Sunday, March 31, 2019

54, from Portsmouth in the UK.

I'm not sure about my biggest accomplishment! I have accomplished a lot! I have two degrees-I have a PhD and BSc (with 1st class honours) in Chemical engineering. I've won prizes for papers I've written such as the Jim Gardner award for the best paper in the journal Gas Separation and Purification in 1991.

I'm a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of my professional institution and have a successful career (with only two short periods of unemployment in 35 years).
Over the years I have had major problems with alcohol and other drugs. Today I am nearly 10 years clean and sober.
I have been married for 29 years and we have three wonderful children. Family is the most important thing in my life.
Finally, I can honestly say that today I am a happy, content and confident person. That has not been easy.

Two things come to mind on what I wish those who don’t have autism to know.
Firstly, that autism is not an illness or a choice or, I believe, a disability. What is sometimes disabling is other people's ignorance and bigotry. Secondly, that autism is a lifelong condition - autistic children become autistic adults. And autistic adults need more resources and support.

The most helpful resources for me personally were a counsellor with autism specific training and experience. The 12 step program of Alcoholics Anonymous.

What I want other people who are autistic to know is that: learn about autism. Get support. But mostly be patient with, and kind to yourself

Anonymous 2

United Kingdom
Age 22

I was officially diagnosed a few months ago. I was initially assessed for autism in the early 2000’s, but the assessor said that I couldn’t be autistic because I had played with a toy teapot. During this meeting, I also bit the assessor's hand when he shook a jar, hid his keys, and more. During this time period, autism wasn’t as heard of. There was no record of this assessment in my NHS files. I’m not cured, but I have learned coping strategies so my condition isn’t as noticeable as it was when I was 4 or 5.

I’m currently on ESA while my support workers attempt to secure sheltered employment for me. I get support from the Connexions service run by Hull City Council, focused on getting clients into education, employment, or training. For me, they provide emotional and moral support. CatZero, in addition to my family and friends, also provide a lot of emotional support.

I struggle with changes, even small ones. It helps when I try to work up to it. I have to have food and clothes from specific places. When I was young, I had meltdowns over small things.

Until I turned 16, I had a fascination with being tickled. I didn’t like being touched if I wasn’t being tickled. When my feet were tickled it would relax me and make me laugh! I still like being tickled now, but I’m not as fascinated with it anymore.

I think schools should offer education about autism and other hidden disabilities to hopefully decrease stigma and fear. I wish that neurotypicals knew that although people with autism struggle, they try their best every day.

I want other autistic people to never change themselves for anyone. The right people will find you and like you for who you are. You are perfect.

What I’m most proud of? Completing and releasing my book, Relate. You can find it on Amazon!

I am 22 and I am from the United States

 In my opinion my biggest accomplishment thus far is I graduated high school which I was not even sure was going to happen, not because I skipped school or had bad grades or anything. School in general was just a struggle. I wasn’t exactly social or anything. I was harassed in inappropriate ways. When I was first in school Kindergarten through 2nd grade it was hard because I seemed to always get teachers that yelled a lot and when I get yelled at, I just completely shut down. I had trouble asking for help. They embarrassed me if I needed something explained again just in a different way. The teachers never ever took the time to understand me. They just wanted to get mad at me and say I was not a good student or call my parents. I refused to finish my work often or even just start it at all because even though I would write help me on the paper and then just sit there with my head down. It was written in my IEP that if I felt like I needed a break I could leave the classroom and just step away for a few minutes, but I would still get yelled at and everything. It was a hard battle for my parents. I switched schools after that for 3rd through 5th grade which was a bit of nice change because it was a school for other people like me but after 5th grade I went to a different school because it wasn’t working for me anymore. It was just a public school. After 8th grade I was switched back into the school system that I had started with in the first place. 9th through 12th grade. I got the help and everything I needed. I had incredible teachers and everything although there were a few that didn’t quite seem to understand how to handle a student like me. Math was my favorite class even though I hated math and still do but I had the best teacher for that. It was a small group of kids and I was the only girl which I preferred anyways but it was just awesome. She made math fun for us all. I had a lot of great teachers. The other students would give me the most trouble. I felt like they were jealous of me because I got to take a break from the class if I needed to. I never used my locker, so I always had my bags with me even though it wasn’t really allowed to be able to carry bags like I did. I had several doctors of mine sign off that’s what is best for me, so it worked.  School was overall just a struggle for me for the most part so that is a huge achievement for me.

I want those who are not autistic to know that Autism is not a disability it’s just a different ability

I was diagnosed when I was 6 so I don’t really remember.

I feel quite a bit better knowing that I do have a form of Autism. I have always been autistic, but I never really figured out until I was in 7th grade that I was indeed autistic. I was supposed to pick a topic for a research project for one of my classes and I was having trouble choosing a topic my teacher said that I could do something about Autism if I would like as the topic was supposed to be about medical stuff. I was confused as to why she said that because I was never really told I had autism. I mean I knew something was different about me because I was in occupational therapy, and I always had a lot of other appointments to get the help I needed. Well I was younger, and it never occurred to me because that was just the normal schedule for me. I said to my teacher why would I choose autism!? She said that she just thought since I had it that I might want to educate people about it. I did talk to my mom about it and she said that I did have it. So of course, now that I know it all makes sense to me. I did a great job writing about it and presenting it to the class.

I am 62 years old and diagnosed privately by an Autism specialist about 3 years ago.

