Hey, I’m Jess. I’m autistic too. I know it’s a little bit weird, but I have a script for when I meet autistic kids, because there’s some stuff you should know, okay?
Right now it’s a real struggle for you just one day to the next, I know that. And I know it would be easier if you have a voice that other people could understand. You’ll probably get that voice someday. I know an autistic woman who didn’t get her voice until she was a teenager. She teaches at a college now.
Yeah, really. And I know an autistic lawyer. And I’m an author, I wrote four books, how about that? My partner is autistic and they are going to school to be a plumber. Anthony Hopkins is a famous actor your parent probably knows about, and he’s autistic too. There’s lots of us around. We all had problems as kids. Not all the same problem that you have. And most of us have problems as adults too, but I’ll tell you a secret: all adults have problems. Autistic adults just have different kinds of problems.
There are lots of ways you can find your voice. You don’t need to be able to speak to have a voice. You can type or learn sign language or other stuff. Until you find your voice, you’re kinda stuck, because you can’t tell people to stop doing stuff you don’t like or ask for a book about frogs because you love frogs. And some folks will be horrid and think because you don’t have a voice you can’t think. And I’m sorry for that. But for most of us, it gets better. And I believe it will get better for you too.
This is my phone number and my email address. Your parent can put it somewhere where you can get it bring it to them if you ever want to reach me. I’m really weird, not just autistic weird, but weird in other ways too. So I may freak your parent out a bit sometimes. But I think it’s important for you to have an autistic adult available to communicate with.
It is really nice meeting you. Thank you for listening to me.
Yesterday I met a kid who is autistic. She hasn’t found her voice yet, and I knew what I wanted to say to her, but I didn’t know how to say it and I wasn’t sure how her parent would react, and so I stuttered and stumbled and mostly talked with her parent because I didn’t know her stims and other reactions well enough to tell if she liked when I talked to her or not.
So today, I find myself scripting in my head. Planning out what I should have said/would have said. And what I will say next time, because there will be a next time, I meet an autistic kid who doesn’t have a voice and whose parents clearly doesn’t understand.