How to Talk to an Autistic Person

Autistic people may appear strange or intimidating to others, but we can be quite fun and charming if you are patient and able to take the time to get to know us. This handy guide will help explain how to talk to us. You’re welcome. 


 For us eye contact isn’t at the top of our list of priorites, we actually don’t like it to be honest. But as an Autistic person I can usually think, listen, and speak better when I don’t need to make eye contact. But if say you sat or walk side by side with me then you stand a better chance of having me engage with you eye wise. 
2. Avoid touching them unexpectedly
Some autistic people are highly sensitive to touch, and even a friendly pat on the back can feel alarming or painful. Some autistic people are highly sensitive to touch, and even a friendly pat on the back can feel alarming or painful.
3. Find a peaceful area to hang out.
Due to Sensory Processing Disorder, an autistic person might have trouble filtering out ambient noises and sights. Thus, it’s a good idea to hang out in a quieter place, so they can better focus on the conversation. 
4. Speak clearly and understandably. 
While some autistic people have no barriers to typical conversation, others may not understand everything you say. Be respectful, and be willing to repeat yourself if they didn’t catch what you said. Here are some difficulties they may face.
5. Be aware of challenges with reading social cues.
Autistic people may not understand facial expressions, body language, hidden implications, or hints—it depends on the individual. It helps to be clear about your thoughts and feelings. If they do something that’s socially tone-deaf, assume ignorance rather than malice. It’s unlikely that they mean any harm by it.
6. Know that you may witness a meltdown or shutdown. 
Meltdowns occur when an autistic person can no longer suppress their pent-up stress, and releases it in a fit of emotion that may resemble a breakdown or tantrum. Shutdowns look like the opposite: the person “shuts down,” becomes passive, and loses the ability to interact. In both cases, it’s important to give them patience and compassion.
7. Expect them to stim. 
Stimming is a natural autistic behavior that helps them stay calm, think clearly, feel good, express their feelings, and adapt to a challenging world. When your friend stims, act like there’s nothing unusual about it: ignore it and keep talking, or respond to their emotion (e.g. laughing along with them, or asking if they’re doing okay because they look distressed). They will appreciate your acceptance.
8. Try to be understanding. 
Every autistic person is different, and their differences may make them seem odd or even rude. It might be because of a disability that they haven’t disclosed, a co-occurring condition, or a lack of understanding of social rules. Most likely, they never intended to be rude, and feel upset and apologetic if they learn that they hurt someone’s feelings.

Where are they?

I have just had a thought, everyone in every other community has a role model right?


So in that vein where are ours? 

Why have we been left out in the cold yet again?

When you finally are told that you are autistic who can you look to as your role model?

Where is that one role model who we can and is looked to by others as an example to be imitated.

Where are you?


I found an article online titled “24 Inspiring and Motivational Autistic Women and Positive Role Models” that’s great but where are the men? 

Is it only women? Which I applaud but where do I look as a gay man? Or for that fact a male in general?

I am told by Goggle that these men are my role models 

Michelangelo, Jonathan Swift, Bertrand Russell, Albert Einstein who are all dead. 

So that brings me back to my original question where are my role models? 

Because when I got diagnosed at the age of forty I didn’t have anybody who I could turn to for advice? I was still coming to terms with things having previously fought my way out of my previous maze only to find myself place in the centre of another!

Now if the mantle of role model is going spare and no one is going to claim it then maybe I will? 

Why not? I mean I don’t see anyone else stepping up to the plate? 

If you are a male and your autistic and you’re in the public eye then maybe you can let me know so that I can at least see what I can aspire to be. 


What’s the Difference?

Oh HI! and welcome to today’s blog post. I’ve just been reading all my fan mail that I get each and every week, thank you all so much for your wonderful letters, emails, texts, telegrams, notes attached to carrier pigeons. 


Anyway a theme that has been consistently running through every thoughtful carefully written word, constructed sentence, paragraph etc is this. What is the difference Nick between a blog post, a script for TV and a novel? Well let me tell you. 

A blog post is 800 words and is a review of whatever the subject matter is that you are covering within that post. For example it may be about a really great day that you’ve had today and so you’d highlight the best bits and make it interesting with the use of images and gifs and the like. It will have a beginning, middle and an end. 

sourceA TV script is completely different to a blog post. For starters in a script there is dialogue, there are settings, people, places, names, actions sequences and so all of that has to be typed and formated in a much different way to a blog post. When writing a TV show, you’ll of needed to first and foremost plan out what is going to occur in each episode, this is known as a story arc, this means that whatever happens in episode one will continue until episode ten, it’s a way to show your audience the journey that this character or characters will go on during the course of your drama or comedy. I plan ahead by writing out in note form under each ep what will happen, now this was change during the course of the writing because it always does, but if you are prepared then you will be able to work out from your notes where to take your characters from ep one to ep ten. 