I have tried to get diagnosed with the NHS but was just sent to an awful old fashioned highly prejudiced general psychiatrist who quickly said that she thought that too many people were getting diagnosed who aren't Autistic. She has continued to block a proper diagnosis with the NHS since then as she is head of psychiatric services here (Newark, Notts UK)                                                  I

I have a smallholding with sheep, goats, cattle, horses and rare breed poultry and work as a relief milker on a nearby dairy farm. I generally like my work as I find animals much easier to understand than humans.

I would love to see a proper socialist government in this country as the Tory party are destroying it and creating such a hostile environment for so many people, which I suppose is a policy of divide and rule.

I wish that NTs knew more about Autism but can't see it happening as even in the medical profession there is so much ignorance.

As I have a private diagnosis, I haven't been offered any resources. I first realized that I was different in secondary school. I had moved to the school with several friends from junior school, but they soon disowned and avoided me which I found absolutely devastating as I was unable to make new friends. I now realize that I hadn't realized that the rules had changed so and had missed all the cues. So school was a miserable time and place for me.

My first inklings that I could be Autistic came from reading a family health book where the description of Autism and Asperger’s did seem to describe me in many ways. I didn't start using a computer until about 8 years ago and sometime after that started researching Autism. Then I joined fb and joined Autism groups and the more I read the more certain I became that I am Autistic.

Being diagnosed was a great relief as at last I had one reason why I am like I am and why I have so many oddities.

I think that not having a diagnosis has probably not helped me in many ways. It would have been helpful to know more about how people communicate and would maybe have meant that I wouldn't have been so naive.

I was married for about 9 years to a man who I now know is a narcissistic abuser and we have a NT daughter who is nearly 25 (she has also been abused by him as she is his scapegoat child -he had another daughter from his first marriage).I think that dealing with people has always been the biggest problem in my life.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Anonymous 4

Southeast Florida
Age 46

I do not claim to be ‘from’ anywhere, raised an Army brat. However, currently and for past 43 months live in southeast Florida. I have not left this planet yet. I have no idea how I am still alive or why. I would say that’s my biggest accomplishment.

I want those who are not autistic to know about autism: You cannot make a cat ‘BARK’, or a dog use a litter box.

Thus far, I have not gotten much in the way of resources or support services. There are not many in the USA for adults anyway, and so far, I have not found a lot of help in this area. It may be ‘out there’ but that requires asking the correct questions and handling the world outside the house, talking to people and going places. Doing those things are tremendously difficult and taxing for me these days.

I was in individual therapy and have quit that as I do not see it going anywhere. I may change my mind on that, when I can get to a place of pseudo ‘calm’ to think things through. The overwhelm of day to day is like a WAR and I feel that I need a big life preserver tossed at me but instead am treading water, exhausted, and it is like it does not matter if I do drown.

My heart goes to each single person on the spectrum, particularly understand the insanity of being an adult with late diagnosis. I received my official diagnosis on September 27th, 2018. Asperger Syndrome/ASD, PTSD, and Panic Disorder. I felt so much relief at first that I cried spontaneous gulping tears for a while, just feeling validated and some self-acceptance for the first time ever. Then all that quickly crashed as reality began to set in.

I am glad to know that I am different, as now I know that all those years of being depressed, socially anxious and incapable, of feeling like I never belong and am in everyone’s way, o from another planet, the many issues I have had going back to prepubescent years, all gives me some sense of ‘aha, see I am not crazy!’. I was essentially written off as such by my parents and several other ‘significant’ people over the years. I have sought answers from therapists dating back to when I was 15. No one knew, though. I was 22 in 1994 when Asperger’s came to the DSM. To read it now, it is like someone has been following me around most my life: I was very focused on food and my weight – the one thing I could control, as well as the lack of friends, and being bullied in grade school… I also had an extreme tolerance for physical pain, I didn’t even flinch when I had my ears pierced at 3, according to my mother.

Since I was very young, I have been trying to save the planet along with the people and animals in it. I have had extreme issues in relationships, and fail every single time, so I am celibate and alone, but not really by choice. I was abused by my parents, and by my ex-husband, and no one believed me when I did report. Now I understand that it is common for autistics to be abused and are unlikely to be believed when and if they report abuse. The gullible, malleable one always and still to this day. Have felt like a doormat to the world, I am so ‘easy’ when someone needs something help with homework, a paper typed, anything really… it is instinctual, I want to help… but I am not ‘seen’ unless help is needed, so my history has taught me.

I have a son on the spectrum and a daughter who has severe emotional trauma from her dad sexually abusing her at 7. We are totally unsupported, and I have navigated us on a journey of survival without support or viable help, while being ignored by two states and the people who are supposed to be there to serve and protect and help… So, in answer to ‘how do I feel?’... I feel tremendously and overwhelmingly sad and lost in this world that terrifies has always terrified me. I feel invisible, I feel like I am supposed to be the cat that fetches the paper and barks.

I mentioned that I was diagnosed late. Had I known earlier about autism and been able to get insight, help, support and learned things like they are teaching my autistic son, who has been receiving occupational, speech and other services for 3 years now, then maybe I would have had an easier time growing up and less stress navigating the world at large, I still have some of the same problems I’ve had since I was a child.

Age is 35 and I’m from south Hampton

My biggest achievement is my kids as they also have health issues so dealing with that to and, I have just started going to the gym so that’s massive to me as well

Would like neurotypicals to understand what a meltdown is and that sometimes socializing just gets too much and that they aren’t naughty they are having a meltdown

No resources helped really as I didn’t have any help sadly. I was just diagnosed 3 months ago.

