Thursday, February 28, 2019

35, New York, US.

I have 3 jobs. I'm a full-time Residential Counselor at a group home for people with mental illness, a Direct Support Professional at an after school program for autistic kids, and a Residential Habilitation Aide at a supervised apartment for people with developmental disabilities. I love my work, because it entails working directly with people, which is one of my strengths and passions!

Something People would be surprised to know about me: I'm a social butterfly, despite the stereotype that autistics are “to themselves.”

My biggest accomplishment in my opinion is earning a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work and holding down 3 jobs in the human services field.

I want to show the world that autism isn't a negative thing, but rather an operating system that one is born with. That everyone is created to be who they are for a reason. That autistics are all unique from one another. That we are capable of a multitude of things.

What I want non-autistic people to know or “neurotypicals” to know about autism is that every autistic is unique, and we simply have a different operating system than that of the majority of humans. To ignore all the stereotypes you've heard, and to get to know us for who we are.

I actually haven't had any services throughout by life, as I was not diagnosed until I was 31. I do, however, belong to a couple autism groups. I've met several like-minded people, and really enjoy belonging to them!I feel that being employed by an organization who values me as both an autistic self-advocate and an employee has been very beneficial to me. I work with autistic kids in an after school program.

What I want others to know that are autistic is to be true to yourself, and just take life one day at a time and learn what your strengths are, and find an appreciation for what makes you, YOU! Work on obstacles little by little, one day at a time. Find your passions, and reach for your aspirations.

Funny story about me,  when I was 13, a girl was telling me about how her friend stabbed her in the back. I asked her “what did she stab you with?”
Signs that were displayed of me showing autism were: I could see for myself that I interpret the world very literally. I often misinterpret things. I have a gift for working with electronics; it comes naturally to me like a second language. I've always been a little different, and have never cared what others think of me. I am into different things than my peers are; I've always seemed young for me age, which I love!
When I first received my diagnosis: I was elated! I got to work, and then called my parents, telling them the GREAT news! I felt a sense of validation, and a confirmation of what o had suspected for the past 5 years. Everything was right with the world!
Today I feel about my diagnosis: I still feel the same sense of pride that I did on March 19, 2014. I've come very far as a self-advocate, and hope to continue going even further!
While I sometimes wish I had been diagnosed early on, I also have a strong faith in that everything happens for a reason. I still managed to do well in school, and while I had my hurdles, I jumped over them with lots of hard work. I now know what tools help me best, and I can utilize them.

I struggle with time management and remembering things. Receiving a diagnosis, learning about how my brain processes things, and medication (I also have ADHD and take Adderall) have all been a huge help.

Monday, February 25, 2019

I am 22 years old however I also have Dissociative Identity disorder so some of my alters are ages 4 to 40.

I am from Finland.

In my opinion one of my biggest accomplishments is 3 years of university studies.

I want others who are not autistic to know that autism is also a strength, not a deficit or a disorder. That we bring great abilities to humanity, even if we don't have widely recognized accomplishments.

One of the resources that really helped me was Occupational therapy as a child, and especially trauma therapy as an adult with a therapist who is also a trained neuropsychiatric coach and has neurodiverse children. Definitely resources and peer support I found online.

I want others who are autistic to know to find a supportive environment where you can thrive, and pursue your passion without having to mask and fight your brain.

As a child my mum told doctors I had received a high score in an online autism test and that she suspected I was autistic, but it was never investigated further. At 14, my parents told me I'm autistic but I was in denial until about 18 when I got to know other autistic people and really related to them.

Some of the signs that people suspected that I have autism is that I had a lot of health problems that baffled and concerned doctors, and my motor skill problems were much more obvious. I also had no problems communicating with adults, simply seemed more mature and intelligent for my age.

Some of the barriers I faced on getting a diagnosis was my referral to screening was denied, because apparently 10 years of neurologist appointments would have picked it up, even though they were entirely focused on my sleep apnea, coordination and low muscle tone. I did receive a diagnosis of ADHD from my university psychiatrist in early 2018

I am 28 and from Tennessee

My biggest personal accomplishment was when I joined and served in the military before receiving multiple head injuries resulting in some nerve damage that precluded me from being able to deploy anymore and was forced to end my service.

To those who are not autistic
That even though some of us can function at where you see us now it does not show the struggles and pains that it took to get us where we are today.

For others on the spectrum my advice would be to never give up on what you desire if you want it bad enough and work hard enough you can achieve anything.

For my own story I was originally diagnosed at 5 when my stepmother took me to be evaluated for ADHD and the doctor also did the evaluation for autism after a session with me as he suspected I could be autistic as well. I was diagnosed as both ADHD and autism. It was soon after this that my father and stepmother separated and I went to live with my fathers, father and his wife. They denied the diagnosis of autism even though I was still nonverbal at the time and didnt start speaking until I was in my second year of kindergarten as they had me mainstreamed and the school not understanding autism either had me held back due to this and other difficulties I was having. I didn't receive any of the services offered to kids such as ABA (though from stories I have been told I am glad I didn't), ot, or speech therapy or even a regular psychiatrist which would have been useful. I was forced thru mainstream classes where I struggled with noise, kids, and the subjects moving at to quick a pace and feeling like I was constantly behind everyone else. (I was never told of the diagnosis I received when I was a child until long after I graduated high school.) I started working harder than the other kids though and stopped asking for help (as I never received any anyway, it was always just blamed on me not working harder or trying enough) I figured out that I learned better by reading the lessons in the book myself than trying to follow what the teacher was trying to explain. In this way I was able to catch up to just behind the class in at least math, English, and science but still struggled horribly with history and world studies. This continued thru to middle school when I went back to my father for a year and half and struggled worse there for the neglect and abuse his girlfriend subjected me too. After that I lived with another set of grandparents, aunt, different aunt, and for a short time a foster home for the rest of middle school which I only barely managed to graduate from. As I was going into high school I was given the choice by the courts who I wanted to live with, here I made the worst and best choice of my life. I choose to go and live with my mothers mom and stepdad. Now up until this point I had not had any friends my age due to either I was too "weird" or they weren't really friends as they would only keep me around as long as I was either doing inappropriate things they told me to do or tricking me into doing things so they could make fun of me as my trusting nature would keep me from seeing at first.

