I want to inspire others to include autistic people

By Ryan Lee
Young black man with glasses on stands in a teal t-shirt that says "Choose to Include" in white lettering

This guest blog post is by Ryan Lee. To follow him on Instagram, click here, to see his website, click here

For people on the spectrum like myself, the feeling of wanting to be included is so overwhelming. I never got invited to stuff outside of school a lot because people thought I was weird and it wasn’t fair. Hearing other stories of how others on the spectrum felt being socially awkward during school or other stuff motivated me to become an advocate to try to make a difference for the autism community. I could ask these 3 questions to hear if anyone felt the way I did:

  1. How many of you walk into school every day and wonder if anyone really cares?
  2. How many of you wonder whether you’re watching the right shows, if your clothes are cool enough or listening to the right music to relate to anybody?
  3. How many of you have ever been hurt when you found out about a party or social you were never invited to?

I remember back in high school, an old classmate telling me to try and stop being autistic for like 5 minutes and that really made my blood boil. Back in college, a group of people wouldn’t let me hang with them because they thought I wasn’t enough. I love to play video games and I do tend to get a little overcompetitive sometimes. I know I can be annoying and sometimes I don’t realize it because that’s how I am and I’m not ashamed of it. It’s the real friends who will forgive that and remember that we all just want to be loved for who we are. Not because we’re different, but because we’re human. Don’t you just get tired of going out of your way to prove people wrong when they tell you you’re not enough of something or whatever? There could even be groups who don’t accept you when you aren’t a certain way even if they’re on the spectrum too and that’s just as bad. What most should learn is that autism may be a spectrum and some may be more affected than others but there’s no one way or right way to be autistic or to be anything, there’s just you being you. Maybe I am awkward, goofy and intense, but I’m just unique and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

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