A novel is a story that takes place over a number of chapters, novels can be set out in numerous ways. But for this example let’s say that each chapter begins with the character’s name and that within each chapter the character will provide a view-point of whatever the story is about until you reach say chapter thirty and it all comes together and a conclusion is revealed. book-gif

So each of the above a blog post, a novel and a TV script all have one thing in common and that is that they all come to a conclusion (they may not provide any answers but they all have an ending) with a blog post I try to make mine positive or provoke a debate or conversation. In a script it’s not always that easy to make it a positive ending and again the same is true of a novel.  

Ok well thanks for reading I best get back to repyling to all my fan mail. 

Do you call yourself an advocate?

Quick question do you call yourself an advocacy? 



If so what’s the meaning of that?

public-policy-and-advocacy-understanding-diaspora-advocacy-7-728Are you viable within that community that you supposedly support? 

Do you have a strong presence within the media and also online?

Are you easily reachable to assist others in need?

Do you regularly speak out at events or are you on a speaker’s circuit?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then great.

BUT if that is you, then how do you go about making sure that others know and are aware of you and your involvement within a disability community for example?

Are you always on hand if say someone is new to say the autism community, are you willing to reach out and engage with them, guide them, mentor them?

Or do you prefer to sit back and wait to be contacted not wanting to put yourself out there and go that extra mile?

Do you involve yourself in local autism issues, are you ready to speak up if an injustice is happening or a news reporter wants your input on something?

Do you have a social media platform where you are cherished and adorned and your followers know that as soon as something occurs, or someone is in need that you are the person that they call upon?

Or it is that you simply just use the word ADVOCATE but actually don’t bother being an active member of the autism network?

Do you prefer to only concern yourself with how your life is operating, you don’t think that you actually owe any other autism person anything and that giving back isn’t something high on your list of priorities and that there’s always someone else ready to step in or up and that you can sit back and watch them enjoy the spotlight whilst you worry about what you’re going to have for dinner or what you might want to take to a BBQ at the weekend. 

I mean why bother putting the word advocate anywhere in a bio section of your profile? 

I guess what I am saying is if you say you’re an advocate you should act on it. 

I for example am a digital media facilitator with Autism West and I give back through my love of creative writing to the young people who attend the social groups.

So the question is what have you done today as an autism advocate that you can feel proud of?

It’s something to think about.  

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Often, autistic people can have meltdowns, shutdowns, or breakdowns if they get upset or overwhelmed. If you’re with them, it’s important to know what to do to calm them down. If you were with me or you witnessed me having one would you know what to do?



Here then is my eight step guide to assist you in being more aware and knowledgable;

  1. If the person is verbal, ask them what is bothering them. Dependant on what it is; say for example it’s a loud noise, take them away from the area (move them somewhere quiet if possible).  

    During severe sensory overload, people who are ordinarily verbal may suddenly lose the ability to speak. This is due to severe overstimulation, and will pass with relaxation time. If someone has lost the ability to speak, ask only yes/no questions that they can answer with thumbs up/thumbs down motion.

2. Turn off any television, music etc. and avoid using light touch. Often, it is the case that as an autistic person have problems with sensory input; they hear, feel, and see things much more intensely than others do. It is as if the volume for everything has been turned up when it needs to be muted.
3. Offer a massage. Many autistic people have benefited from massage therapy. (Please ask permission before doing this as some of us don’t like being touched in any way)
4. Don’t try to prevent stimming. Stimming is basically a series of repetitive movements that are calming mechanisms for autistic people. Examples of stimming include: hand flapping, finger flicking, and rocking. Stimming can help prevent or reduce symptoms of meltdowns etc. If however you find that the person is hurting themselves (e.g. they are hitting their fists on things, or they are banging their head against the wall etc.) then do your best to stop this. 
5. Offer to apply gentle pressure on their body. If the person is sitting up, stand behind him/her and cross your arms over their chest. Again please make sure they you have that person’s full permission, don’t assume that you can just go ahead an perform this. 
6. If they’re thrashing or flailing, move any objects that could cause harm to them out-of-the-way. Protect their head by either putting it on your lap, or putting a pillow underneath it. Also let them know that you are there even if you don’t speak, just by being there means that we have someone we can trust to help us through this. 
7. Remove any uncomfortable clothing if they are OK with it. Many autistic people would get more angry and being touched and having clothing removed by other people. Scarves, sweaters, or ties may be worsening the autistic person’s distress. Ask first, since the movement may worsen sensory overload.
8. If you can, carry or escort them to a quiet place. If you cannot, encourage any people in the room to leave. Explain that unexpected noise and movement are hard for the autistic person right now and that they can come back once the person has calmed down. 


