I had the pleasure of getting to know Julie P. in a series of messages through Reddit over the past couple of weeks. She loves horses (her own personal obsession) and helping other people, which, in her words, is “where a big part of [her] heart is.” In this very thorough interview from Julie P., we learn about her opinions on why leaky gut syndrome and other cures for autism aren’t possible. She also speaks about her desire not only to show that people with autism can do more than you think, but how she dreams of becoming a special education teacher herself.
First, may I ask you what name you’re comfortable going by?
1. At what age were you diagnosed with autism and how did the diagnosis come about?
2. Do you feel that your parents support/supported your needs well?
3. I’ve heard some people say we should refer to you as a person first (a person with autism) but others feel that it’s okay to say someone is an autistic person. What do you feel is the correct way to talk about someone having autism?
4. Do you feel overwhelmed by environmental stimuli? If so, can you explain how it feels (for you) to have a strong reaction to sensory stimuli?
5. Are there ways in which you feel limited by your condition? If so, how?
6. How can having autism have an impact on someone’s behavior?
7. Follow-up: How can parents, teachers, etc., help someone with autism to make it through a situation that’s creating frustration for them?
“The important thing is to step back and acknowledge that your instincts for how you’re interpreting their behavior are probably wrong. This is what frustrates me most, and what’s likely to send me into shutdown most of the time… Look for the place where you make that leap from seeing/hearing a certain behavior[or sentence(s) and other units and parts of speech] to assuming it means something else.”
8. What is the most annoying thing anyone has ever said to you regarding autism (and why did it annoy you)?
9. Do you think there is a cure for autism? More importantly, would you want to be cured of autism? Feel free to elaborate.
10. If you could tell society anything, what would you want to say (try to keep it PG)?
- Salahi, Lara. “For Some, Autism Considered Strength, Not Disorder.” abcnews.go, abc NEWS
- Shore, Stephen. “Strengths and Challenges.”
- Autism Speaks. Autism Speaks, Tarbox, Jonathan. Four of the Many Strengths Associated with Autism. blog.centerforautism