What I want others who are autistic you may have autism, but autism doesn’t have you

As I said earlier, I have been diagnosed less than a year ago, the reason I suspected I may have autism was my sons’ school that notice I showed a lot of signs of it such as needing routine. I also have chromosome deletion 22q deletion.

When I first received my autism diagnosis, I felt kind of like a weight lifted as realized there was a reason to the way I was but I kind of knew. I just needed that diagnosis relief is what I felt most.

How I feel about my diagnosis now is more of the fact that now I know the reason. if I can’t cope with something I know why, so it’s been kind of easier knowing I have autism.

I’m 65 years old and I’ve just recently come to believe that I may be on the spectrum. I don’t
feel any desire or need to get a diagnosis.

I live independently and manage to cope fairly well,
all things considered. I currently work with adults on the low functioning end of the spectrum,
doing a music activity 3 days a week and a basketball activity on one day. I don’t have a related
degree, but do have a B.A. in English. I also work part-time in retail, and make a small income
playing music occasionally. I’m divorced with two adult children.

My first inkling that I might actually be autistic came when I was working at a school for high
school aged kids with learning problems. Two of the students there had a diagnosis of
Aspergers’, and that was the first I’d heard of that. This was about 15 years ago. I found I could
relate well to these students, and one day while the principal was discussing the condition I said
“sometimes I think I might have Aspergers.” He replied “maybe you do.” He was very familiar
with the condition and also knew me quite well, so it made me think.

In my early school grades, kindergarten and 1 st grade at least, I was apparently a behavior
problem in school. I never felt like I fit in with my classmates or neighborhood friends, and
frequently felt uncomfortable around them. Looking back, I realize that I missed many social
clues, especially in high school, where I was regarded as a loner. In my high school yearbook I
was described as “seen but not heard.” Back then though I believe there was very low
awareness of autism, and especially high functioning autism.

In working with the adults with autism as I do now, I came to realize I have many affinities with
them. I find eye contact very uncomfortable for example, and feel a deep empathy for their
perspectives and behaviors. I find that many typicals take me the “wrong way,” and most of my
interactions with other staff are very awkward. For what it’s worth, I recently completed
several online self-diagnosis questionnaires, and consistently scored on the spectrum.
I have a family member who is a psychologist, and in speaking with her recently about my
suspicion I’m on the spectrum, she said she tended to think no, but said it was possible. She did
suggest I see a therapist about my difficulties with social interactions and relationships. I have
no close friends or relationships now.

I identify as an alcoholic, and am proud of having been sober now for over 5 years thanks to
alcoholics anonymous. My psychologist relation did find it curious that I have no close friends
even within the program. In 2002 I had brain surgery for a benign tumor and have had epilepsy
since, although I’ve had no seizures since I quit drinking in 2013. I don’t know if that experience
contributes to my current situation, although my ex-wife did divorce me shortly after that and
suggested I should be involved in a brain injury support group. My experiences before I
developed the tumor leads me to believe that the tumor and surgery are not the sole reasons
for my condition.

Self-assessment is difficult. It is not important to me that I ever get a diagnosis or know for sure
if I am on the spectrum. Considering that possibility and learning more about autism has, I
believe, led me to greater self awareness, and I consider that positive growth. I look forward to
learning more with the help of a good therapist. All in all though, I have to say I am happy now
and look forward to continued and perhaps greater happiness as long as my life continues.

I’m just a few months short of 75, and was raised in an Air Force family in several states and one foreign country, the United Kingdom (England, Scotland Northern Ireland and Wales, [NOT not spelled the same as the aquatic mammal.]

I’ve had two careers, 21 years in communications and aircraft electronics in the Army, and another as an Electromagnetic Compatibility Engineer, in technologies from high security computers to microcomputers, consumer electronics to defibrillators and aerospace, products sold retail to equipment used by teleph0ne companies and network serve providers.

I’ve been a soldier and an engineer sans degree, an amateur photographer and a poet. I’m to a large degree self-educated, never applied the college credits I earned in Army Education Centers, and never took any engineering classes.

I seldom go to movies, don’t own a television or stream consumer entertainment, eschew role playing games and have hundreds of books.  A CD changer has about 150 music disks for when I want music to inform my thinking – and I’m working on better housekeeping.

My bgget accomplishment thus far is that I’ve saved lives, and been part of a war. I’ve made a study of humans; much as Temple Grandin called herself an anthropologist on Mars, I learn about people.

I want people to know about autism is that Everyone, NT or not, we are of all kinds people, and THAT spectrum has an infinite number of directions;  as Shakespeare has Hamlet reply to Horatio, who thinks the old king’s ghost “Passing Strange”,

>>Then as a stranger greet it; there are more things in heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in your philosophies.<<

I want to tell fellow autistics:

Words to think about-

Keep learning. You don’t have to be a genius or live up to an unrealistic stereotype, just keep learning.  SOMETHING can make you feel better – and if you can learn one thing, sooner or later it can be more.  

And be kind.  

How I or other suspected my autism is:
No one suspected; they didn’t know anything about autism, and there's still a lot of ignorance about it.  I thought my memory problem was Alzheimer’s so I consulted a neurologist and spent an afternoon testing.  THEN I knew.

In school, some had thought I was either a rotten kid or an idiot, but they didn't know about autism and they’d never looked to see how much I was reading. 

Resources that benefitted me: Libraries and books.   Adults who thought me an idiot, and that only punishment could reach me and discipline reform me were all wrong.   Only love and joy worked.

