‘If I knew then…’ 5 Tips for Teens with Autism
Posted on November 1st, 2016 by Bridget
Guest blogger Kelly Hutchins shares her five tips for young people with Autism in today’s post… things that she wishes she’d known when she was a teenager. Now a pastry chef who recently completed her studies at the French Pastry School in Chicago, Kelly is eager to share her own experience living with autism and to inspire others to do the same. In addition to sharing her delectable confections with friends and family, Kelly is an avid cat lover, PAWS volunteer, and self-advocate.
Being a teenage girl is tough. Being a teenage girl on the autism spectrum can be brutal. Here are 5 things I wish I had known when I was in high school.
Everyone around you is just as insecure, especially the bullies.
The most insecure people are usually the biggest bullies. The only reason a person would do that is if they are insecure with themselves. I’m not excusing the actions of bullies, rather I want to reassure people who are bullied that you are stronger than the people who want to bring you down.
The two keys to success are to work hard, and be kind.
Yes, some people manage to bully their way to the top, but they are few and far between. Conan O’Brien once said “If you work hard and are kind, amazing things will happen”. And I can tell you from personal experience that this is 100% true. The bullies usually don’t make it to the top, and when they do they never stay there. Everyone you meet on the way up, you will also meet on the way down. The people who end up with real success and happiness are the ones who work hard and are kind.
Don’t be afraid to make your needs known.
Making your needs known can be very intimidating, but it gets easier with practice. You may be a minor, but it’s your life, and your future, so you deserve to at least be heard. If you need help with taking notes in class, or if you need testing accommodations, you need to tell your parents and guidance counselor. Nothing comes of nothing, so speak up, because your needs are important.
Dressing like everybody else won’t make you happy.
Use high school and college as a time to experiment with your own personal style. If there is a time to be wild, it’s now. I spent the first two years of high school trying to look like everybody else and all it did was make me miserable. The only way to win the game is to stop playing, and start enjoying yourself.
You are stronger than you know.
The things you now see as your weaknesses may very well turn out to be some of your greatest strengths. So embrace who you are, and speak up for others and yourself. You are not a wallflower, you are a beautiful and unique human person. You will be surprised at just how strong you really are, if you give yourself a chance. Remember that all great people were once teenagers.