“You don’t look autistic.”

Yeah, my kids have heard that before. So have many autistics all over. What does autism look like?

Sometimes Autism looks like a messy haired kid with inside out, miss-matched clothes that makes you wonder why on earth the mother let the child out of the house like that and is that child being neglected?!?

Sometimes Autism looks like a horribly behaved tantrum spoiled child who’s parents just need to be firm and set boundaries but actually is completely out of self-control due to sensory overwhelm and there is no discipline on earth that could calm their misfiring nervous system.

Sometimes Autism looks like a helicopter parent on the playground who follows their “too old” child around helping them and praising them for ridiculously easy accomplishments.

Sometimes Autism looks like a child that runs out into the street or darts out in front of a moving vehicle in a parking lot and WHERE is that kid’s parent, why can’t they keep track of their kid?!?

Sometimes Autism looks like a stranger kid on the playground who keeps following your kid laughing and pestering and not getting the message that they’re not wanted as a playmate.

Sometimes Autism looks like a high schooler plugging her ears and closing her eyes during the screening of The Birds during English class, or the girl who is freaking out in Home Ec class because the group didn’t follow the recipe exactly right, earning the nickname “Betty Cracker.”

Sometimes Autism looks like the awkward young man who isn’t a teen anymore but is still trying to fit in with the teen youth group at church. Who all the girls talk about having bad vibes about but he just wants to make a connection and not be alone.

Sometimes Autism looks like a mom at a birthday party who is accidentally ignoring and annoying the other parents with her social obliviousness; who talks a little too loud or stands a little too far away.

The current CDC estimate is 1 in 68 children are on the Autism Spectrum; and that’s just the estimate of children.

Statistically, you’ve probably come across several, if not many, autistics and you had no idea. So next time, instead of commenting loudly about how “you never” in a restaurant or frown at the weirdo, you could consider that maybe the person is having a hard time. Worst case scenario is you’re kind and understanding to a neurotypical kid. Best case scenario, you’ve made the world a little better for an autistic. #1in68

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