I’ve been thinking a lot lately on two different things: one being certain aspects of the autism spectrum and the second being my own personal beliefs, but by melding the two things together, I realize some ways in which they’re connected. That being said, I’m going to make a list of some of the things autism is not. Usually people make a list about what autism is not, including things like a disease, a person incapable of being married and having kids, one who can’t live independently, etc. With this list, I’ll actually be tackling a couple different nots.
Autism is not the thing that defines what you’re capable of believing and what you’re not. It is not meant to determine your faith and whether or not you believe in God. Let me take that fact and narrow it down a bit to something basic but very important.
Autism does not make decisions for you. At the end of the day, you’re still a human being capable of making decisions like everyone else. The only difference is that you might not understand at first what the right decision is. You might not know at first what decision is best for you. This is not unlearnable however, which leads me to my third point.
Having autism does not mean you’re incapable of learning how to improve in different areas of your life. Just like how you might not understand how to make good decisions at first, when it comes to improving yourself in different parts of life, it may take more discipline and a different way of approaching it.
Having autism does not mean you’re doomed to make the same bad decision every time a choice comes to you. It doesn’t mean you’re fated to make the same bad choice over and over again. This is where learning to improve and understanding the right choice to make comes in. This is one area where I’ve struggled the most in my ‘autistic’ life. I’ve made bad decisions repeatedly to the point where whenever it happens again I think to myself ‘well of course I did that’. This is not a good place to put yourself, because by doing this, you’re basically accepting the fact that making bad decisions is just a part of who you are and there’s no hope in getting better. Then once you put yourself in that mindset, with the fact that the autistic mind tends to be obsessive with certain thoughts, you might end up obsessing over that, which will make yourself feel worse.
If it sounds like I’m talking down to you or scolding you, I assure you that this is not the case. Autism is not many things but it is many things too. Just because you’re on the spectrum and can’t make a decision the same way like others doesn’t mean there isn’t one or more ways out there where you can. Most people on the spectrum can learn how to do the important things in life. The only difference is that sometimes they have to learn differently than others. The alternatives may not always be as easy, but I believe it’s worth it, even if I might not see it that way at first in the moment.