With these grandparents everything seemed great at first while my aunt and her daughter and son we're also living there. When they moved out about 7 months after I got there things went down hill fast. I was subjected to all kinds of abuse and neglect there ranging from being the cause of my mothers death when I was 2 simply by being born, to being starved and/or abused on a regular basis. Towards the end of my sophomore year of high however I joined a program at school called tri-county upward bound. The program would take us one weekend a month and six weeks in the summer to Austin peay University where we would learn college courses and earn credits to use when we graduated high school.

During the first summer I got stuck rooming with a guy who was a friend of a friend, and we actually ended up becoming good friends ourselves. During my junior year I started spending as many weekends as I could at his house to avoid going home to my grandparents. His step dad saw the bruises and marks and the fact I only weighed about 110 at 17 and knew what he was seeing but couldn't prove anything so never reported it. But by the end of my junior year I had made an arrangement to live with them when I turned 18 that summer and they helped me to escape the situation I was in. I stayed with them for a couple months then had to move back to one of my aunts house to finish high school after which I joined the military.

I thrived in the military, it was the first place I ever had routine, structure, and set rules and boundaries. I did really well from day 1, we were always told what was happening the next day, we always had a routine we followed and very rarely did it get interrupted (at least for me and the until I was with) and even in Afghanistan I knew that there was always a possibility of something happening so it didn't effect me nearly as bad as something


I will be 50 years old March 4th, and I am from Spokane Valley, Washington. I am a professional French Horn player, composer, and arranger. I love what I do. I think people will be surprised to know that I am on the spectrum, and I have several chronic health conditions, and I am a survivor. My most significant accomplishment is really knowing what makes me, me. I was diagnosed with autism at age 48 years old. I wish neurotypicals knew about autism: That we are all different. I want to tell fellow autistic people: Follow your strengths and do not try to be like other people. Be yourself, and be proud of who you are. When I first received my diagnosis I felt: I was delighted. It solved an enduring mystery that had me asking why for so many years. When I was first diagnosed, I was very young, and the doctors said to my mom that I had a slight neurological handicap. When I was a teenager, they said that I had minimal cerebral dysfunction and had minimal brain damage. Still, no clue what all that meant until I took matters into my own hands and as soon as I had access, I finally got a real diagnosis. Struggles I had getting a late diagnosis: It was tough dealing with the challenges as well as having to mask my struggles. I also had a lot of health challenges. I never had the proper resources or support that was unique to my situation. It was a lot of guesswork. And a ton of struggle.
I suffered a lot of serious health challenges and setbacks, but my music has always been constant with me. I always come back to it, and sometimes I come back stronger than ever. I also have encountered those who have underestimated me, and that makes me mad. There were also others who have tried to fit me in a mold that I never had and never will fit into, which makes me even more angry. I have tried and failed to fit into their mold. I have realized that molds are for cookies, not people. So,I had to let go of what others think and me the real me.

My name is Kayla <3

45 - born in Newcastle upon Tyne in North East England - I have mixed ancestry. I've lived in different parts of the UK and in Asia and Europe. So as to where I'm from I consider myself to be poly-ethnic because I've lived in Africa, Near and Far Asia, Europe.

I'm currently unemployed (since 2011) although I've been volunteering and studying to work in adult social care
- my trade is Commercial Facilities Services Contractor - I'm also a qualified and time served aicraft mechanic. In my spare time I'm a fine artist. I've been volunteering fora fee years and studying, so far I've completed a L1 & L2 in Adult Social Care, currently I'm studying a L3 Diploma in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy and a L4 Higher National Diploma equivalent in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy- I would like to be an intervention psychotherapist in the future and I'm also interested in study Cyber Security n my spare time.

Something people would be surprised to learn about me is: I served 4 years in the RAF as an Aircraft Mechanic. I motorcycled solo 6,000 miles through Europe, I motorcycled the worlds highest mountain passes in the Himalayas.

My biggest accomplishment thus far is: Getting my diagnosis 4 weeks ago after battling the NHS for 16 years since they misdiagnosed me with BPD then refused multiple times to offer me any treatment unless I accepted their opinion, hence I started studying DBT, psychology, neuroscience and pharmaceuticals in the last few years.

I want to change the world by: More awareness and acceptance of Autism for a start. If I could change myself in some way, I'd study the last modules to get to L5 in psychotherapy and earn a degree.
- I've always struggled with structured classroom type learning - so I'm studying a higher diploma in CBT online. I studied a Diploma in Business Management in 2015 - from start of course to completion of exam took me 5.25 hours and I got a 95% pass

- I learn much quicker than neurotypicals, if it's something I'm interested in I can complete a course very quickly. I consider myself to be an anthropologist, self taught and independent study and travel - the ore I've learned about the people of the world the more I've understood my place in it.

I wish those who are not autistic knew: That's it's not a mental illness and we're not broken. That social constructs are performed and whilst they're real - their value is up for debate

- I don't understand why neurotypicals can't think outside the box - in fact - there is no box. And who is neurotypical? If neurotypical is real, there must be variables, a lot of neurotypicals can't understand complex abstracts, they don't understand Autism or Autistic people - disability is relative to being made disabled by a exclusive, neglectful system, neurotypicals seem to conform easier to vertical collectives of power relations, domination, submission, control and the environment in reeling from Anthropocene effect - also so called normal people - to quote the film Mad to be Normal (R.D. Laing) so called normal people were responsible to for the murder of over 100,000 million people in the last century all in the name of ideas.

Resources that helped me: Reading myself online, support groups online, connecting and listening to other autistic - ad NOT listening to neurotypicals, I read content online on the National Center for Biotechnology Information website often, it's a great resource. I'm yet to access any external resources in my community - they seem to be lacking actually.

I want to tell those who are autistic:

You can do anything you set your heart on doing. Being autism spectrum isn't a prison sentence
- don't believe neurotypicals when they say you can't do something - just get out there and try and try again. Autism does and can change during adulthood, I'm not suggesting that we have a cure - but we can be out personal best and there are untapped resources often inside each of us - we just need to turn this on and live our dreams.