I was born at a time when Kanner and Asperger had just published, and was diagnosed with what a neurologist called high functioning autism only at age 67.  Teachers and parents alike had apparently thought me thought me variously retarded or genius, eager to learn or a troublemaker, creative or unimaginative and everything else they could mistake me for but who I am.

I often use dictation software, my typing being a six-digit attempt at expression and my editing benefiting from the  voice decoded better than a keyboard,

After I got the diagnosis, I told my coworkers in the engineering department and they just looked at me, “Well, DUH!”; they knew – and didn’t care.

The diagnosis took a huge load off my mind; the autism I realized I’d grown up with was infinitely better than the dementia I would face with Alzheimer's.  Of course, advancing old age takes its own price.

Since then,

Other things have happened; strokes, blocked arteries and a heart attack; they have their own risks.  But I’m already older than my mother got to before smoking killed her, and I’m quite close to my father’s age when he passed on. I may have given up smoking in time to live longer.

Not knowing of course had had to make things more difficult, but not knowing it’s difficult didn’t make it any harder at the time, so the difficulty wasn’t obvious to me; it was always in how others and treated me.  I’ve since forgiven their error; only a very perceptive adult could have seen past my behavior and believed me when I told them I couldn't remember things.

And, as with many of us, I had problems growing up.   
My history isn’t pretty; Dad was said to have broken my legs when I was 2 years old, and I remember being held underwater in a public swimming pool when I was seraphs three; screaming NO! NO! When he pulled me out at the last moment, telling others I was laughing.

He was subject to fits of anger, and I only now wonder, after having long ago recognized that danger in myself (FIRST BE KIND works), if perhaps he was having meltdowns; I was the reason he had to get married, and that may have made me a target – but I ran away to the Army a week after he slapped me around in front of other family members.

Pride Kills
Is one
Thing piled on
Top of another until
I can't tell death from daylight
And the fact that a broken leg keeps
Me from running to the door is seen as a sign
Of intolerable indifference to a need
Not less than my own

it all comes down in a great pile of unordered rubble bricks
crumbled tumbled bruises ruses wounds
and where to put the bandage if
I had one but she cannot see
And of course I don't say that.

They think there's someone behind the calm
Who can actually get something done.
Maybe I should just say... help?

Or have them see too late
the sunken wreck that was a life
Pride killed.

© Cortland Richmond

Thursday, March 21, 2019

24 from Mason, OH

I have 3 jobs (hate that I have to) I work at the airforce base in Ohio as a cartographer (love the profession, hate the work atmosphere) my 2nd job is at a pizza place as a shift manager and my 3rd job is as a seasonal snow plow driver (which I love. I have a healthy obsession with snow plows 😊)

Some people would be surprised to know that I can play every common instrument except the flute (due to not being able to make the ombasure) however because of pattern recognition I know the finger pattern is the same as the tenor saxophone which I do know how to play. I can tell the make/model of almost any vehicle just by looking at it and not seeing the logos. I can tell you where most state routes, interstates and U.S. routes in Ohio lead to. My goal is to visit all 88 counties of the state and so far I've been to 48.

My biggest accomplishment would be winning 1st place for my undergraduate research at a geography conference back in October. The topic is poverty in Appalachia.

I personally want more love and peace in the world.

I wish that those who were not autistic knew about autism is that just because I'm not looking at you doesn't mean I'm not listening.

I want to tell everyone on the spectrum that their interest are all important no matter what an NT may say.

most helpful resource for me is probably having a psychologist to visit weekly but sadly that is coming to an end as I am now "too old"

Funny story about me: Up until recently, Ohio used an number system which organized counties alphabetically. I took the time to memorize those numbers as I found it interesting because counties is one of my interest. Anyways, my first day on base I go to get in my co-workers car. I ask him, "What part of Butler county are you from?" The puzzled and concerned look on his face was priceless! I had just met this guy and he had not told me where he is from so he probably thought I was a stalker haha. I then explained to him how the 09 on his license plate meant it was from butler county and he then said "wow when they said you were the guy here on the direct hire authority program I didnt believe it, but I sure as hell do now"

. . Signs/symptoms that indicated I was autistic: Interestingly enough, someone I was interested in dating at the time had told me how much I remind her of a younger brother who is on the spectrum. She said the stuff about counties, roads and car identification. For me personally I typed depression, anxiety and anger into Google and somehow found a link to one of those online test. I took about 6 from different sources to be sure and they all scored in a similar range and suggested I seek professional diagnosis. It was a that moment I realized.
How I felt when i first received my diagnosis: I felt that the 2 years I spent trying to get my diagnosis finally paid off. I experienced every emotion possible at one time, it was bitter sweet though because I then realized my family wouldn't be supportive with such a late diagnosis.
I now think it is a good thing. I always used to think I was just weird and that was it. However, with an explanation for many of my "strange" behaviors I feel more comfortable with myself to a degree.

Yes, not having the diagnosis earlier almost ruined my life. I almost didnt get out of grade school due to poor grades. My teachers always told my parents that I'm very smart but my grades just don't show it. So that was taken as me just being lazy. When I was in elementary school I almost got expelled trying to do anything I could to fit in with the other kids. I was very gullible and would basically do anything I was told to (I'm sure you can see how this is a problem). Due to how I was raised it made me into a very quiet and introverted person, so when I tell people I'm on the spectrum they don't believe me because of how quiet I can be sometimes. In 2017 I almost didnt make it out of that year as I had a lot of issues with depression partially caused by how difficult I realized my diagnosis would be and that my family wouldn't support me. Along with some other stuff from my childhood. Since I was raised like I wasn't on the spectrum it did cause a decent amount of trauma, but led me to being able to adapt fairly well to "society norms" most of the time. This is also why I have issues with people not believing me.

