1/3 An update:
After research lab meeting I asked my prof if I could chat with him for a bit and I officially came “aut” as autistic to him and it went THE BEST it probably could have! I even got super overwhelmed and asked if I could sit with it for a moment, then realized I was really fearful to stim in front of him, so I asked (knowing he would say yes) if I could rock and he warmly said, “oh course!” Even just feeling safe enough to ask those two questions is a MAJOR thing for me.
I could go on and on, but it was a truly healing interaction and one that gave me a lot of hope going forward facing school and otherwise.
I emailed him thanking him and he said he was honored and pleased that I felt safe to share with him and that he’s happy to welcome me exactly as I am. He said he’d encourage me to let the others on the research team know as well, which I’m debating, but as time goes on, I think would be a really helpful and healthy thing to do as well.
Showing “obvious” autistic traits has been catastrophically bad in the past, and he really understands how fearful and (likely) traumatized I am from all of that and how different situations have made me vulnerable to threat, social isolation, ridicule, etc.
There’s a lot to work through there, but I’m glad he exists, and that my brain knows there’s someone on campus that wouldn’t misinterpret my “odd” behavior as something they needed to interfere with in harmful ways.
@madisonlmc I am a secondary school teacher, and I have unfortunately known more than a few teachers who (although they are required by law to provide support to special needs) do not share this professor's attitude. However, I am comforted knowing that there are instructors out there who are empathetic and caring enough to allow you to be you without fear of judgment. It is just about impossible to educate someone if they don't trust you or feel safe with you.
@madisonlmc I’m so happy for you to have felt this kind of support. Amazing!
I'm glad it went not just well, but exceeded your expectations!
@madisonlmc This is such a beautiful story, Madison, and I'm so glad it's the experience you got to have!
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