I have always had - Restricted interests, repetitive behaviours, meltdowns, complex use of language, not getting jokes and sarcasm. I've been nicknamed 'little professor, Roger Irrelevant (a character form a adult comic Viz) and Zanussi 'the appliance of science' -really - the signs have always been there.

When first received my diagnosis: I wasn't surprised but wasn't ready for the dissociation I experienced.I walked away in a state of shock, disbelief, euphoria, all mixed feelings - fora couple of days I was on a high and the last 4.5 weeks have been a roller coaster - but I'm emerging now really focused, I've upped a tetra cyclic antidepressant, I've stopped drinking alcohol (not that I drank much) I'm eating a very healthy balanced diet, getting exercise, taking supplements and I'm starting to feel like I'm coming out of a very long fog which persisted for over 10 years - being told you're BPD every time you seek support, for what are actually symptoms of autism, is shattering, especially when deep down you don't relate to the disorder.

Today I feel about my diagnosis: t's helped a lot, I now have an official diagnosis whereas before I believe people thought I was just attention seeking

- I identified as a person with Aspergers for a year prior to diagnosis. Everything is falling into place and I actually feel motivation and drive again after many years.

Having a late diagnosis made life difficult I was taken advantage of, abused, neglected, victim blamed, told I was broken, mentally ill, a dangerous person. This affected my career, relationships both platonic and intimate, affected my ability to see my children, destroyed my health - not having the correct diagnosis manifested as many 'lost years!'.

I've been unable to hold down jobs, marriages breaking down, although I have court orders - no contact with my children. Barriers to treatment by NHS because of previous BPD diagnosis, being viewed through the lens of BPD meant therapists refusing treatment. I just want to put the past behind me now and move forward - hopefully I can eventually return to full time work in a profession that really suits me and I can start to thrive - this really is a new life now for me and I'm on the whole very happy.

I’m 58 years old
I live in a small area in Scotland.
I come from north east England
I am a holistic cat carer and professional storyteller & I love it.
I’m considered witty & quirky.

My biggest accomplishment thus far in my opinion is becoming a forest school outdoor education leader to compliment my storytelling perhaps.
I wear coloured lenses (don’t need them to correct optical vision it’s more about lowering over stimulus due to light sensitivity) my head feels better for it, I cope in lit areas better and get less exhausted.

People are often surprised I have an autistic diagnosis as 'I don't look /sound autistic' whatever that means (rain man?) I do so many weird things I doubt they are surprised if they know me. I was a rape victim-we are supposed to be ruined and quiet?

I Find voice recognition tech a boon as my writing was v v slow

A Book called ‘are you eating an orange’ by Debi brown explained difference between both autistic and allistic approaches.

Best things find is allowing myself to be me, forgiving myself for my difference if I can’t make allistic management time targets and valuing what I do well while learning to ask for how I need things presented.

What I want to tell others who are also autistic is that the world is in desperate need of originality and your differences are a source of original approaches. We need difference and creativity to be embraced now. Working together as teams we have so much to offer and can help each other to achieve. Be kind to yourself when you feel frustrated step back and breath!
There’s lot of online forums where you can share and be you and get Advice from others who have found or invented solutions for your issues! We are a community!

What made me originally recognize I might be autistic was Studying childhood development and seeing where I fitted in. Also trying out the baren Cohen test online for my partner who is v autistic. I found out my daughter and I had high scores too so started reading wider about it. Was sure she was Asperger’s but when she was at school 20 years ago it was viewed in a derogatory way and it was better for her, we pursued help via ‘gifted’ label and demanded an individual learning plan at school.
   My nephew is nonverbal autistic and my family show many traits but sit in denial.
When I started to live with another very different person, we learnt strategies to help him. We couldn’t get diagnosis for him as all that was seen was depression despite me writing a 6-page analysis and even though the depression has been shown to be caused by chronic vitamin d deficiency we got no further for him.It was ironic that my doctor suggested I went for diagnosis after only a one-page list!

The reason I was diagnosed late was because They didn’t  have a word for autism in those days.

If you could keen to read and write that was fine, social skills not seen as school’s responsibility.
And as a precocious kid I was left alone to get on with things my way. I read before school. Could keep up till 8 when others did silent reading and I have no idea how they did that. I learnt to speak the words in my head and still must ‘hear’ them- all is oral to me.
Eventually my strategies failed/ like taking days off sick every few weeks to recover and do work that mattered to me

And doing work in holidays and weekends. I’d end up with no time for play as I compensated
Barriers I had on getting diagnosed was funding only become available for adult assessments recently, last few years.

I took a part time post with local council (on top if my self- employment) and it so stressed me working with allistic s that I ended up at doctors with high blood pressure. I’d listed the differences between my approach to work and theirs (they are so slow!!!) and she asked if I’d like to go for diagnosis.

Signs that helped hint I’m autistic are:
*1 hour in Artificial light means 1-day rest as it overloads me
*Changing rules upsets me- decide the rules and stick to it unless everyone agrees a change is needed
*Gluten intolerance
*Huge attention to details and ability to do unusual cross links and deep analysis
*Can’t understand facial signals and as literal thinker believe what I hear which led me to danger on occasion
*Highly kinesthetic and oral learning style
*Super ability in smell, taste, feeling subtle energies, some thinking in pictures that animals pick up on (work in animal communication and care)
*Obsessional activities - good observer

·         When I first got my diagnosis I felt A relief that it’s a ‘thing’ that’s ok to be
·         Today knowing my diagnosis, I feel- I Find it frustrating I am not believed still as I am able.

I try to educate my clients gently into my needs as well as theirs: turning up out of hours can wreck my day as the routines and timetables are put out.

Not having a diagnosis for a long time made it harder to explain needs or insist on ones right without it. Still too little knowledge of practical needs of autism even with people who work with people of difference. That’s something I would like to help shift.

It seems we are the ones who must bend, and processing time is not honored.
Everyone should learn psychology so they can understand others not project their own style with force.

Nothing is as it Seems

For most of my younger days, I was socially awkward. I didn’t make too many friends, made only a few and went from there. I mostly spent time by myself in my interest in video games, which sort of bit me in the ass later. I did well in school, or at least in the special education classes. Then I did some dumb stuff because I did not know better. I mostly went through life doing as I was told. Believe it or not, I thought I could be in the cooking field as a chief. Then there’s some unpleasant stuff I did because I didn’t know better.