As someone with hemophilia (a bleeding disorder) and autism it makes for some truly terrible days sometimes. The amount of pain I can go through that isn't visible to outsiders is ridiculous. Most of my meltdowns tend to happen when I'm in a lot of pain from a bleed (internal bleeding) and I assume that's a sensory thing. What has really helped me get through the bad days is writing my own music, listening to music, watching videos about cars, watching funny videos and looking up information about different counties and maps of Ohio

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Age 33 currently residing in Southampton
​(moved a lot so do not feel like I am from anywhere)

My biggest accomplishments thus far are
• working in a school despite harrowing experiences during own schooling.
• completing a Go Ape adventure even though scared of heights and suffer frequent dizzy spells
• being married for 8 years (in relationship for over 12) and learning how to work and live together and talk through issues together.

Somethings I wish those who are not autistic should know about autism
• that we will always be autistic but that we are still intelligent even when there is something we find difficult.
• That it is really annoying to be told things we already know (Like ‘the old display needs to come down before the new one can go up’. I was seriously told this!)
• That I am not the same as the other person they know who has autism
• That we all process things differently and appreciate it when you just ask what we like/need.

I want to tell other autistics that
• Keep giving yourself opportunities to try new things and be brave.
• find a buddy who you trust and do things together
• don’t beat yourself up if you struggle to do certain things; stop saying things to yourself like ‘I should’ or ‘I must’ and say instead ‘I could’ and ‘I will try’
• Find your music/song and move/dance to it whenever you feel like you just want to be free (or to block out horrid noisy fireworks that go on for far too long!)
If you are newly diagnosed & can’t answer some of these or just don’t want to answer these questions or want to add more to your story, other topics I have participants discuss is their story in regards to being diagnosed.

Signs that showed I was autistic
• I just did a questionnaire on facebook (shared by a friend who also has autism) and then began reading more about autism when I scored high.
• I always felt like I was a bit different and never really fit in anywhere but when I researched further I found out about sensory things, organisational things, social things, food things etc, which all resonated strongly with me, my experiences and my way of thinking about and processing things.
• I do not think anyone else thought I had Autism but a couple of friends said that it did explain a few things! J

How I felt when I was first diagnosed
• It took a couple of years of research before I was confident enough to talk to someone close to me and then a few doctor appointments before I was referred but the wait after that was not too long.
• When she (the psychologist) said ‘I believe you are on the spectrum’ it was a huge relief. To finally be able to say ‘this is why I am the way I am’ and to have someone who recognised and acknowledged my differences as autism and not just ‘weirdness’, ‘fussiness’ or ‘shyness’ as others had in the past was such a huge deal that I simply sat and cried. I had no idea what to say.
• It felt like I had waited my whole life to hear it, even though I had only relatively recently understood it about myself.

Today I feel about my diagnosis’
• At the time I thought ‘great, now everything will change as people will understand’.
• Now I feel like it was just the start of another journey; I am still figuring out what it means to have a diagnosis, what help I may be able to get (or not as they case seems to be), along with the realisation that I have not changed and neither has anyone else.
• Many things are still just as hard.
• People still don’t really understand me.
• But having the diagnosis means I feel justified in asking for support, whereas before I was wary of asking for help with constant thoughts of ‘I am an adult; I should be able to do this’

Resources that helped me:
• my husband is my greatest resource he accompanies me to appointments, speaks to people on my behalf, explains things people do and their motivations, helps me do things when I cannot manage, encourages me to try new things and new foods, and does not judge me in any way.
• He says ‘you are you, and I love you just the way you are.’
• Some of the staff in my workplace are really supportive and understanding and let me know things in advance, allow time outs, give me notes so I do not have to remember too many things and explain how certain events might happen.

I’m 34 and live in England with my husband and 4 children.

My biggest accomplishment thus far: I’d say managing to get a 2:1 in my degree at the age of 31 whilst also being a mum of 3 at the time, 2 of my children were having tough times during this period too due to their autism.

I wish others knew that autism is not always a negative, there are good points too. These are different for every autistic person too just as neurotypical people have different talents. Also I wish they would understand that just because we don’t always reply to something they say verbally it doesn’t mean we are ignorant rude or unappreciative it’s just that there’s so much going on in our brains processing what you said that there’s little space left in there to think up a verbal reply too!

I haven’t had any help from anything formally but something I do find helpful is to read the blogs of other autistic people as it’s reassuring that I’m not alone.

I want others who are autistic to know Is don’t be ashamed! Autism is part of who you are but it isn’t the whole you. Though it’s perhaps a strong aspect of who you are it doesn’t mean that you can’t do something, it doesn’t make you not capable at all, you just might need to make adjustments along the way to your goals to help you reach them.

I am still on a waiting list for assessment I have been on the list for 13 months now with no sign of an appointment yet! If & when I recieve a diagnosis I’m very interested to see how this makes me feel. Either I will feel relieved as it would explain a lot of things that have happened in my life or even though I’m expecting it perhaps it will be a bit of a shock if it becomes official.

