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The Sentinel Sound

The Sentinel Sound

The Sentinel Sound

High School on the Spectrum

Darren Vargas-Holmes

When I tell people that I’m autistic I often get told “Wow! I couldn’t even tell.” because the vast majority allistic (non-autistic) people misunderstand the manifestations of autism. Characters like Dr. Shaun Murphy from The Good Doctor only show a single manifestation. Even medical professionals can misunderstand symptoms as I wasn’t formally diagnosed until I was sixteen. So I’d like to share my experience as an autistic high schooler. Keep in mind, I’m just ONE autistic person, and autism is a spectrum.

Something that frustrates me is allistics treating me and other autistic people like babies. Especially on social media when they say things like “autistic people are the sweetest and kindest people in the whole wide world” and I think, ‘not all of us.’ In fact, a lot of autistic people can come off as cold or rude without meaning to. And that’s okay! Some autistic people are super sweet and kind, but people generalize to perhaps justify the fact that we are autistic. We’re people too and some of us are really nice and some of us are jerks.

Social struggles are one major trait of autism and one I’ve dealt with my entire life. When I’m trying to talk to people that aren’t in my normal friend group, I have to figure out how I’m supposed to talk to them. Like you know how you talk to a cashier differently than you would talk to a teacher or your friends? Most people make that switch automatically. I have to manually figure that out and that can make it hard for me to make new friends because I don’t even know how to talk to them.

Autism is a much wider spectrum than people realize. I don’t think spectrum is an entirely accurate term to describe autism since a spectrum is linear and autism isn’t. With autism, each person has their own pie chart of traits. Social struggles, sensory issues, restricted/extreme interests, and others all taking up different amounts on their pie chart. No one is “more” or “less” autistic. Some autistic people may need more support than others. There might be a lot of autistic people you see and talk to every day without even realizing it.

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If you are wondering about the best way to support people with autism, there are no exact steps. I’m just one autistic dude and different autistic people have different needs. However, I think being less judgmental, and not just towards autistic people, but everyone in general, is a good start. Also, it is as simple as becoming a kind and understanding person.

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About the Contributor
Darren Vargas-Holmes
Darren Vargas-Holmes, Illustrator
I’m the OG official illustrator for the Sentinel Sound. I was the first, I have seen everything. Ponies are my trademark :3
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