This is how it is for me. Autism, which is a neurological disability that one is born with, makes so many things that an NT person takes for granted…..the ability to be able to ignore teasing and tauntings, the ability to cope when there are so many words coming at me, or too much noise, and so on…..difficult if not impossible for those of us who are neurologically wired differently. Please understand this. We lose our words. Other words come out that we don;’t mean to say. We shut down. we meltdown. Please understand. Autism is not a behavior issue, and when we exhibit a behavior it is because we are trying to tell you something that we are unable to communicate to you. Please understand.
I am in an unfamiliar place.
I do not speak the language, nor know the local customs.
I do not feel well.
I approach a woman nearby.
“Excuse me, please,” I say. “I don’t mean to bother you, but I have a stomach ache. Can you help me?”
She puts her finger to her lips and shakes her head. I try to figure out why. Maybe it’s not an okay time to talk. Maybe she understands my words differently than I intend them. Maybe she thinks I just told her to put her head where the sun don’t shine. Whatever the reason, it’s clear that I haven’t communicated the way that I was supposed to.
What I don’t know is that, in this culture, it is not considered acceptable for outsiders to approach villagers. It’s just not done.
My stomach really hurts. I need help. So I try again.
“Excuse me, ma’am,” I…
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