When I moved into my new dormitory a while back, there was a guy there I hadn't met before. We started talking about autism and I told him about all my advocacy and mentioned my sister was on the spectrum. Then he told me that he'd peer mentored a girl with autism during orientation. He went on and on about what a really cool girl she was and how she was so awesome. Suddenly I froze. "What's her name?" I asked. "Caley," he replied. And out of nowhere and much to his surprise, I hugged him, a complete stranger, on impulse. As I was hugging him, I whispered, "That's my sister."
What made this moment so beautiful wasn't that he thought Caley was cool, although that was also great. It was that it came during a deluge of negative talk, a time where well meaninged people, professionals and laypeople alike, kept insisting that Caley would never go to college, that she'd never succeed. Not for any reason other than the fact that she's autistic. And here he was, telling me that he'd met her at college and thought she was awesome and doing really well there. I cannot express to you my emotions in that moment - but I think you can imagine.
What I'm saying in this post, is just believe. Believe in the competence of anyone you know on the spectrum, even when others don't. Because they're far more competent than society would have you think. -Creigh