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Getting Older With Autism - presentation to Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee Oct 26, 2022

  I have been involved with autism advocacy for 25 years. Throughout that time, particularly during my 15 years of government service, I mostly advocated for autistic people younger than I. But at age 65, I am here to ask: What about the older autistic population?     We have unanswered questions, and we also need support.     I’d like to share some of the things I’ve experienced. All autistic people have some degree of blindness to the unspoken messages of others. It’s part of the diagnostic criteria.  What about blindness to ourselves? That is less studied but equally real. I don’t have a good sense of when I am hurt. I don’t know I’m too cold till I see the frostbite. I don’t know when to stop or when to back down.  I don’t know how to read my own body.   When I was 50, that didn’t seem to matter much.  If I miss medications now, I may die.  If I overstress myself now, I may suffer injuries I can’t recover from. Every year the stakes for “failing to read my body” grow higher. Isolat

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