Anyway, I was in a post-high school program until I was 21 of age, five years ago. Enjoyed most of it, but at the last six months there, I panicked. I panicked because my time was almost done there, and I must make something out of myself. During this moment, I learned of some online folks who also have ASD, but who were not the best example of people. Constantly used their ASD as an excuse to get out of trouble, which said person kept getting into and engages on some horrible actions. The whole thing is documented by the Internet. I got a real laugh out of it, observing them, until realizing that I could be this person. What didn’t help was the similar interests I had with this person. It was as if I discovered my own shadow. I was deeply in doubt about myself, my interests, my direction. I was scared and I did everything I can during those six months, but it did not amount to much. I did a psychological report that painted a negative image of myself. I wondered what I did wrong? Did I do enough? Where can I go now? Do I deserve to exist? Can I really atone for my sins? I entered the stage of “The Cliff”.

“The Cliff” typical means a family moving away from IDEA services and dealing with a general lack of adult services. It represents that to me, but also as a beast that dwells within a mind. It represents a defeatist attitude where no one should ever try to improve themselves. No matter what, the world will shut you down for the tiniest thing. Political stances, values, hobbies etc. It doesn’t give a shit. For me, I had so many differences from others, even from the ASD community. I was never huge into Neurodiversity for example. Mostly because of the proud aspect I wasn’t into, especially knowing the grim outcomes for young adults with ASD. Seems contradictory at the time, I now know that crowd wants to do everything they can to help change those outcomes. For everything, I saw a hidden side there, whenever I wanted too or not. It was hard because I seen how nasty people get with some topics and I had fears of wondering if I ever had a place. I mean, how the fuck does one fit in in any sort of community, when only you saw the hidden sides? Lastly, the most painful lesson I learned was that no one can help me. It is all on me to help myself.

After some time passed, I decided to continue with community college in a disability specialist program. I figured that the least I can do is prevent others from ever having my path and having a better chance than I did. I knew it was hard because I knew most people with ASD had more technology interests and that more social positions are unheard of (I realized now that they are many who work in more social settings, more than I thought). I had to search for my own power that wasn’t just because of my autism. I still struggled with the idea of “what could happen if this field doesn’t really want me?” I always have fears that I won’t be able to connect with the community I want to save. If I can’t help one person, what’s the fucking point for the last few years? Anyway, during the years to come, I got involved in politics, my state’s autism community, Autism Speaks, and much more. I struggled with driving, since the idea of ASD and driving is treated as the elephant of the room in my state, but I got my license and been driving ever since. I knew I had to aim high for my goals. No reason to hold myself back, despite the defeatist beast.

After completing community college and working at several jobs in my field, I realized what my true power was, determination. Despite everything, I found a way to make things right. I became incredibly resourceful and I cannot count the number of times it helped me out. I work as a job coach, clinician at an autism nonprofit, a busboy(Which I need to let go soon) and now as an event facilitator.  I critically damaged the beast and all I must do is continue working towards my goals and kill it for good.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

I'm 48, England

I'm a speech and language therapist working in a special educational provision. I love working with the kids but struggle with the planning and organization, the social side and the daily politics!
In my opinion my biggest accomplishment is making it to this age and having a career a home when quite honestly, I could have given up many times and ended up dead, sectioned or worse
Most people have no idea I have a very limited episodic memory so I’m generally not able to recall events. Someone recently asked if I remembered someone we used to go and stay with 20+ years ago. I said 'Of course I do! How is she?' 3 days later I recalled a single image of the floor in her lounge. Nothing else ever came to me.

I wish those who are not autistic would know that if they can see or hear me, I'm masking/camouflaging and suffering stress as a result.

I have never had any resources.

What I want those who are autistic to know is that: You're amazing, life won't be easy, but you have so much to give to the world. If help is available, take it. If you need help, ask. Haha I know so easy to say and almost impossible to do.

As so often happens I went through years in the mental health services until one day I saw a TV programme about a girl who had been miss diagnosed but had ASD and thought 'that's me!'. My male cousin had already been diagnosed and I had often wondered about myself. Then I read lots of books about high functioning women and repeatedly recognized myself, so I asked my psychiatrist for a referral for an assessment. She scoffed - typical.

I felt Wonderful! Amazing, when I received my diagnosis! It all made sense. I wanted to run into the car park and spin round and round in pure joy. It gave me some self-respect and I was at last able to understand myself a bit more.

How I feel about my diagnosis now compared to when I first received is that
Some days I'm happy, I appreciate my gifts and peculiarities but on difficult days it feels like a burden. I'm still learning. In the last few days the whole issue of dissociation and loss of episodic memory and the impact on sense of identity has hit me hard but chatting to online groups have been a god send. Professionals just talk about the stereotypical stuff that everyone lists on checklists etc. but after the assessment service there's nothing around here and it's been reading and signing up to online groups that has really helped me start to understand at a deeper level.

Because I was always treated for mental health and given drugs life has been a hard slog and very damaging. Plus I have had some pretty traumatic experiences and dodgy relationships which I may have avoided if my family and I had known just how vulnerable I am. Being a practical person (I'd do love a power tool!!) and academically capable I was assumed I could look after myself - not so and typically I don't learn so well from these.

My biggest barriers have been not knowing I had autism. I spent the first 46 yrs of my life trying so hard to do and be like everyone else with no understanding why I couldn't do it, why I constantly 'misbehaved' and burnt out. I have moved and reinvented myself so many times. But now I know I have more understanding of myself and feel a little bit more grounded. I'm not running away this time. At least not today 😂😂

32, New York

My upcoming role is mother of a little boy. He’s currently enjoying his bounce castle (my womb). This has been a blessing in many ways and it’s giving me the motivation to examine my gifts, go forward with a sound plan.
People would be surprised by how much of a family person I am, how important faith is to me and how much I enjoy being out in the sticks versus the city. Solitude and serenity are important to me.

My biggest accomplishment thus far: Tapping into my sisu (look it up ^.^ ), fighting for myself and finding my voice and holding on for the ride. I come from tough stock. I’m also much more aware when I need to reroute my attack plan.

