I was born in Hackettstown New Jersey back in 1986. My mom started noticing signs when I was nine months old. There was a distinct lack of eye contact, and I barely did anything to get attention. When I was held, my body would get really tight. It wasn't until my grandmother, who looked at the world through rose tinted glasses and sugar coated everything, said she was concerned about my behavior, and thought the pediatrician should take a look at me. The pediatrician dismissed everything, thinking I'd grow out of it. My mom had to do a lot of research before she even found out about the diagnosis of autism.
This was back in the days of the ice mother theory. Many believed that autism was caused by the mother being cold, unloving, and unattentive toward the child. My mother clearly didn't deserve to have that kind of misinformation become widespread.
My biggest accomplishment thus far is hard to determine. I have a bachelors degree in a program design to produce video game developers. This is where things get hard to determine.
I'm not sure getting the degree was harder than CONVINCING MY PARENTS I should go into a college program designed to get people into the video game industry while living in Maryland. I transferred from a general studies degree with a 2.0 gpa and spent the next two years in the game development program while on honor roll. Suffice to say, the game development program came much more naturally than writing research papers, or memorizing the names of different bacteria.
Yeah... I decided at age 13 I was going to teach myself qbasic and make my first game, and spent a lot of time trying to teach myself how to draw on both paper and ms paint. I learned how to use RPG maker and whatever random tools I could download for free. It wasn't until I showed my parents what I could do with blender 3d, at the age of 17 that my parents final.ly decided to help me look for a college program that was both affordable and had a decent hiring rate.
Thing is, I've also been in the martial arts since I was 9. I currently have a 3rd degree black belt in Tang Su Do, and have a couple years experience teaching all ages, but mostly kids.
I wish more neurotypicals would be able to see the higher functioning end of the spectrum. Many dismiss my claim of having autism because they think I have OCD. Most of them never seen me as a youngin'. They don't seem to notice as many of my ticks. I tend to be alone when I'm stimming. They think I'm sheltered when I've traveled most of Europe, being exposed to more cultures then they ever will. They don't see me as autistic, wich sometimes gives me mixed feelings.
I'd like for neurotypicals to know that there are several people with autism who are currently very successful. They don't have to be afraid of their children having autism. I hear it's better than measles, and I'm not itchy too often.
I guess that's two things. They don't see what's behind closed doors for a lot of people on the spectrum, and knowing the diagnosis allows one to know what to do to help.
More and more people are being diagnosed with autism. We may have been on our own in a lot of ways, having to figure out how to adapt to the neurotypical world. The thing is, having our own unique struggle gives us insights that neurotypicals can't fathom. What we have is a rare opportunity to achieve a sense of purpose that some people wish they could have. We have the chance to help autistic people of this up and coming generation with their struggles for we are overcoming many of the same obstacles. We can guarantee that we can improve someone else's life, just by us specifically being there for someone with the same diagnosis.
I've struggled with learning my entire life, and it's given me insight that has made be a better teacher.