Some people are so amazing, you feel like you could learn all the secrets of a successful and fulfilling life only by being around them. I know they also have unpleasant experiences, but to me this makes them even more amazing. Those are my Facebook friends, most of them autistics, most of them I met for the first time at a recent conference; all of them showed me respect and true friendship.
I saw true friendship when my friends were happy to see me even when my face did not show that I was happy too;
I saw true friendship when I was included in the conversation even as my iPad remained silent;
I saw true friendship when my support person was accepted as some important part of my functionality;
I saw true friendship when everyone would stop talking because I had finished typing and was ready to hit the talk button;
I saw true friendship when the fact that I need help with simple things, like eating, were seen as part of me, not bad, or strange, or less.
I still see true friendship today, back home and communicating with my friends on line, when I realize they were really happy that we’ve met.
Respect, true friendship, support from people who are autistics like me, but who also have a very different life experience. Their experiences put them on a higher level of ability than I find myself today. But they never treated me as if I had to “improve” before being accepted. Instead, they continue to value me, and my ideas.
Meeting my autistic friends, and some neurotypical friends too – some for the first time, some I was meeting again – was wonderful. And I also made new friends!
It is a mistaken idea that we, autistics, lack empathy. It is also a myth that we are not social. My friends and I, we understand and respect differences. And we understand that we all have a lot to contribute, in a diversity of manners.
My friends are amazing and they teach me. Even more amazing, they seem to want to learn from me.