Interview with a teen with autism

I remember when my daughter was young, wishing she could tell me what it was like to be her. I wondered what was going on in her little head and what I could do to help her. Now that she is a teenager she is able to verbalize so much that I wish she could have told me years ago. Here’s a little interview I did with her that gives the perfect glimpse into her thoughts:

What does it feel like to have autism?

Strange. It feels like you can’t do everything that you want to do because you don’t fit in most of the time. You feel like you are trapped inside your own world.

What are some good things about having autism?

I get to go on a smaller school bus that is quieter than a big one. I get to relate with other special needs kids. I can understand little kids with autism more than other people can.  I get to be manager of my high school soccer team and I have a lot of jobs I do to help them.

What are some not so good things about having autism?

Sometimes you have meltdowns. The smallest thing in your routine can mess your whole day up.

Some people don’t understand you.

Sometimes you get helped too much and you don’t need that much help.

I really hate loud noises and fire alarms.

It is hard to know when to stop doing something that you are doing.

What do you want to tell people about your life as a teenager with autism?

I can’t deal with changes as easy as other people.

Autism makes it hard to concentrate.

Autism is an obstacle I have to overcome every day.

Even though it is hard to do homework you can still make it through school. I am getting all A’s and one B on my report card.

What would you tell other kids with autism?

Ask for help when you need it. Use your resources. Get involved in Special Olympics because that is how I made a lot of friends.

Even though you have autism you can still do what you put your mind to.

Autism is just a word, it is not you, it is just one word to describe you.

What would you like other people to know about people with autism?

That we are not different, that we are just the same as you.

We can do everything we want to do when we put our minds to work.

About Jessica

Jessica is a 30-something mom to five, four in her arms and one in her heart. On any given day you will find her taxi-ing a teenager, mopping up the latest "art project" and trying to remember when she turned the crock pot on… all the while, looking for the closest Starbucks drive thru. Jessica Watson can also be found at her personal blog Four Plus an Angel, on twitter (@jessbwatson) and on Pinterest.

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