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  • Writer's pictureCory Morrison

Autism: Disclosing Autism Diagnoses to People

Updated: Sep 15, 2023

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When I First Learned I Have Autism


I knew I was different from my peers many years prior to understanding my diagnosis. This was mostly because I received educational support at school. However, there were days when I knew finding a partner during partner activities or finding a group to actually play with the entire recess was difficult. I also sometimes had outbursts as a child, but so did my brother, so I didn't think much about that part.

Cory Morrison back in the day
Me in Chattanooga, Tennessee in July 2006 (Photo credit: John Morrison)

I was around 12, and over eight years after my diagnosis in 1997 when my parents and educational assistants explained my autism to me. I was ashamed when I first learned how different I was from my peers, but was optimistic that with awareness, people would be more accepting of me.


I didn't want to reveal that part of me to my peers during my pre-teen years. I was afraid that someone would criticize me for something I had no control over. I still fear people shaming me for having autism today, but it's not as bad as it was back then. I did briefly address my diagnosis in a speech I wrote in seventh grade on learning disabilities. The speech didn't make a huge difference in peer acceptance, so I figured that people will likely understand it more as they get older.


High School Years


After a series of bullying incidents, misunderstandings and other autism-related challenges near the start of high school, which were almost traumatizing for me, I decided it would be better if people knew I have autism. This way, people will realize that I didn't choose to be different. I was socially aware enough that I knew not to go around and tell every single person I know that I have autism. However, there were a few relevant class discussions back in some high school classes where I knew sharing my situation would add well to the discussion. Again, sharing my diagnosis didn't magically make my peers more accepting, but it helped them understand why I am different.

Cory Morrison as a teenager
Me in Mexico in April 2009 (Photo credit: John Morrison)

Also, in 10th grade back in 2009, I had an article on me by the Oakville Beaver, which shared my experiences growing up with autism. I noticed a huge plunge in how often I was bullied after the article was released, but I was still heavily isolated the rest of high school and didn't talk to many people unless if needed.


Later Years and the Present Day


I am open to talking about my diagnosis with almost anyone, especially if I connect with a person rather well. That being said, I won't always disclose my autism to people unless it's relevant to a conversation topic we're already having, if it's related to an accomplishment I had such as "The journey of autism services" article I won an award for during my time in Sheridan's journalism program in 2018, or if it's necessary for a given situation.


Many people in my life today know about my diagnosis because I have openly talked about being autistic on social media posts and have shared my ASD Today articles in both post and story formats. Therefore, many of my peers know I have autism, but there aren't many where me having autism was a conversation topic.


Like many things in life, I've gotten mixed results when it comes to autism acceptance from others in recent days.

Cory Morrison today
Me in St. Maarten in March 2022 (Photo credit: Relatives)

Conclusion


Some people on the spectrum are far more open and comfortable telling people they have autism more than others, and that is okay.


For me, it's often for the best if people know about my autism because I don't want to deceive people into thinking I'm a completely normal human being when I'm not, and then have them assume the worst of me once they notice something is different.


On the other side of the coin, it is understandable why a person on the spectrum would find it nerve-wracking to talk about their diagnosis because some people may not be as sympathetic as we would like them to be.







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