When my oldest daughter reached an age where she was able to verbalize some of her feelings about having autism, I was overwhelmed by the things she shared. First, it’s tough to have a kid tell you that you’re doing it wrong. Second, I realized I had underestimated her. There were things she thought and felt that were at a much more sophisticated level than I had imagined possible.

Sometimes we forget, as parents, as friends, and as a community, to ask the people with autism who we are trying to assist what they’re actually thinking and feeling. Rather than give them what we think they need, we need to ask first and take the time to stop and listen to them. That’s why I rounded up these autism quotes.

I asked some of my favorite families who have children with autism, as well as some other great people on the autism spectrum, what the rest of us can do to make their lives easier. Their answers were eye-opening.

Reading these autism quotes from so many amazing individuals reminded me that we should never underestimate a person because of a label they’ve been given. The autism community is a huge part of our world—one that needs to be heard and valued and accepted, not just during Autism Awareness Month, but all year long.

I wish you could hear these autism quotes brought to life by the unique voices behind them, but I hope you’re still as moved and enlightened as I was when you read them.

Read more about autism:

What I Wish I Knew When My Daughter With Autism Was a Child

Raising a Daughter With Autism Made Me a Better Mom to My Other Kids

What Children With Autism and Their Families Want You to Know