Signs that I suspect that I have autism are
• Overwhelming anxiety when leaving the house, especially going somewhere I haven’t been before or don’t go often.
• It’s not a lack of confidence I’d more describe it as a lack of knowing how to be with people or what to say to them. It’s like those skills are just not there or not developed as well as neurotypical peoples.
• I didn’t know why I did it until I recently understood what it was but stimming. I like to tap my fingers/foot in certain patterns or look at the lights on the celling in the kitchen and draw imaginary lines between them to make patterns. Sounds off I know but I’ve done it since being a child.
• If I need to talk to someone e.g. the doctor at a GP appointment or call the electricity company to ask why the bill is going or anything like that, I plan what I need to say over and over in my head.
• I much prefer to spend time alone than with other people. I feel exhausted when I’ve had to be around people for any length of time. I have found it difficult to hold down a job due to this as it’s physically and mentally draining.
• I feel I have tried to mask autism for such a long time now (without really realising) that I’ve lost sight of who I really am.

The things I listed above and the fact that it seems quite clear that most of my Dad’s side of the family (including my own children some of whom are diagnosed) have very strong autistic traits.

I was diagnosed til much later because
I was labeled as shy and told I needed to become more confident. I was quite bright academically and always followed rules and didn’t show any negative behaviour at all. So as I didn’t pose a problem to anyone it was never picked up on. I think the fact I was at school 20+ years ago has a lot to do with it, there wasn’t the understanding around autism that there is today.

Barriers getting a diagnosed as an adult:
I asked the GP to refer me to assessment and he said “I don’t see the point as you’re now an adult and you’re got this far in life OK so I don’t see the value in it” I insisted a bit and he asked another GP and they agreed to make the referral thankfully. As I mentioned I’m still waiting 13 month later for an assessment. I took my daughter aged 13 to the GP to ask for a referral for assessment for her and he told me she didn’t seem to be autistic just shy and maybe a bit anxious after seeing her for 2 minutes! He refused to refer her and said she should see a school councillor instead, so basically did nothing to help. Very frustrating and upsetting.

40, Portland, Oregon

I've started coming to terms with likely Autism at 38 following a string of brain seizures (frequent comorbidity with Autism). I figured that the seizures had a lot to do with maintaining the mask & hiding the Autistic traits & struggles.

I'm a navy veteran, former submarine nuclear reactor operator. Currently I work as a Laser Engineer at Intel, for Electo Scientific Industries, with no college education... Because school is overly frustrating, but I know what I'm doing, and I have a particular talent for understanding things others don't even see. This doesn't mean that I'm not struggling daily just to communicate with people, universally ostracized for being different (& yes, often because I can unintentionally be a tactless a-hole), and frequently change jobs because I eventually hit a motivation brick wall. A situation where, because my motivation to do my job well is genuine & core to my functionally in the job, I find a situation where I suffer a total & complete motivation loss. Often because I could see clearly that the emperor has no clothes & no one will listen, because I'm a little special. I either give up and move on, or hit my head against the brick wall until I'm asked to leave. Since I'm a-social, I tend to have too much of my identity tied up in my work

36, Washington
I believe my biggest accomplishment in life so far is my 7 Beautiful children. For of whom are diagnosed ASD. I believe they have given me so much in life more than I could ever do alone.

Something I wish others knew about autism is that we all have the a lot of the same problems and processing issues no matter how well we handle it on the outside or if we do not.

My children and I are all severe though high functioning it’s really frustrating to hear you don’t look autistic or you don’t act like it. Being treated like we have some strange disease doesn’t feel very good. I wish others understood our breaking are just different.

I haven’t received personal services for myself yet as I was just diagnosed. Though my children have had some access. Though not much I would have to say that occupational therapy has probably been the best for us so far.
Five of my children are ASD. How I realized it is actually kind of a sad story.

I’m honestly not real sure what exactly made me realize I had it for sure other then all that time has to think and somehow just realized we had all this in common because I am like them.

Now that I’m 36 and have finally learned everything I have I know all the behavior and quirks my children have is their ASD.

And that the big reason I understand them on the level I do is more then just being their mother it’s also because I am ASD. I relate to them on a higher level because I am their mother and I am ASD. It took me another year but it lead me to the psychiatrist from the UW. I received my official diagnosis is July. It made me cry but it was also a relief. It explains so many things in my life form the time I was a child til now. I always thought I was just a failure and that I was weird now I know different and I am trying to track my children it’s okay to be who they are.

And as for my kids they are all very different form each other but the same at the same time they do a lot of the same things but hey they are different.

My oldest son and my third son are so much alike it’s almost like watching the same kid twice. They both have pretty classics behaviors of autism from the no eye contact to select mutism and SPD issues. They both like to be secure in right small spaces and in blankets and stuff they both like to surround themselves with their personal stuff to.

My second son is more of the semi robotic talking little professor type. He loves statistics and reading books like Guinness world records books. He loves numbers can do complicated math problems in his head and counted to one million by the time he was five. Theses things also give him comfort he likes puzzles to .He’s also really funny with out trying and doesn’t quite realize how funny he is.

Then we have my daughter she is emotional and very withdrawn at times but has a lot of love. She’s like to touch and have cuddles. Like her brothers she doesn’t have a lot of understanding of the why’s when I can’t do things for her and her frustrations used to come out in head banging and biting and other self harm.

That leaves my youngest son he is very high strung and rough he has to have a lot of rough play. He is also very smart. He can get out of any space even with baby locks . He can open most doors hat 19 months this is pretty ahead. He is like his sister though does not like to talk pretty quiet unless he’s yelling. He also self harms head banging and such especially on me. He bites if he doesn’t have a binky.