I think working on yourself can definitely impact the community around you. “Everyone thinks of changing the world but no one thinks of changing himself.”
That’s a quote (unsure if its rightly or wrongly attributed to Tolstoy) that speaks loudly about the topic. Don’t think too highly of yourself just accept your strengths, shortcomings and make note of where you need to improve.

I wish neurotypicals/those not on the spectrum knew about autism are several things of lack cognitive empathy which means we are greatly limited in understanding body language. Just because someone processes life differently is no great indication of further success or failure. A delay does not indicate impossibility/improbability. Please entertain thoughts outside of your box. And for those that are allies and understand these things, you’re such an asset to our community. Keep fighting the good fight.

My advice to others who are autistic are: do not bow down or cower to people that are intent on shaming you. Your life is as valid as someone else’s and your capabilities are unique. Know thyself and tap into them. This is a gift not a curse. You’re not broken. You have some special gifts in your internal storage. Be around confident people, not the kind that are envious or shoot you down. If you seek the environment that enriches your soul and your voice, it’ll give you the boost necessary to explore your dreams and ultimately achieve them. Be yourself - everyone else is taken.

Signs I displayed of having autism: Excessive fact sharing, monotone voice, social awkwardness and lack of cognitive empathy.

The best resources i received were speech and OT in my youth. They didn’t shame me into believing my thoughts and behaviors were wrong. It helped me to investigate my world.  As an adult, being patient with myself and speaking up with tact (in order to advocate for myself) have proved to be tremendous tools

I was greatly relieved upon receiving my diagnosis and it was beautiful to meet people on a similar journey. I mag flounder at times but my focus and brain power is to my benefit. I’ll use it to it’s fullest soon.

Today I feel about my diagnosis now: I’m rolling with it, day by day. Once I’m onto the paths that suit me, I’ll prosper like I’m meant to.

I had gone through lots more obstacles because of not having a diagnosis : The educational system was pure hell for me in a plethora of ways. I’d like not to say it shooed me away from the pursuit but it left a nasty taste in my mouth. I was tired of trying to explain myself to people that were dedicated to misunderstanding my position. As an adult, 12 years after my diagnosis, I’ve changed. I’ll keep pushing until the good things that need to happen happen.
My social life is in a wonderful place as opposed to a decade ago. But hey, you’re young and experimenting!

There’s a laundry list of obstacles I have overcame but it’s either been one step at a time or I blast through it like a wrecking ball. Grey areas are not usually my forte!

33, New Jersey

My biggest support is My mom. She put so much time and energy into figuring out what my needs where and how to provide the help I needed. My earliest memories were of her putting me in front of a mirror and asking me questions. She noticed one day, after giving me a bath, that despite not looking at her face, I would look at the reflection of her face in the mirror. She noticed that I was more willing to answer her questions about my day at the special school if I was talking to her reflection instead of her. She gradually had me work my way to looking at her mouth as she spoke.

Before that, my mom caught my sister hitting me in the head with a pillow. When she yelled at her about it, my sister said "but he likes it." She did it again only for my mom to notice I was laughing hysterically. This how my mom figured out how to get me to say my first sentence. She would say "Ready, Set, Go!" and bop me in the head with a pillow. After a while, she wouldn't bop me until I said "Go!" Then, I had to say "Set, Go!" Eventually, my first sentence was "Ready, Set, Go!"

Some of my friends to this day notice I sometimes smile at them when we are sparring and I take a couple hits.

I'd have to say all the teachers who went out of there way to put things in perspective for me when I couldn't figure certain things out on my own. Despite knowing my diagnosis, they never told me that they knew. It was just implied that I struggled.

I went to a special school from the time I was 2 until I was ready for kindergarten. I just thought that was preschool, but I was among other kids with autism. In retrospect, I'm surprised how different we all were. Too many times, people with the same label are stereotyped in a way that creates a rigid mental image. Being exposed to the shear diversity of people on the spectrum kept me from understanding what my limitations were. Had I knew what limitations to expect, I don't think I'd push my limits the way that I have.

About my past:
6. Most babies cry to be held and look at other peoples faces. I didn't. Most babies relax when they are being held. I didn't.

I could spend hours alone, playing with the same toy without a care in the world. I would put my ninja turtle figurines on their backs and spin them for hours.

When I was old enough to talk, I just wouldn't. I went out of my way to avoid saying anything. It got to a point where I wouldn't be fed unless I asked for food. This meant being left in a play pen while everyone was eating dinner, and not being allowed to sit and eat at the table until I asked.

I was diagnosed when I was about a year and a half old. My parents didn't want me finding out about my diagnosis until I was ready. I was even mainstreamed at kindergarten, so they could tell me the special school I went to was preschool.

They were hoping that they could wait until I was at least a teenager to tell me about it. Thing is, I had a subscription to Nintendo power, and checked the mail regularly for every issue. Well, I acted as though I was looking for Nintendo Power when I was actually trying to intercept a bad report card. The letter said it was from my school, so I thought that was the report card. Turned out to be a letter about my IEP. That's the first time I ever recall seeing/hearing the word "autism." It was right under diagnosis.

I had no idea what to think. I asked my sister what autism is. She just said it's this thing that made me do all these other wierd things. I still didn't know what to think. I kept quiet about it for a couple weeks since I didn't want my parents to know I was trying to stop them from seeing a bad report card. I waited until the summer to ask them what it was, and I forget what exactly they said, but I felt like they were lying. It seemed like they were trying to spin it into something more positive, but I was getting progressively more aware of how I'm different from the other kids.

Nowadays, I'm still confused about how it really affects me. I feel like obsessive behavior has played a big role in my getting a college degree as well as my third degree black belt.

that same obsessive behavior has lead me to meeting a lot of people, mostly NTs, who have similar interests. Some of my best friends, I wouldn't have met them at all if I didn't obsess over things.

When I first hear of my diagnosis, I wanted to know more, but I didn't know who or where to turn to.

When I was in college, I had to do research projects which was a good excuse to learn more about autism. Some of the things I read, I almost immediately dismissed as folklore. This includes the ice mother theory. Facial ticks I denied, but then found out I had them...

