This month we're asking our autistic community members What Do You Want? What Do You Need? We'll be featuring their answers all April long, right here. Today we're having a conversation with autistic advocate Chloe Rothschild. Please read, listen, and share.
I have a smile that can brighten a room. I'm a hard worker, creative and fun to be with. Please presume competence and give me a chance. I'm very capable.
What are some things that make you happy? Why?
Disney, being with my friends, being with my family, and autism conferences make me happy. Autism conferences make me happy because I enjoy seeing my autism community friends that I usually only see at conferences. I feel a special connection when I’m talking and spending time at conferences with my friends and mentors who have autism. I love spending time with my family and friends because they make me happy and they are fun to be with.
What are some things you avoid whenever possible? Why?
I avoid or try to avoid ignorance whenever possible because I don’t like it. Instead I am trying to teach people about autism from my perspective so that they can be better educated on the topic and teach others.
What features does your ideal living space have, and why?
My bedroom, my stuffed animals, my toy figurines, my blankets, my pillows, my weighted blanket and my weighted lap pad, fidgets, and my autism books because they make me feel calm, regulated and content.
What are your favorite books, movies, and/or TV shows?
My favorite movies are Frozen and Tangled. I like watching the Disney Channel. I enjoy reading books related to Autism. I have quite the collection of them! One of my favorites is Making Lemonade by Judy Endow.
What autistic experiences would you like to see more of, when it comes to storytelling efforts like books, movies, and/or TV shows?
I would like to see more books like the book Rules by Cynthia Lord. I like seeing autism in the media. I think that having characters who are on different parts of the autism spectrum are helpful in portraying the fact that all individuals with ASD, while they share similarities are different and unique in their own ways. I would like more children’s TV shows to have a character with autism or talk about autism more, like in that one episode of Arthur when they talked about Asperger's syndrome.
What are some things you'd like the media and other people to stop saying about autistic people?
I would get people to stop focusing so much on "age appropriate" interests, and instead focus on the appropriate times and places for these interests. I shouldn’t have to and won’t change what I like just because someone says it isn’t age appropriate.
If you could change one thing to make the world more friendly to autistic people, what would it be?
If I could change one thing to make the world more friendly to autistic people it would be having people be more accepting and understanding and presume competence in those with ASD. With accommodations, and patience autistic people are generally very capable!
Chloe is a young leader for the Autistic Global Intitative, a program through the Autism Research Institute (ARI) and an editor in training for the ARI Adults With Autism eBulletin. She is also an OCALI advisory board member (Ohio Coalition for Autism and Low Incidence). She writes for Squag blog and Special-ism.