Which leads to my oldest daughter who I’m it sure what we are doing with her yet but we also think she may be ASD but her story is closer to nine she was always ahead developmentally and did everything early mike stone wise partly why I believed we missed it with her she didn’t show problems til Middle school and his style we thought it was hormones but she’s almost 17 now. And we know more about autism and women we will hopefully be getting her evaluated soon.

23, North Dakota
Not that it's surprising but I have a really good mastery of vocals and can imitate voices really well within certain ranges. Biggest accomplishment I'd say is having as many friends as I do. Growing up, I was in a small school and didn't get along very well when I started growing up, it seems everyone was changing and I didn't really understand why because I didn't really have any friends, so I didn't really grow up with them in a way. In a way I never really did, I just got older. A little more knowledgeable. I was always an outcast of sorts being in a small town, you get used to being alone but I had cats so that helped. I never really understood autism/ aspergers growing up, nobody could really explain it to me either even though I was diagnosed at age 4. I just noticed after awhile that I had regular appointments with a psychologist and the other kids well. Didn't. So I always felt out of place for a lot of reasons. As an adult I'm very fluid in my behaviours, most people write me off as just weird unless they catch the few moments between my reactions that let's on that much of my behavior is controlled rather than natural. The hardest part so far has really just been connection, just being able to have people around and not be treated differently because of who I am but at the same time realizing it is actually necessary to approach me differently than other people so it's a tough mental struggle. If you know you're on the spectrum and want to help yourself understand not only yourself and others, take a few classes in psychology and sociology as soon as you're able. Taking those classes were immensely helpful even though I had only taken them the last year of high school, I wished I'd taken them all 4 years if I could.

Briahna Joy Mason
23 years old.
Michigan, USA

In my opinion some of my biggest accomplishments are Being married and raising a little family while starting a novel based on my upbringing as an autistic young woman.

I wish NT's would know that Autism is also in women and that it makes her more emotionally sensitive and empathetic rather than crazy like many people think when they see her. It's also important to know the ASD people are still loving and supportive as parents; even when they have challenges.

Resources that I have are a church that gives me free talk therapy and resources for the low-income. I had a therapist when I was younger. I also have my son enrolled in free daycare for poor children and those with disabled parents. My husband is also very supportive of me.

To those who are also autistic I would like to say that no matter how weird I act or how much my society marginalizes me, I have a wonderful life to live and I make it my responsibility to give it my all every day to provide for myself, my family, and to enjoy this only life I have to the best I can. Whatever accomplishments I make; I'll celebrate and not use my contributions to society as a way to apologize for my autism but instead accept it. I also want to say that ASD has motivated me to be the life of a very small party who is also assertive, go-getting, and a woman who looks beyond her self to see a bigger picture.

Signs that showed I was autistic that got me diagnosed: When I was young I would walk on my tip toes and squeeze my hands in a stim. I'd also have tantrums in the first grade. Now as a woman, I occasionally get shy, tongue-tied, or too chipper when I interact.

How did I feel about getting diagnosed? I was four-so I did not feel anything about it until High School when I was trying to social mask for approval. That was a rough patch for me in my life, because my culture says if I can "fake it", I can make it.

Today I feel about my diagnosis is Knowing about it has good and bad to everything. It's good because I'm accomplished and self-aware so I can advocate for myself. But bad when I attempt to advocate possibly ignorant people like peers, social work, or even worse-the police; especially since I'm a parent.

(Me with my older sister, shes disabled and handicapped. I grew up practically raising my sisters)

19, Canada
I'm currently trying to get on disability and find a job
People would be surprised to learn that i have mental disorders that effect me everyday
my biggest accomplishment thus far is
That i graduated high school or i hiked a mountain with my physical issues ( Born flat footed, weak ankles, i walk kind of crooked. Scoliosis, left leg half inch shorter than my right leg making my hips, ribs, shoulders and shoulder blades slightly out of place.)
I want to help change the world with anything i can and to show more kindness.
I want those who are not autistic to know that we're all different and to stop stereotyping us. its because some don't consider me autistic for example i'm not non verbal or don't do things a certain way like their kids do or something of the sort

I wasn't diagnosed until recently. I had speech therapy done as a kid. I was diagnosed about a month ago when a psychologist went to talk to me and did tests on me to see what i do have. To me i've always just been me but i don't know what I'm doing that might be considered wrong

I want those who are also autistic to know: You might be different but that's perfectly ok, it makes each of us unique and theirs nothing wrong with that.

Signs that had people suspect I am autistic: Im not good at anything socially, not good at social cues, talking over others. My dad noticed i shared some similarities with my autistic friend.
When I first received my diagnosis I felt A bit scary since i didn't know what to do with the information but also relieved
Today I feel Like i know a bit more about myself. Just because i have autism doesn't make me any less of a human being and learning to accept that
not having a diagnosis until recently has been difficult because i never got help for it and i don't know what i'm doing that makes people uncomfortable about me. Socially i might say something rude but i don't think i am. My friends help me to remind me to wait before i start talking or they'll let me get it out of my system
Obstacles I have overcome: I was sexually molested as a child at ages 3-4 by my great uncle and im still recovering and got PTSD from that and abusive boyfriends. Was diagnosed with a depressive disorder and anxiety as a young teen, just got diagnosed for ADHD. I felt through one day at a time. I attempted suicide at 14 years old, got through it. In the psych ward at 18 for suicidal ideation and was in there for 14 days. Getting through school even if i didn't even want to get out of bed. Ive gotten through all the hard stages with the help of my best friends and family. Taking my time and just one step at a time

I'm 21 and from Finland.

