Whilst I’m sure you all mean well, please remember not to support or donate to Autism Speaks this month (or any month for that matter) as they are a terrible organisation who hurt the autistic community
Instead I recommend actually taking time to look at writing from autistic people and learn from them and, if you really want to help and donate, consider ASAN instead
Thank you xx
I couldn’t say it better
On Fridays, I only have one class and it runs from 8AM-8:50AM. I already feel like it’s a waste of time to drive the 18 miles to school and back just for this single hour. That said, I always go.
Today, our teacher was late. He was looking for a centrifuge to show us. Since he’s too stubborn to use computers for anything, he had to find one. We started at about 8:08AM. He began with a review on what we discussed Wednesday. At 8:20AM, while he was still reviewing, a fire alarm went off.
I am far from fond of fire drills. The alarm, itself, is overwhelming for me and causes sensory overload. The crowds leaving the building are the next thing that freak me out. When it started, I at least had the alertness to gather all my belongings to take with me. As I got outside, the sidewalk split left and right. Everyone else went left, so I went right. I hit a patch of ice and almost came crashing down. In my struggle, I twisted one of my knees awkwardly, and it still hurts.
Outside, it was cold and very windy– about 40°F. Since I anticipated being indoors all day, I only wore my scrubs with nothing under them. Scrubs are very thin, so my legs were quite cold, not helping the pain in my knee. The alarms continued to go off for about 15 minutes. After five minutes passed, I decided to try and find my car and just leave. It was obvious that I wasn’t going to recover from the stress this causes. After walking a bit, I realized that the parking lot I was in wasn’t connected to the one I parked in, in any way. If I wanted to get to my car, I had to go back inside where the alarms were going off. I was stuck.
At 8:35AM, the alarms finally stopped. No one went back in at first. At 8:40AM, the crowds began to go back in. When I realized the time, I was confidant in just leaving. It would take five minutes to get everyone back into class for only five more minutes until it let out. I was still frazzled and not thinking clearly because of the stress, though. I got to my car and headed home.
Once home, I realized that by leaving, I wasn’t given the lab handout that’s due on Monday, meaning I can’t do it. My other teachers would email me the packet if I asked nicely, but this teacher won’t do that for me.
That stupid fire drill ruined my day. It’s been hours and I’m still too stressed to start my homework, which I wanted to do hours ago. I’m going to get a zero on the pre-lab work because of it, as well.
The moral here is that colleges really need to make their autistic students (and likely those with other disabilities) aware of scheduled fire drills in advance. These drills may be nothing to most students, but to us they’re extremely debilitating. If I’d had a warning, I could have done something to limit the stress: worn ear plugs, exited in a way to get to my car, stayed in the class since it was only a drill (didn’t know it was at first), or even stayed home. My previous college in Oklahoma would email students with the planned time for these 24 hours in advance. Why can’t a New York college do that as well?