Interviewing Katie About Autism

One morning I mentioned to Katie that I was interviewing our parents for an upcoming blog post. “I like being interviewed,” she said. I asked “Are you trying to ask me to interview you?” and she said “Yes.”

When I said I needed to think of a topic, she suggested autism. So let’s hear the voice of a sister and girlfriend to autistic people.

Katie says some positive things about autism. As you read this, I don’t want you to write it off as a product of an incredibly sweet personality—she knows multiple autistic people, so she has real personal experience. And if you’re autistic, she’s talking about you.

Let’s hear what she has to say.

Introduction

Katie, please introduce yourself to our readers.

My name is Katie. I’d like to say hi. I have a sister. Her name is Luna. She’s autistic.

Please tell me in your own words: What is autism?

Autism is special. It makes people happy. Take care of your health. Take care of yourself… People with autism is awesome and fun and learning new things. If you have autism, you are talented.

When people are different, you have different personalities. Having autism sister is awesome and nice to hang out with.

How do you feel about autism?

I feel happy, proud, and lots of fun.

Katie’s boyfriend

Her boyfriend’s name has been changed to protect his privacy.

Your current boyfriend, Troy*, is autistic. How does autism make him different?

Some people are special. It’s nice to have it. It’s so exciting about your life.

I’m happy for him to have autism. Also, he has ADHD. Sometimes he gets hyper. That is how I like him.

What do you and Troy like to do together?

We can chat, laugh, and be silly. We sat down for lunch, and we sat next to each other, and I feel happy when he sits next to me. After school, we holding hands. At the bus, we hugged.

Do you help Troy sometimes? Does he help you?

I love to help him. Opening door for him, say sweet things about him, be careful with feelings, make him feel welcome.

He wants to carry stuff for me and open the door for me. He has my permission to sit next to his friends. I was okay with it.

If somebody is dating an autistic person, what should they know?

They will feel happy… (talks to self, thinking hard) They should know to be helpful and to be kind to each other and help them out.

Katie’s sister (i.e., me)

I’m your autistic sister. How does autism make me different?

It makes you different because people like to stim. They [Luna] get excited to see sister came home from school. The face look different. Also, use pigtails to make you cute! (laughs) I love to see autism person who likes to smile a lot.

Well, that is me.

(laughs)

What do you like to do with me?

Watch Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Go Wal-mart. [We did that today.] Go for a walk around the neighborhood. And getting Halloween pants! [Also today]

Do you help me sometimes? Do I help you?

I love to help my sister Luna. If my sister needs help, I will help her. If my sister can’t reach, I will get it for her. I like to give her her purse and headphones when she needs it. [Katie held some of my things during the trip]

When my sister got confused, I have to say it again so she can understand me. She can help me with my Fitbit. (whispers to self, fidgets) That’s it.

If somebody has an autistic sibling, what should they know?

They should know you are special, you are different, you are awesome. I was happy to have an autism sister. Having autism sister makes me laugh.

Closing remarks

What do you want everybody to know about autism?

Do not bully autism. Autism is a good thing! Take care of your health, try to get fruits and vegetables.

What do you want autistic people to know?

You can help each other. Try not to be mean to other people. I think having autism people is awesome… fun to be around… have a good life.

Care to share? Pin it

What else would you like to say to the internet?

(laughs in excitement) I love to have an autism sister, to make people happy. I was super happy to have autism sister! If you have autism, you are special person, you have a different face, and different shape of your body.*

*She’s thinking of Down syndrome for the body shape one.

Thank you so much, Katie!

You’re welcome! (grins at me)

I omitted long pauses and instances when I prompted her to continue talking. Katie and I re-read it together and she made some minor edits to her words. She drew this picture for the blog and selected a fake middle name (Perry) for herself.

6 thoughts on “Interviewing Katie About Autism

  1. Thanks for the words about self-care, Katie.

    Really appreciated!

    And the words and experiences with Troy – he is great.

    The dating advice goes well with traumaandautism’s Danielle Scott and what she has said on the topic – I would encourage people to join in on the chat when possible.

    “I’m happy for him to have autism. Also, he has ADHD. Sometimes he gets hyper. That is how I like him.

    What do you and Troy like to do together?

    We can chat, laugh, and be silly. We sat down for lunch, and we sat next to each other, and I feel happy when he sits next to me. After school, we holding hands. At the bus, we hugged.

    Do you help Troy sometimes? Does he help you?

    I love to help him. Opening door for him, say sweet things about him, be careful with feelings, make him feel welcome.

    He wants to carry stuff for me and open the door for me. He has my permission to sit next to his friends. I was okay with it.”

    That is a powerful and vital permission, Katie!

    Boyfriends need and want to spend time with their friends.

    “Say sweet things about him” and “Be careful with feelings” – that applies to both sides; and to everyone around the couple [eg: your supportive sister Luna].

    “The face look different” – and “Use pigtails to see you cute” – do you find, Katie, that the autistic people in your life care less or care differently to “see you cute” or “look cute”?

    And thanks for saying things again.

    And reminding us to help one another. I see there is a lot of mutual support and advocacy that we can tap into.

    “Awesome” … “fun to be around” … “good life”.

    If Katie and Luna think this and share this – this is a place where it is widely read and widely seen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Do you have any links to Danielle Scott’s writing on relationships? I couldn’t find it when I tried searching.

      I think Katie is talking about how I do my hair sometimes. Before plane rides, we put her hair in pigtails so that she doesn’t get overheated. I usually do my hair the same as hers in solidarity. When this happens, she tells me I look cute.

      I have a feeling Katie wouldn’t understand the question about autistics perceiving her appearance differently, mostly because she thinks that she always looks cute. In her mind, she always looks great and that’s just a fact. Her world is categorized into nice people and bullies, with bullies being a rare minority that Katie will protect her friends from.

      She’s been mostly shielded from stigma. She’s surrounded with supportive people who like/love her and think she’s pretty awesome. As her sister, I’m very thankful for that.

      Katie is a ray of sunshine, aside from the occasional teenage moods. I’m happy to share her ideas with the world because I think the world could learn a lot from her. (And she gets very happy when I tell her that her words made people smile on the internet!)

      Like

      1. How to date with Autism: September 2019

        On manipulation and how adults deal with it

        What kind of partner?

        Life after escape and pregnancy

        Protecting an abuser – its effects

        A letter to professionals – October 2019

        These six links are from Danielle Scott [Autism and Trauma] and all deal with relationships in some way.

        Good to know that Katie herself always feels as cute as she looks.

        And “bullies” as the “rare minority”. Good to know you are a protective friend, Katie, and obviously a perceptive one!

        We have 90 percent cloud cover where I am – it would be good to have a Katie in the sky.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. We talk to Katie a lot about healthy habits (mostly because, unfortunately, people with Down syndrome are at higher risk of certain health problems).

      She’s a very kind and loving person, and she wants everyone to take good care of themselves.

      Like

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