helped me to understand more! I completely get the whole ‘you don’t look autistic’ thing as to be honest, growing up I always had the thought in my head that you could tell from someones appearance. I’m not sure where on earth I learned that from and of course, I am far from thinking that now but it’s so weird that I was conditioned to think that way because of my surroundings or the media! I’m so glad you’ve found a better and more suitable way to live than forcing yourself to stay in a conventional job. This is a fab post!
    Alice Xx

  • I know how you feel with the ‘you don’t look autistic,’ I definitely get you don’t look disabled at times, if I have my stick I do, but if I practice without it, they think I’m magickally cured. Or one day I will have multiple braces on, then another I don’t so they think I’m taking it. Ehlers Danlos Syndrome sucks

  • Such an informative post, Jade! Especially for people who aren’t autistic and don’t quite understand it either. I can imagine some of these things being SO frustrating to hear! The whole “you don’t look autistic” can definitely relate to mental illness as well. I’ve heard “you don’t look anxious” numerous times when I actually freaking am! I think Hollywood and even books can put an emphasis on the “autistic person who’s really good at math and science” and it’s a pretty big stereotype. It’d be good if more entertainment showed different types of people on the spectrum, not just those who are fantastic at math.


  • Laura says:

    I’m so sorry you had such a difficult time with your diagnosis! And even though it’s a completely different condition, I really feel for you because NO ONE believed me that I had Fibromyalgia or that it even existed. It was a long and painful process, especially when you know you’re right!
    23 sounds like quite a late age for a diagnosis – is that due to the masking? Genuine question, forgive me if that’s presumptuous of me.

    Personally, as awful as it can be for those who have to live with this… I think Autism is beautiful. Being able to see and experience the world a little differently fascinates me and some carry incredible, mesmerising talents. And we should try so much harder to understand those who carry it with them. I really think if we did our best to understand the thought processes/triggers and try to ease things where needed it would help so much more. Rather than trying to get them to conform to the social norms. Because it just seems completely irrational to me to expect someone to bend because you don’t recognise their way of thinking/coping.

    Laura // http://www.laurahasablog.co.uk

  • Nyxinked says:

    Thank you for writing this. I can hold my hands up and say I learned something through reading this. Although I am not autistic I feel you when you talk about your variety of jobs. I’m the same – I can’t seem to cope mentally in a job for longer than a year due to persistent self doubt and low self esteem.

    Your blog is beautiful, by the way <3

  • Lyd says:

    Thankyou so much for this post Jade! I am 70% sure I have autism, I tick so many boxes and feel like I received a different life manual to everyone else, but then I have ‘good’ days where I can go through my day without the stress or over stimulation. Jobs are

    Unfortunately many people miss the points you make, they think that autism is a severe disability or that every autistic person is Sheldon Cooper! Autism desperately needs more understanding and acceptance.

  • Jade Marie says:

    I’m so glad you felt you learnt something from my post, that was one of the things I was really hoping would happen ☺️ I’m sorry to hear about your struggles with jobs too though! 😔

    And thank you so much! 💛

  • Jade Marie says:

    I have good days too, sometimes I actually have good weeks! It’s quite normal and you don’t always have to have constant bad days, just the same as any other condition ☺️ if you ever want to talk about it I’m only a DM away!

    And ugh don’t even get my started on that one – Its so annoying!! I’m hoping my blog and some public speaking events I’m trying to organise will help with awareness ☺️

  • Madi Dearson @madidearson.com says:

    The Rain man thing made me smile, this movie is responsible for a lot of misconceptions.:) My beautiful autistic son HATES math and is amazing with everything to do with the written word and with art, it’s a great movie btw, but has nothing to do with real life:) For me it’s that people still think all autistic people don’t like to be touched or can’t express feeling. Drives me crazy. My son is one of the most verbal loving kids I know.
    this is such an important post. Thank you for sharing Jade.

  • Kim says:

    I’m sorry you had such a difficult time being diagnosed. It’s awful how naive some people can be. My partner has aspergers syndrome.

  • Karalee says:

    It’s great you want to create more autism awareness content! I think most people think autism is only a male disorder because in most tv shows and movies, the character who has autism is male. Also, I’ve heard that tv shows and movies normally don’t portray autism accurately (the most recent example being Atypical), so I would like to hear what you think about the portrayal. Is it a good representation of one person on the spectrum or are there any shows and movies you would recommend instead?

    Tales of Belle

  • Louise_MSA says:

    This is a really good post for raising awareness.

    I work with adults with learning disabilities and some are autistic also, as is one of my colleagues. It is definitely true that it is different for each individual and so many people don’t understand that it’s not a one size fits all kind of thing!

    well done for raising awareness 💕

  • Amazing post as always Jade! This was an interesting read and it’s great to see things from your perspective. My mum is a teacher and has dealt with varying degrees of autism over the years, but mostly boys. It’s great to see awareness that women have it too! X

    Megan | https://meganelizabethlifestyle.com/

  • I’ve worked with children with autism on many occasions and they are just amazing and wonderful children! This post is great awareness for anyone who would like to know about autism and what it means, amazing post! x

    Lucy | http://www.lucymary.co.uk

  • Emma says:

    Thanks so much for sharing. I’ve just started an online ‘Understanding Autism’ training course for work and I’m finding it so useful. Universities and work places should be so much more accessible and accommodating, and hopefully this is the first step.

  • Lisa says:

    Beautifully written post. I have several friends at different spectrums and each are amazing at the talents and obstacles they face. Thank you for sharing and hopefully this will help others understand.

  • Daisy says:

    This is such an incredible post! I’m slowly learning more and more about myself and I’m actually pretty surprised how handy being autistic can be sometimes! I always seem to spot the little things that others miss…maybe I should be a detective! Haha!

    Daisy xoxo | TheDeeWhoLived

  • I love this and how you have expressed your thoughts on autism. Just by doing this, you are teaching others something.

    I do not have autism but I do not think it is a disadvantage and I have great respect for my autistic friends. I enjoy listening to their perspectives because they often interpret something in a way I never would.

  • Jade Marie says:

    It’s so lovely to hear you say that! I think our outlook on life is one of our strengths, and one that people don’t always value unfortunately.

  • Jade Marie says:

    Thank you Daisy! 🙂 haha I’m the same, I think its such a handy skill to have! Maybe we should start our own detective agency? 😂

  • Jade Marie says:

    Thank you so much 🙂 I really hope it can help others understand too!

  • Jade Marie says:

    Oh wow it’s great that some work places offer courses like that 🙂 I really hope so too, I’m going to do as much as possible to help make those places more accessible and help raise awareness to the people who work in them!

  • That is a very true observation, to me.

What are your thoughts? Let me know!

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