I can't say I've accomplished anything special during my lifetime.
I wish people would be more understanding, especially in the hospital field. I also have ADHD and OCD, so life can get pretty hard without help. We ND's (Neurodivergent/autistic) are not weird, just quirky.
I wish people would be more honest to each other, and to themselves.

I was diagnosed at 20, autism and ADHD, but I think the first time I googled autism was when I was 15. I remember talking about it to my friend and making lists about me and my dad's behaviour. I'm thankful I realized this. I was so happy to know why I thought I was odd or out of place. I'm not.

I haven't found anything that would help me. However the thing that gives me comfort is having a social network for autists on Facebook. I know I'm not alone.

Please, don't be afraid to get help, whether you are ND (Neurodivergent/autistic) or not! Everyone should have someone to talk to.

I am 37, from Maryland and the Washington, DC area.

My biggest accomplishment was graduating from college 8 months pregnant with a 2 year old and a 4 year old.

I wish NTs understood that their way of doing things and seeing things are not the right way and that those who are different are not wrong. They should know that people that speak differently are not less intelligent than they are, just as they wouldn’t inherently have less intelligence just because they can’t express themselves well in a different language.

I want to tell other autistics: I think we should all gain knowledge of the greater disability movement and learn about intersectional activism. We all need to be together against ableism, not split up into factions.
I am also a parent of two Autistic children out of four.  I believe Autistic voices should be the first voices parents hear after diagnosis. I would like if we got together and put out a manual for the newly diagnosed parents and bring them in quickly as opposed to them hearing from biased professionals and negative parents. I wish we would all treat the new parents gently so they don’t go to the “dark side” because so many of us insult or push back on new parents and push them to be coddled by those negative, abusive parents. That’s not good for the kid, which is supposed to be the goal of educating them.

My biggest help has been psychotherapy and social media, where I have met real life friends without having to deal with all of the “getting to know you” stuff that makes people decide they don’t want to actually know me because I’m different. I have also been helped by my local government with housing, therapies and medical services.

 Signs I showed of having autism: 
People have always commented on my stimming, or the way I speak. I also walked on my toes and didn’t talk to other kids as a child. I lined everything up. However, I didn’t know those childhood stories would end up being traits of being on the autism spectrum.  I also have odd phobias (Adhesive scares me to death), sensory issues, and obsessive interests like only listening to George Gershwin music from elementary school until college…well still do at times.

  I’m technically, “professionally diagnosed” by two mental health professionals. However, I am not “officially” diagnosed with one of those full-day evaluations, because my state’s Medicaid doesn’t cover those evaluations for adults. So for now, my therapist and psychiatrist treat me like I have an official diagnosis. Fortunately, I do have access to OT, speech therapy, etc as an adult with their referrals though. So, basically , I just can’t get SSI Disability payments based on Autism, but I have access to every other treatment and service from the state. I think that needs to change in most states and countries.

When I first received my diagnosis It was weird, because I had no clue or inkling I could be Autistic at all.  I have worked with Autistic children before and the other counselors sometimes mentioned similarities or rapport I had with the clients, but I never thought I could be Autistic myself. So, all I can say at first is that it was a strange feeling and I was curious and it became yet another obsession.

I only found out a year and a half ago about my diagnosis, but I feel now a lot more knowledgeable and I have a lot more urgency to share and collaborate in the greater autism community, including professionals and parents.  It also allowed me to get my two oldest kids evaluated. Actually, my therapist said that I should get my oldest son evaluated and separately and coincidentally, my daughters school thought she should be evaluated as well a few months after my “professional” diagnosis. So, having two kids (which I and many professionals missed for years)on the Spectrum, I have an even greater sense of making sure things are different and better for them and all kids. In those ways, I feel more empowered.

However, I feel sometimes a little sad. The traits that caused me issues all of my life, I didn’t really notice but now I notice it all, including my stimming, the weird things I do, etc. I noticed before, but thought nothing of it really. Now, I know why, I notice when I do things and I also notice others’ reactions to those things, which can be kind of isolating and depressing.  I do feel a little more sad nowadays I think because I am privy to my own shortcomings now.

I think not having the diagnosis early in life might have been helpful, I didn’t have any limitations placed on me, whether actual or imagined. I wasn’t forced into social contact or skills…until elementary school, where I did have social skills pull-outs from class.  However, when I was in middle school, it would have been helpful to know why I was feeling things, having sensory overloads, etc. It really became a problem after I graduated high school and went to college. I was suddenly on my own, and unable to take care of basic things and stay in school. I let my special interests turn into obsessions that led to complete and total isolation from people and basic living expectations like showering, sleeping and even eating.  Not being aware or protective of my sensory environment and executive functioning difficulties led me to have many subsequent problems with jobs and relationships. I would have done so many things differently had I known earlier.

 I think my autism went unnoticed as a child because I spoke, walked and read early. But, my speech was mostly echolalia, but my parents didn’t know there was anything wrong. Also, my Mom’s sibling that she is only 11 month younger than, is also Autistic. So, she grew up side by side with an Autistic person and my traits might not have seemed odd to her. I also suspect my Dad was Autistic as well, so the tow of them together would have never known. However, my much younger brother was actually diagnosed as Autistic at age 8, so I guess I might have hid it well or at that time, I was in high school and having a lot of success, so they may not have thought about it.

Barriers on getting a diagnosis as an adult are evaluations are expensive and not always covered by insurance for those over age 21 in my state of Maryland.  I have to pay at least $700 out of pocket just to get an evaluation that everyone in my life knows is the correct one