eye contact Archive

Autism Acceptance Month, You, and Me

I would like to welcome the newest member of our writing team, Emily Aviva Kapor. In her first post with us, she talks about how to be an ally to autistic people. Thanks for sharing with us, Emily!

I am autistic. The way I experience the world is different than the way most other people do. I haven’t written much about this publicly yet, and I am continuing to learn to be comfortable with being an autistic adult and moving through the world with this part of my identity. Here, though, is something I wrote two weeks ago for the so-called “Autism Awareness Day” and posted to Facebook; I thought I’d edit it slightly and share it more widely here in honor of the much better idea of Autism Acceptance Month.

DBT Skills: Interpersonal Effectiveness

I have to admit that social interaction and communication are not my strongest points. This is a relatively new development for me, or so I thought. I used to think I was great at using my voice, at standing up for myself, at being in social situations. Today there are a number of barriers that prevent me from being effective in interpersonal communication. One of them is mental and emotional health issues. It’s really hard for me to connect with others when I don’t feel so great myself. Another is acute hearing loss, in both ears, coupled with tinnitus. And finally – and probably the most overwhelming for me, especially when it comes to asking for what I need and speaking up for myself, or saying no when being asked for something – I was raised in an environment that didn’t really encourage me to use my voice under any circumstances. In fact, it was preferred if I was invisible, or at least that’s how I translated it.