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ASERT has put together some resources for those with autism and those who care for people with autism relating to the current Coronavirus outbreak.

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Not Autistic Enough

By Rose

Picture this: you see a class being offered on how to find a job as an autistic person.  You happen to be looking for a job during a recession.  It’s through your school, so it’s convenient.  It’s a small class specifically for autistic people, so it fits all your needs and accommodations.  On the first day, you sign into the Zoom meeting and realize something after only ten minutes.  

This class isn’t for you.

There are no other non-male students, and most of the other students are preparing to look for a job for the first time.  The first lesson is on how to have a casual conversation.

This class isn’t for you.

The skills that you really need help with(answering interview questions, how to make a cover letter) won’t be covered until the last two weeks; two weeks before you graduate.

This class isn’t for you.

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This is a problem I encounter a lot when looking for autism resources.  I have a Level One diagnosis; I think of myself as high functioning.  My late diagnosis allowed me to enter into a world of resources.  The only problem is that very few of these resources are for me.  Most of them are for people on the spectrum who are not socially aware, are not independent, or just have no idea where to begin with a topic.  I’m socially aware, independent, and am proactive and organized.  Most of the things I need help with are either minor social issues, being hypersensitive, and needing some things explained to me a little differently.  I’m not “autistic-enough” to be able to use resources properly, but I’m not “normal-enough” to not need accommodations.  

What makes any autism resource great is its ability to meet a person where they are, and then challenge them.  That’s why all IEPs and treatment plans are unique.  There’s a gap between the resources provided and the resources needed for people on the lower end of the spectrum.  Some of us just need a little support when confronting social situations or tackling complex activities.  I don’t need to know how to have a conversation -I need to know how to handle sensory issues in a crowded room.  The most helpful resource for me is working one on one with an expert.  It allows for a plan that is unique but also doesn’t assume anything about my abilities.  

Part of the problem is that many “high-functioning” people on the spectrum don’t get diagnosed until they’re older, or at all. But because there simply aren’t as many “high-functioning” people diagnosed, there isn’t enough experience to create relevant resources.   Designing symptoms of autism that take into account people who are on the lower level of the spectrum would help create more diverse resources, and push organizations to provide those resources.