Fifty Things Autism Taught Me

Jun 29, 2022

When my stepdaughter received her autism diagnosis I decided to write her a note with some things that autism had taught me as an autistic adult, whilst my partner napped I hand wrote this list, 50 reasons felt like a good number to aim for and in the space of an hour, I had written this little gem. Somewhere in the pit of doom that is my stepdaughter's bedroom, this list may still live, fortunately for you, I also typed it up so your lives are safe. I also created an e-book to explain some of these points in more detail which you can download here 


1. That it isn’t just loud noise that’s painful

2. Clothes are different levels of comfortable

3. Tags in clothes feel like a cactus or sandpaper against your skin

4. When I’m stressed my hair hurts

5. It feels like everyone is watching me if I’m walking through open space or past big windows

6. Lotions and potions can make my skin feel horrible

7. Brushing teeth is a sensory hell and can feel deeply unpleasant

8. I need more sleep than non-autistics and that’s OK

9. I have special interests that take a lot of my focus and energy, it can make me stop enjoying other things

10. Being organised is really hard this is because of executive function/dysfunction

11. Being interrupted even if I’m just thinking is so annoying as it takes me ages to remember what I was thinking or doing

12. Being around other people is exhausting and I need time to recover afterwards, sometimes I have more energy for people time and sometimes I have less

13. Some days I have soooo much energy and other days I have no energy, that’s OK. Take a look at spoon theory if you haven’t heard of it.


Also check out beer theory, which explains autistic burnout beautifully Beer theory

14. Touching certain textures makes me want to throw up

15. Certain smells make me want to throw up

16. The world is so bright it makes my eyes really hurt, even when other people think it’s dull outside or inside

17. Certain textures of food are rank and I can’t eat them – Mushrooms are like little balls of slime YUK

18. That being in a messy environment makes me feel so angry, but tidying can make me feel angry too as I don’t always know where to start and people helping can annoy me.

19. I hear all the noises that non-autistic people don’t, it makes listening to people hard as there are too many noises to absorb their words, especially in places like cafes or pubs

20. Making eye contact is weird, how long to do it for, how long is too long or not enough? I look at the spot in between the eyes in the middle of the forehead now and that works for me

21. Sometimes I want to touch things to see what they feel like

22. Sometimes I smell new food before eating it, if it smells wrong I’m not eating it

23. Autism is actually really cool, people don’t really get what it is and that’s their loss, not ours.

24. Animals are so much better than most people, they don’t judge and they love without condition

25. I don’t always know when I’m hungry

26. I don’t always know when I’m thirsty

27. I don’t always know when I’m tired

28. Sometimes I know something is wrong but I’m not able to work out what is wrong, it could take me days or longer to work it out and sometimes I’ll never know

29. Sometimes it feels like I’m being watched, but there’s no way someone could be watching me. I’ve learnt that I’m really sensitive to energy and sometimes I feel like it’s my spirit guides with me which is why I can’t see who is watching

30. I like to be in control of my day, if plans change it can really throw my day off and make me anxious

31. I need thinking time after being asked a question, I can’t always answer immediately but can once the information has been absorbed

32. If I read a book I have to re-read paragraphs because it doesn’t feel like the information has gone in, then it takes me a day or two to process the words

33. I rarely feel like I can be myself around most people, I change the way I act to like more like them so they’re nicer to me, this is called masking

34. Sometimes I feel like I can’t say what I want to, the words get stuck in my throat then I get angry or sad

35. Sometimes when I’ve had enough of the world I get angry at those I love, I shout, I get mad, sometimes I’ve even hurt myself to try and feel better, then once the anger is out I feel better

36. People use too many words to explain things

37. That there are always warning signs leading up to a meltdown, they’re called triggers, some can be avoided, some can be reduced and some will catch you by surprise

38. Stims are a repetitive movement which helps to regulate you, for me, I am almost always playing with or fiddling with something to keep my hands busy

39. I don’t need to be sitting quietly to be paying attention and learning, I actually learn and listen better when I can do something other than look at the person teaching or speaking

40. People misunderstand autistic people all of the time

41. We all have our own methods of communication, sometimes it’s easier to write rather than talk as writing gives you more thinking time

42. Autistic people spend so much time wondering what they did wrong, when they didn’t do anything wrong, people just really struggle to understand different

43. I don’t always understand emotions, autistic people can be emotion blind which is called Alexithymia, it can be easier to focus on the sensations in the body instead, so maybe; I have a lump in my throat, my head feels thick and fuzzy, my stomach is in knots etc…

44. Closing my eyes and taking deep breaths in and out is really calming when I’m anxious

45. My pain threshold is really high

46. That meltdowns can be followed by shutdowns due to the sensory overload and the guilt that can often follow a meltdown

47. I like to know what time things will happen and I don’t like it if things change or people are late

48. I don’t like it when people say they’re going to do something and they don’t

49. I don’t like when people lie about things, it really annoys me

50. I don’t like being told what to do

I hope you enjoyed this list, don't forget you can find more information in my free e-book also called Fifty Things Autism Taught Me