Monday, February 25, 2019

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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.

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