What a load of s*&t


Today I have spent 2 and a half hours walking around a shopping centre with *Gina my employment consultant resume in hand begging, pleading, bribing (*possibly) any employer to hire me for a job.


Let that sink in. 

I am reduced to having to give an incentive away in order to be a likeable canditate for a job. 

I have no words. 

Gina is as happy as a pig in mud. She gets paid to do this. She’ll gets her fuel reimbursed. 

What do I get?

I get to play (and this bit makes me feel sick) on my disability. 

Yes I am reduced to guilting people into hiring me by making them feel sorry for me.

Is this what I have become, has being with Gina and her company (soon to close thank god) made me into this person?

Will I if I don’t get a job, head straight to the newspapers? Or the European court of human rights? Will I end up pleading my case on national tv? 

I am tired, I am hot, I am thirsty and I am hungry. 

I wish now that I hadn’t agreed to this. But the catch is if I had of said no I would have risked losing my benefit money. 




Fact although you can’t see it (i.e.) it’s not visible to you I have a disability.

This doesn’t prevent me from finding employment.

Ok stop.

It does. I should point out that I don’t highlight that fact in bold on my resume.

It’s one thing that weighs on the minds of employers, do we do the right thing and hire a disabled person or do we send out the generic email which reads;

From: Barry Ruiz
Subject: State Health Care administration officer position
To: Nick McAllister

Dear Nick,

Thank you for applying for the State Health Care administration officer position with State Health Care Now. We appreciate your interest in our organization and your commitment to sensible health care policy reform.

We received more than 200 applications for the position, and the hiring process has been a very competitive one. Although we were impressed with your qualifications, we have decided not to move your application forward. However, we greatly appreciate your interest in working with us and wish you the best of luck with your job search.


Barry Ruiz
Chief of Staff

The second option is when they decide that they wish to interview you, do you at any stage during the interview process disclose your disability.

Or keep silent in the hopes that no one will notice and your secret (your disability) will remain in-tact until such time as you leave the company. 

The answer can fall into two camps. The Yes and the No. Having done some research into this the answer all I can say is it’s for you to decide. But I would stop and consider the implications of revealing such an answer. Why on the one hand your disability shouldn’t ever be a barrier to work, unfortunately it can be a hindrance.


And let me explain why. If you disclose the fact that you have autism for example, are you seriously prepared to hold a seminar or hand out a booklet detailing how to talk to you, how your behaviours are normal, how you react in certain situations, what triggers a meltdown, what to do when a meltdown occurs? These will all need to be taken into consideration by you and are you prepared to go through that whole process? Doesn’t that signal you out as someone who has to be treated differently from your fellow co-workers?

Do we (and by WE, I mean the autism community) really wish to attract that sort of attention?

Well and here I go self-arguing with myself yes I think we do. How else can we break down barriers and stereotypes and be inclusive within the work force and contribute to society if we allow our thinking to prevent us from applying for jobs?

Companies shouldn’t be scared or fear the unknown, misconceptions from stereotypes they have seen or heard can add to a reluctance or fear to employ someone who may think or act a little differently. They should in fact welcome us with open arms.

A television company’s careers website has roles for people who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders, yet for people with disabilities no jobs are advertised solely for us? 

Why are we singled out? Why are companies creating jobs specifically aimed at people with disabilities?


I for one don’t want to work in positions created especially for me so that some government organisation can fulfil its quota for placing people with a disability into a work program say for example working on a pig farm. Why would I want to work on a pig farm? It holds no interest for me and certainly never been high on my career path. But I get why they do it, they want the autistic person to engage with a routine, recording data, having a set time when they have to perform this task, and so they leave happy and the pig farm people smile and down at the pub over a few cold ones they can brag about how marvellous they are by employing autistic people whilst feeling smug and content that they’ve projected out to the world how liberal and non-discriminatory they are whilst they receive pats on the back and having beers bought for them. Smug bastards.

What should happen (but sadly doesn’t) is whilst laws are in place to prevent companies not hiring people with a disability they can find ways around those laws (i.e. loop holes) and come up with numerous excuses as to why you are a suitable candidate for the role that you’ve spent ages applying for online, you’ve sweated over the wording in your cover letter, you’ve gone through your resume with a fine tooth comb but once you disclose your disability they will find a way in not giving you the job for which you are qualified for.

So you have two options to disclose or to not disclose. Which do you choose?

I sadly don’t have the answers.