Written by Dr. Richard O. Williams‘ daughter Noi Williams
I remember a struggle I had at college with an academic counselor talking down to me, commenting that I cried too much if she saw me upset. She would come to me to talk if others told her I was real upset. She told me that I needed to act more like a college student or adult since she didn’t see other students cry like I did when very upset. I was told to only cry when someone really says something that would seriously upset me. I tried to tell her I wasn’t able to help it many times, but she just told me to try harder not to break down. The fact she told me when or when not to cry made me afraid to let out my emotions and feelings. I therefore have hidden many angry feelings I had towards this counselor, but on the other hand I felt she meant well to me and the other students in the transition program I was in. The comments from this counselor still haunt me at times and I still repress emotions. I felt ashamed when she told me to act differently. It made me feel like I was someone who was too emotional and had trouble controlling my own emotions. It made me fear I was a socially awkward and immature. Now that I have thought about it all, I believe the counselor didn’t really know how to work with people on the autism spectrum. Overall, we should have had a separate meeting with each other so I was able to explain to her why I was so emotional. She could have given me suggestions on different ways to handle my feelings. I did get help by talking to my parents and personal counselor, which helped me most of the time.
Noi’s Story – Struggles with an Academic Counselor