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.

To read more from  Ollibean Think Tank  Member Amy Sequenzia click here.

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About the Author:

Amy Sequenzia is a non-speaking Autistic, multiply disabled activist and writer. Amy writes about disability rights, civil rights and human rights. She also writes poetry. Amy has presented in several conferences in the US and abroad, and her work is featured in books about being Autistic and Disabled. Amy is deeply involved with the Neurodiversity Movement and has been outspoken about the rights and worthy of disabled people. Amy serves on the Board of Directors of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), and the Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology (FAAST). and Autism Women’s Network. You can also follow Amy on Twitter at @AmySequenzia.

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