Lyric Rivera, an Autistic self-advocate from Texas, runs the the internationally recognized neurodiversity lifestyle blog Neurodivergent Rebel.
Neurodivergent Rebel was opened in 2016, as a way to introduce people unfamiliar with autism to neurodiversity. The blog, which is sometimes released in written format and also via YouTube video, explores the ideology of neurodiversity and the creative expressions of autistic people. Riveras’ blog pushes for acceptance of neurological differences and respect for the autonomy of neurodivergent people.
Lyric is also known as the pioneer of the #AskingAutistics hashtag, which is often accompanied by a short question about everyday autistic experiences. This simple hashtag connects neurodiverse people who would not otherwise have a reason to engage with each other to foster understanding of the autistic experience.
View all posts by Lyric Holmans
5 thoughts on “You Can’t Be Autistic Because. . . You Speak”
The stereotype of “autistic people can’t use words” is especially annoying to me because I “use words” all the time as part of my job as a freelance copyeditor. (I’m good at public speaking, too, but I hate doing it and avoid it as much as possible. Public speaking means… being in public. shudder)
It’s sad, people say that considering the fact that people don’t (seemingly) are too freaked out by special needs and don’t bother to get to know them 😞
A pediatric dentist was looking at me inquisitively as my daughter raged and ran around his office hiding under chairs and tables, avoiding contact with any personnel that might catch her and put her on the dentist chair. “She’s autistic? Really? Well she must be high functioning then because she’s verbal.” Oh my god…next dentist please. We were out of there.
Please keep doing these videos. There is such strong prejudice out there, whether in modern urban or just a rural areas in the United States where people we look up to and depend on, our medical professionals, are woefully unprepared to diagnose or deal with high functioning autism. I know that you are in Texas. Not sure if it is just a northern thing, but doctors seem not to want to diagnose anyone with Aspergers, and are especially in denial if the patient is female. There seems to be a really strong bias or agenda to only diagnose the more moderate or per found cases. If a woman is high functioning yet socially impaired, but can mask long enough to communicate with a medical provider, then she is Dean’s fully functional and not artistic. I have been told that I could not be autistic because I seemed nice, I made I contact at times, And seemed to be able to express ideas. It didn’t matter that I was painfully socially inapt, never made or kept a long-term friend, and have been socially isolated and ostracized my whole life for my social differences. I have gone from being hyper verbal in my teenage years, two dead silent in public. I don’t realize my slip ups or only realize them hours, days, or weeks after the fact. The few times I have gotten feedback after a job interview, I was told that people Found me strange, rude, inappropriate, or interrupted them. I think things are going well when really they are not. I have trouble decoding subtle clues there are apparently Visible and obvious to Nuro typical people. The devil is in the details. While I do go out for shopping or the grocery store, I limit my speech to please and thank you, or occasionally asking for help with finding something. I like strangers because we can have a brief exchange, for example at a coffee house, and if they find me stranger or odd, I never have the pain of hearing about it afterwards. We both go our separate ways. I have no permanent relationships. That seems to be the best way for everyone. I guess it protects me and protects them from interactions with people “like me.” It scares me not knowing people’s perception of me. I just figure that no one will really like me, so I keep to myself mostly. It pains me to think that I make people uncomfortable. So long as I am silent in public and just read, most people just leave me alone. I have had some neurotypicals harass or stare, or try to humiliate me in public, or take my picture. They’re Anthony most sense that something is off with me, even though I try to avoid them and not connect. I don’t have a supportive family and my parents that have heated me since I was Lil and it was obvious I was different then my sibling. Hi spirit both the pain and maintain my distance. So it’s really cool seeing someone else out there “like me.” We seem to have the same disability but different circumstances. Over the years I have dealt with doctors who have made comments that I must have an agenda because I tell them I have Aspergers; One doctor said I must secretly be trying to live off the public dole by trying to get a diagnosis. All My life I want to clueless counselors and a few snarky psychologists until I went to college and a professor there realized what I had. It was a relief to put a name to it and to have that validation so that I didn’t have to think about it too much anymore or worry. But in the general population of doctors, they still won’t believe you if you are female and high functioning autistic – Kind of like if you walk in with a little cough they won’t believe you have pneumonia until you look like you’re at deaths door. That’s another story. I have had recurring pneumonia that comes back every couple of years. I always know the symptoms. And the doctor never believes me until it gets so bad that I can barely get out of bed. #SheCantBeAutistic because… Yeah, I’ve heard it all.
Tracy in NY,
Thanks so much for your post. Now just seeing it in 2020!!
Kindred in the State of Jefferson