• Ariel Cullison

What does AUTISM look like?

But you look so NORMAL... For years I've heard that I don’t look autistic. Growing up I didn't know... I wasn't diagnosed

until I was entering college and I was losing my scholarships left and right. My structured life quickly turned chaotic without a schedule... and I was failing miserably. A decade ago autism wasn't even heard of in area I lived and when it began to come to the forefront it was mostly boys that were being on the spectrum... and so many females were suffering in silence... just like me.

My "autistic" traits are not visible to most people.

  • eye contact

  • need of structure & routine

  • lack of social engagement

  • rigid thinking patterns

  • Literal processing: explaining, overuse of animations,

  • random excited outbursts

  • saying things that don’t relate to a current conversation

  • scanning my entire environment before coming to a calming point,

  • emotions become overwhelming

  • heightened senses

  • detachment if I can’t process right away

So, I hid from the world - even after being diagnosed at 18.. I lied to myself & to everyone else.. I desperately wanted to fit in with the "cool" crowd, that I would do anything it took to be that person. I had spent years unknowingly working on things that most autistic people struggle with... so I was ahead of the game.

In my own television show.. I’ve watched & learned how to mimic people & how they react to things.. What cues, are acceptable.. What reactions, are acceptable. Today.. As I open up this part of myself.. I have realized that the more attempts & efforts, I tried to give on any level.. Only left me.. Being a fraud. I was not living my life, for myself..

Here, I am.. I’m just being me.. Ariel, that is on the spectrum.. Who is an adult, 29 with Aspergers. I don’t want to live in the “accepting” society.. I want to stand out & be authentic.. I may not look like someone with autism, but if you could view the world through my eyes... you would then understand.

If someone you know is struggling, here are a few helpful tools to help THEM and YOU move through life a little smoother... After all, isn't that what it's all about?


  • practice eye contact as much as possible

  • give up dairy products. It's scientifically proven to help.

  • limit sugar intake. We're addicts when it comes to sugar.. and it's not good for you.

  • physical exercise... even if it's just a walk around the block

  • shake hands or hug people you meet. We don't like to be touched. But being touched is a powerful tool of human connection

On the spectrum,

Ariel Cullison, creator of Samurai Strength

Follow me on IG @steelmaceoklahoma & @ariel.cullison