Problems with loud noises and loud environments, I didn't want to believe either, but my parents pointed out incidents when I was 4 or 5. I remember being in Spain, falling asleep while watching clog dancing, so I must have gotten over it before I was 6 years old. I definitely didn't have any problems with rock shows or mosh pits when I was a teen.

Well, I was diagnosed and treated at an early age, so I don't think I can say yes to having hardships getting diagnosed . My parents and teachers were very new to the idea of autism at the time, so their reaction to me had much more to do with me as an individual than me as someone with autism. I tend to wonder how things would have played out had the general public been more knowledgeable of autism when I was a kid.

I'm 19 and I'm from the Netherlands

In my opinion my biggest accomplishment is being able to finally stand up for myself and just being able to live life again thanks to my service dog.

I want those who are not autistic to know: Every autistic person is different and none of us are the same!

No resources have benefitted me. I've seen many therapists and none of them helped me. I mostly helped myself. It became clear that none one of these therapists had any clue about autism.

I want those who are autistic to know: Never give up! You can do this! While the world can be a tough place for us autistic people, it's important that we don't give up and that we continue to fight and to stand up for ourselves!

I had a friend on YouTube who was autistic. I don't know him in real life but as I continued to talk to him and watch his videos, I saw signs of his autism in myself. So, I asked my parents if I could go to a professional and get a diagnosis. Turns out I was right! I'm autistic just like I thought back then! 🙂

When I first received my diagnosis I was very happy. My parents were a little surprised. I knew I was different because I was always targeted for bullying. I was wondering what was "wrong" with me. Of course there's nothing wrong with me or any of us, but I'm sure you know what I mean. Getting the diagnosis was a big relief. Back then, besides my diagnosis being a relief, I didn't really know what to think of it. I was just happy that things were starting to make sense and that things were becoming more clear.

Now, I couldn't be happier! I'm proud to be autistic and I wouldn't change a thing! If someone were to "take away my autism", they would also take me away because my autism has made me who I am today. That being a super strong woman who finally stands up for herself and who won't just back down! But really, I have my service dog to thank for that! 🙂 When I first got my diagnosis, I was happy and relieved, but other than that, I didn't really know what to think of it.

I was diagnosed with autism at age 13. I was always the one who got bullied and I just couldn't figure out why. I had a slight feeling I was different but I didn't know how or why. I was always the "lonely loser" who couldn't fit in anywhere or with anyone no matter how hard I tried. Looking back, my parents and I definitely noticed signs of autism but back then, we had no clue about it being signs of autism. After I got my diagnosis, everyone was relieved and things were starting to make more sense and we could all study up about autism so that everyone could learn and know what autism was all about.

There might be a TRIGGER warning here:

All in all and everything together, I'm so happy and proud of myself for how far I've come! It was extremely tough and difficult because I wasn't just autistic, but I was also diagnosed with PTSD and I also suffered from severe depression. I had absolutely no motivation to live or get out of bed each morning. Why should I continue to live my life? This was during the years of 2014 through 2016. School wasn't getting any easier and I had a lot of suicidal thoughts. The only school I was extremely happy to go to was a special education school in my area! I was friends with my whole class, there was no bullying, and the teachers actually cared about their students and their well being. You could clearly see that they had training of some sort. I felt real safe at that school. Best school of my entire life but unfortunately, my classmates and I had to leave and go to a different school because the next classes were only for students with learning disabilities which we did not have. Knowing that just really killed me on the inside. There were no more special education schools nearby and so the school drama continued. More drowning. More getting lost. No more friends. And so on. The depression became worse and worse. I was not happy and it felt as if I'll never be happy again. Thankfully, my life started to change drastically in 2017 to the current present. I now have a service dog and thanks to him, I am finally able to live a more better, healthy, and happier life! My dog's name is Sony and training him as a puppy was extremely tough at times but everything has been worth it! I finally got to pick up my hobbies and special interests again, such as making art creations and playing video games! I finally go outside again! I finally go shopping again! And so on! I barely suffer from depression nowadays and my self confidence has grown extremely high! I can stand up for myself now, and everything has just changed for the better! My dog has changed my life and I'm a completely different person now compared to back then! 😀

Friday, February 22, 2019

32, Utah

My biggest accomplishment is my ability to survive. I come from an abusive family where education was not a high priority. We we're poor, life was hard, and I dropped out of high school my junior year. I took a class and got me GED when I was 18 then spent the next 10 years working 2-3 jobs while going to college. I put myself through nursing school and am now an ICU nurse at a large hospital. It certainly would have been easier if I knew my diagnosis back then, but I have proved to myself that I can do hard things.

I want those who are not autistic to know:
*Autism isn't this scary horrible thing. It's beautiful, different, awkward, silly, logical, emotional, the list goes on. Autism challenges you as a parent to learn more, be resourceful, and do better. Autism challenges you as an individual in so many ways I don't know I can adequately explain it. Kids with autism don't want to give you (the parent) a hard time, they are having a hard time. The world does not accept differences well, and autism is full of amazing differences.

To those who are also autistic I want you to know
*You are beautiful. You are strong. You are loved. You are loveable. You are full of brilliance. You can do hard things. You are you, and that is perfec

Why I wasn’t diagnosed as a child: My mom was a single mom dealing with an abusive ex-husband and doing her best to survive and shield us from as much abuse as possible. Once my father finally left the picture for good, she had to deal with 4 kids who were abused, while trying to keep food on the table. When I was a kid she would help me label my emotions. My teachers always said I had many friends (which was not actually true). As a teenager I was labeled emotional, hormonal, aggressive, empathetic, uncaring, aloof, depressed, bipolar, ADHD, the list goes on. My siblings and my mother accused me of being bitchy on a daily basis. I wasn't diagnosed because I'm smart and had an abusive upbringing. Everything was blamed on me being too emotional or the abuse I was subjected too by the hands of my father.

