Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Social Acceptance

The number one thing that someone with autism is looking for is acceptance for who they are, even if they are not completely understood.  I am no exception to this.

I have compiled a group of friends over the years that do just that.  Ever since high school, it has become an unspoken rule to give me the benefit of the doubt when it comes to my words or actions.  I am kind of the outsider of the group, but I can still participate in the games or social activities that I choose.  If I say something that is socially unacceptable, they might look at each other with confused expressions, but then they move on without saying anything.  I might be embarassed, when I realize (after the fact) what had occurred, but overall, I am grateful for being accepted.   I wish that every autistic person could have this opportunity to be accepted in this way.

I also offer a word of caution: it is important for people with autism to recognize their social limitation.  Just because a person with autism is accepted by a particular social group, it does not mean that they can do or say anything they want.  I have lost friends before by not recognizing social cues that indicate I am pushing too hard to be accepted by someone who is just not willing to give me what I ask.  I often day dreamed throughout high school about being the most popular or the guy with the best girlfriend.  When it came to pursuing this vision by asking for too much from friends, it only caused more discomfort and drama than I was willing to deal with.  My advice to people with autism who are looking for acceptance from friends, accept your place within a particular social group, and don't ask for too much from the people who are doing you a favor by allowing you to be a part of their group.

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