• Ariel Cullison

How to Thrive as an AUTISTIC Adult

Growing up, I felt... out of place in most every aspect of my life. I suffered in a way most people do by not feeling whole or enough. But, being autistic there weren't books on bookshelves or articles to help. Things were really hard.

In college, I had to sit closer to the front of the classroom... which singled me out as different. I was dependent on my sister to help me take notes, but if she was absent... I was more lost than ever.

I was given extra time on tests, but my learning style was different than the teaching style of most professors. This is KEY... & I'll talk about that in another blog.

Learning social cues in jr high & high school was like asking me to learn a foreign language by listening to a silent film. I was struggling. I learned to become a "hugger", learn to look someone in the eyes, speak directly to people, how to respond in a conversation.

Most of these things, may seem easy & what would be easy to someone that is neurotypical. But, is not the same for someone that is on the spectrum.

Here are a few things to begin you on your journey to either understanding those with autism... or help you if you are autistic. I'm not saying we are less than... or asking people to change for us. But, wouldn't the world appear bigger if we "knew" how to communicate, learn and love. & yes, I'll be covering LOVE in an upcoming blog too.

Surviving Socially

  1. Pay attention when someone is speaking (nod your head)

  2. Physical engagement (hug, shake hands)

  3. Practice small talk ("hi" - "how are you")

  4. Be patient

  5. Make eye contact, but don't stare

  6. Use manners ("please" - "thank you")

  7. Look for a mentor

Today, at 29.. I am now.. Freeing myself & accepting who I am.. It can be challenging, especially now that I have started speaking out more..

While most of what I learned, in younger years.. I am diving back into those depths to gain a different form of knowledge about being autistic as an adult.