What made me realize I am Autistic:
*When my oldest daughter (M) was 2.5 years old, I noticed she was struggling with loud and unexpected sounds. She had a complete meltdown in dance class. M also had some separation anxiety, but she's 2, some kids are more shy than others right? We had a new baby at home, maybe that was increasing her anxiety levels. The next year things continued to get worse. M wouldn't even acknowledge her baby sister, she would scream if the baby got near her. M would scream if someone touched her without it being her idea. And she began playing in ways that didn't seem typical for her age. We had a birthday party for baby sis and invited very close friends and family. M wouldn't leave my side for 45 minutes. She was genuinely overwhelmed by people at our house. She only finally left my side because I gave her invisibility glasses. And I had to help her join the group of playing kids. She seemed confused about how to play with them. At this point I started doing research. I love research, it's my hobby. And I was starting to think autism. Then someone on a Facebook group sent me a link to female specific autism traits. Going through the list, everything applied to my daughter, then one of them was me.. then the next one was me.. then he next one and the next.. I fit almost all the traits on that list. So my research continued. I started taking online tests for autism and every single one of them I scored high. At first i thought I was crazy. Then, I felt validated. My life has been HARD! I struggle with keeping friends, and picking up on social cues. I practice conversations and situations ahead of time and try to imagine how everything will go. I plan everything to excruciating detail, because it decreases my anxiety. I offend people, often, and usually never know why. It is almost impossible for me to control my emotions, especially if I am stressed, though I get better at it every day. And I'm told the tone of my voice is often misleading. Its difficult for me to express myself and explain what I mean to people. I struggle with personal relationships because I need to have my alone time, and I feel like the older I get, the more responsibilities I have and the more people rely on me, the more I need recharge time. I thought about seeking out a diagnosis, then put it aside because I was putting all my effort into fighting for my daughter's diagnosis and getting therapies started. I see so much of myself in her, and I don't want her to struggle like I have, even if I can just take some of the struggle away. For now, my own diagnosis is on the back burner, mostly because it won't change anything in my life except further self validation. But I think it might be helpful to my daughter at some point to know that Mom has it too and mom is doing ok.

Obstacles I face:
I think the barriers I face are those of my own. Not knowing if they will believe me, because I am "successful" despite all my struggles. I'm afraid my family and friends wouldn't believe me, although I did tell my mother I thought I was Asperger's, and she agreed it made sense. A few close friends also agreed that it makes sense. I'm nervous to be open about this, because I don't know how people will respond. Most people don't fully understand autism, so how would my coworkers and friends feel about working with one?

24, New Zealand

Employment: night shift work I like the people I work with as theirs only two to three of them there they are on the opposite side of the room to me and I've known them for a long time and they understand me and they are a little different in their own way so we get along but I don't like the work but it's ok something to do I guess

One of things I’m most proud of is working full time & managing to do things like this, with the autism community. I like to give back by sharing my experience in hopes it can help others in some way.

I might be very cold and analytical with people I don't know but I'm actually extremely childish and emotional with people I do know

I wish those who are not autistic knew that for some people like me & a few others I know who are autistic, when having a meltdown- we don’t like to be touched or talk too. What works for us is a dimly lit room & sometimes a weighted blanket. I also would like them to know we autistics tend to be very literal we often comment on things we notice, and we mean it as simply a neutral comment not an option so maybe just think about it before getting all aggressive about it

I would like to change the world by making everyone less aggressive.  People don't use the exact right words & then get upset at others for misinterpreting them, which really frustrates me.

Speech therapy was very helpful but managing my sensory issues has been most effective. Sensory bracelets and sensory clothing have been amazing to limit meltdowns and anxiety for me & my daughter who is also autistic.

I want those who are autistic to know that autism is a gift. It’s a gift because the way we see the world means we notice things that another miss out on. Our obsessive behavior is an amazing way to learn new things and skills at a very quick rate and often well before we would normally learn them! The sensory system although problematic can be used to our advantage just being different from everyone else is an amazing thing. it is a gift to embrace! if someone doesn't like that you are autistic then they are not worth your time. Yes, you will have trouble with things but as you understand your triggers and what works for you it gets easier! The amazing parts of autism increase as you learn how to control the not so good ones! Therefore, be proud! Don’t try to fit in with them as you are different and that's an amazing thing!

To be honest, I wasn't as a pro-autistic when I first got my diagnosis. It took a while to realize that my & everyone’s autism is a gift. I felt bad that I felt that way as I had a few autistic friends. My only friends really, and I was always telling them how amazing it was that they were autistic. I think I got caught up in what those who are not autistic were saying of how it’s not a good thing. I had a similar conversation with a friend that got their diagnosis before me and how they hated the news of being autistic. I was able to get them to see it as a gift, so I really don't know why when I got my diagnosis, I was down about it. Over time, I have embraced & seen it as a gift for me, my daughter & everyone else who is autistic or thinks they might be.

Signs that showed I was autistic: the way I talked to people the fact that I always got along with other autistic people I understood what they were feeling and why they never had the same problems they normally had with non-autistic people. I never liked to change I was more sensitive to the world around me then most and a few other things that most I found out after my diagnosis.

When I was first diagnosed, I felt: a mix of shock disbelieve at first, but I think I kind of knew already deep down

Today how I feel about my diagnosis: I'm excited about it as it explains so much I guess I just thought everyone was like me and just knowing helped me to try new things I'm very pro-autistic knowing I'm different has made me a more positive happy and friendly person so it's by far the best thing I've ever found out about myself.

 Not having Diagnosis for a long was very treacherous. School was a nightmare I hated every second and even though I am quite smart. I didn't actually achieve much mostly just faded in to the background hoping to go unnoticed.

Obstacles I face:  I have trouble with communicating with non-autistic people, so I read all about how people interact and got really into psychology that helped me understand people better. I also use my analytical mind to try understanding what's going on and why it been very helpful for understanding non-autistic people and why they don't understand us

Thursday, February 21, 2019

I am 30. I was born in Massachusetts, but I have lived in the Capital Region of New York since 1998

I currently do not do anything for a living because I am in the process of applying for disability. I don’t like the idea of not being able to hold down a job, but I have tried just about every type of job there is, and I haven’t been able to keep any of them. I have other health issues, both physically and mentally, other than being autistic.

I am a widow. My husband died in November of 2018. We were separated at the time, but it was still hard. He died of cardiac arrest caused by an overdose of heroin (fentanyl) and cocaine.
my biggest accomplishment thus far is: I am a drug addict in recovery, and have been clean since February 6th of 2019.
I want to change the world to be more kind and understanding of each other, and I want to change me to be more kind and understanding of myself.
I want those who are not autistic to know: That there is no look that autistic people have, and no identifying set of actions either. We are all different, and have different traits. One of the biggest things I’ve noticed is that when I inform people that I am autistic, they usually say something to the effect of “I never would have guessed! You must be high-functioning!”. I personally don’t prefer the use of terms like “high and low functioning” because it not only is hurtful to call someone low functioning to their face, but it also gives people the wrong expectations for the person they are putting the label on. When you see me at a job, or in public, you see the face I’m putting forward to pass as a neurotypical person as much as possible. If you saw me in the middle of a meltdown, or when I’m very overwhelmed, you DEFINITELY wouldn’t be as quick to call me “high-functioning"

I want those who ARE autistic to know: Don’t hold too much hatred towards Neurotypical people. I know it’s hard not to, especially if you were bullied by them the way that I was, but it’s not going to help anything. Instead, we need to work on educating, and trying to get parents to teach their children about neurodiverse people from a young age and teach them to treat everyone as equals from the start. The people that bullied you were bullying you because they were afraid of someone who was different and that they didn’t understand. I see a lot of hatred towards Neurotypical people in my Autism groups, and it just causes a greater rift between NT and ND individuals. We can’t learn to get along if neither of us can try to understand the others.

I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 29, so my biggest resource I’d say was getting my formal diagnosis so I actually understood what was going on with me. I had spent my entire childhood thinking that I was broken or something was wrong with me, so once I had an idea what was going on, it was like a breath of fresh air. Another resource that has helped me a lot is books. I have read many books about autism and it has helped me a lot to understand my diagnosis. I’d say the last source that helped me a lot was my brother. He is also on the autism spectrum, and was diagnosed when we were young,so I at least grew up with an understanding of what autism was, so I had some idea of how to deal with certain aspects of my diagnosis.
Honestly, the first person to actually suspect that I was on the Autism spectrum was my current boyfriend, that I’ve been seeing for about 3 years now. My brother was diagnosed at a young age, but my parents weren’t really versed in female autism, and had no suspicions that I was autistic when I was younger. After being with my boyfriend for a while, he noticed signs and asked me if I had considered that I might be autistic like my brother. After doing some research I decided to pursue a professional diagnosis, and was diagnosed with a Level 1 Autism Spectrum Disorder.
When I was first diagnosed I felt: I finally understood why I had felt like there was something wrong with me for my entire life. I felt like my brain was broken until then. It was such a relief, and the start of a very exciting journey of self discovery. I feel like I finally understand the way my brain works now.
I feel about my diagonsis today: It has only been a year for me, so I’m still learning. I now carry ear defenders in my bag, as well as stimming toys so that I can regulate my sensory input when necessary,and try to lessen the amount of sensory overload.
I wish I had been diagnosed at a younger age, because I probably wouldn’t have struggled in school as much as I did if I had had special help with my school work. I had a really hard time relaying the problems I was having to my teachers,because they weren’t equipped for teaching children like myself. I would tell my teachers that the way they were explaining things to me didn’t make sense to me, and then they would just explain it to me in the same way. I’d tell them I just didn’t understand the way they were teaching me, and they’d say that this was the way I had to learn it because that’s the way it was on the tests. (mostly math and science)
I have faced many obstacles in life, even without including my autism and late diagnosis. I was bullied all through school, then went from dating an alcoholic to dating and marrying an abusive man who ended up getting me addicted to drugs. I suffered from chronic pain from a young age, and whenever I’d mention it to my doctor they didn’t believe me and said I was too young to be in that much pain. I was finally diagnosed a year ago with Fibromyalgia and Arthritis in my knees, which finally explained why I was always in pain, and why I was self-medicating with illegal drugs. I now have PTSD from my abusive relationship, and have also been diagnosed with OCD, an anxiety disorder, and clinical depression. I’ve only been able to get through these problems with the help of my loved ones, and therapy. I’m still struggling on most days, but I’m learning to cope better, one day at a time.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

48, Hertfordshire England .

I was diagnosed this year with autistic spectrum disorder. I didn’t know what Autism was until my eldest son who is now 21 was diagnosed at around 14. My youngest son was diagnosed at 3 he is now 11. They have different fathers so that kind of gave me an idea it came from my side of the family. I recognized a lot of there behaviors in myself. So with my newly diagnosis I feel this has really helped me in so many ways! Some of these ways have been to understand myself more and be a better parent to my boys.

I have never lasted in jobs. Relationships have been very difficult for me and again don’t last. I have always struggled to fit in and as a child I was at school always labeled as “naughty” and put on report and given detentions.

Things I struggle with are the fact that I fall out with friends often and will go weeks without speaking to them as I don’t always want to. I just really don’t like to socialize at all, and it’s nothing personal.

I also say things that seem to upset people and I find it difficult to see why or how I have upset them. I started getting into trouble at work as I would say things as it is and not think before I spoke it would just come out my mouth.

A year ago I decided to go for a driving job driving a minibus taking children with similar conditions to and from school.
I have to travel with a PA and I find her to be annoying as she talks non-stop. This drives me mad to the point I have had the passanger seat removed from the front of the vehicle so I don’t have to listen to her.
This is probably my biggest achievement so far as I have held this job down now for a year and love driving and I get a long great with the kids.

Even though we are all on the spectrum we are all different from each other. I have learnt strategies to use in work to help me cope. I find visuals help me a great deal. I think without my diagnosis I would of lost my job definitely and still would not totally understand myself as I used to get so cross with myself for the way I was and question why I was the way I am.

I wish people who are NOT autistic understood what struggles we go through daily and didn’t just judge. Struggles as I mentioned earlier of socialization, monitoring what I say, & visualizations as a way of learning.
Something else that irritates me is when I tell people I have autism some say “we are all on the spectrum somewhere” if they lived a day in life on the spectrum they would not say that.

I would like to say to others who are autistic to NOT give up! just keep going and learn about yourself as well as find strategies that help you! Those little strategies can make daily life that bit easier.

I am proud of myself for holding down this job and something I thought I couldn’t do but I was not going to let my Autism stop me.
Be proud of who you are we are unique and should be proud.
If people don’t except me for who I am then they can stay away