Sunday, April 28, 2019

28, Australia 

I have a degree in Linguistics and Psychology, and a degree in Medical Science (biotechnology). 

The accomplishment which I am most proud of at this point is completing my book on Impelling Parenting, discussing more effective techniques to parent children with extra needs (such as Autism, ADHD, ODD, Anxiety and PDA). 

Something I wish other people knew about Autism is that it’s not a disorder which prevents autistic people from communicating – in fact, our ability to communicate with other Autistics is far from impaired, though our ability to understand neurotypical people can be one of our biggest challenges. Often our ability to “function” is directly related to our levels of anxiety surrounding the tasks we are asked to perform, and so working on mental health can be one of the biggest factors that can improve our ability to function.
Often this anxiety can present as irritableness, or anger, but it’s root cause is often a deep-seated feeling of “something is wrong”.
If Autistic children are encouraged to see their differences as normal for them, and as an interesting challenge to overcome, rather than as a permanent disability, their ability to function and cope within a neurotypical-dominated environment rapidly improves.

In terms of resources that have helped me, I would say engaging with my community and interacting with other Autistics has been helpful in a way that neurotypically-prescribed therapies have not been. But in terms of well-regarded theories, Occupational Therapy tools aren’t just for kids, and incorporating them into life as an Autistic adult can be extremely helpful in quieting overstimulated senses and reducing anxiousness, while ABA (depending on implementation) can be a useful resource to learn “the rules” that neurotypical people expect all people to follow.

Particularly for adults on the spectrum, however, I feel that these techniques could be easily replaced with hard-copy resources that could be referred to, and I have yet to find any appropriate guidebooks that aren’t outdated. I’ve found the advice in a number of self-help books to be useful, and I recommend for any autistic adult struggling with social interaction at work, or at home to read as many self-help books as possible, and identify the common factors between them.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

I am a 41 year old intensive care nurse. I can put in special long IV lines that stop just above your heart called PICC lines. I can do dialysis as well which is when a machine pulls your blood out and cleans it before putting it back due to lack of kidney function. I’m excellent at my job. It’s hard though. I was hand picked to do it. But that’s only half my story. I’m also a professional published tattoo model. I go by @lady_byrds_eyes on Instagram. I attend some of the best tattoo conventions. I was also picked to do this and I’m also very good at it. How? Because a mask is a mask is a mask. If I must look like I’m unaffected by the pain and suffering around me in the intensive care unit or look like I am outstandingly beautiful, it is the same. It’s all just an act and a disconnect from the anxiety I have inside. I think differently. Often confused with being selfish or arrogant when I am not. It’s like I’m a MAC and the rest are PCs. I think of others before myself which isn’t normal. It should be but we live in a very self centered world. I wish those who did not have autism would understand that it’s simply just a processing difference that I was born with and I wouldn’t change it. I don’t wear my heart on my sleeve because if I did no one would understand it or use it to hurt me. I had therapy from age 12 on through high school. I was sent to a special school for kids like me. It helped because I was able to be in a smaller class size and learn what I was interested in at my pace. My pace out paces everyone else. I have ridden horses since I was a child. My mother called my Attila the Hun. It helped with my balance and coordination but I struggle learning new skills. I am both right and left handed. I felt relief when I was tested at 36. I had been tested as a child but girls were oppositional defiant not autistic. At 36 I was bipolar until I was tested. I was in fact autistic with my body stuck in fight or flight. Medication helped and heart surgery to reduce my heart rate. My life hasn’t been easy. I struggled in college and I’ve attended 8 of them. I had no guidance because my mother is on the spectrum. She has no answers to life. I struggle with things like grocery shopping and balancing my checkbook plus paying bills on time. I cannot read the meaning of men. They tell me lots of things like how we are meant to be together. But they often are just lying to me. I live life on my terms and I am a creative kind person. I think that can be lost at time

"I am a whole person in my own self. I am complete and I am valuable because I am different.

24, and as of now I live in Oregon I'm currently unemployed, but plan to go to pastry school in the future. . My favorite animal is the Jellyfish. I've loved them ever since I read about them in a YA book. Basically it talked about one specific Jellyfish. There's no food where it lives, so it has to find another food source by growing plants inside itself. During the day, it stays close to the surface, for photosynthesis, and at night, it swims to the bottom where all the nitrogen is, to fertilize the plants. Just by being itself, the Jellyfish has learned how to keep surviving when all odds are against it As of now, my biggest accomplishment is graduating high school with a regular diploma instead of a modified one. I want to be more comfortable with myself, in body and mind. I want to go shopping for clothes I would pick out for myself. I want to look in the mirror and not hate what I see. I even wouldn't mind dying my hair a different color, just to see if I like it

I want those who are not autistic to know about autism is: Not every person with autism speaks like they're portrayed in the media. In fact, what's shown actually only takes up a small percentage. Mostly, I'm talking about the stereotype that dictates, "All people with autism have no verbal filter." Stuff like that. Put it this way: if they out it in Atypical, it's probably wrong.

resources that have helped are having extra time for tests and homework was definitely a big help.
I was only 9 when I first officially got diagnosed, but people suspected I was on the spectrum since I was 4. Unfortunately I don't know what people thought, other than it was obvious to them. And I also know that my dad wouldn't listen to anyone who said so, and continued to not listen for 5 years, which is why I got diagnosed at 9

. Biggest obstacle is not being able to have a real relationship with my dad. Even though I live with him, more often it feels like we're two roommates who don't really want to be

Saturday, April 20, 2019

I had a mini collaboration with a blog called Aut-Ish

Where we interviewed one another in order to help promote both our blogs.

Here’s me interviewing Aut-Ish. Their blog is about their autistic journey as well as highlighting autism in pop culture.

-What made you start your project?

I started Aut-ish not long after I finished my University final Project “Autistic Ways of Gender” ( I've enjoyed researching about autism and incorporating elements into my photographic works not long after my diagnosis. My final project enabled me to find more autistic connections, and during the project, I thought of starting a blog with my own thoughts and experiences. I also asked a few autistic advocates whilst interviewing them about my interest in making a blog, and maybe in time, a podcast.

-How did you feel when you first received your diagnosis vs now?

I felt relieved when I got my diagnosis. It was at first, anti climatic because I got told via my psychiatrist and I wasn't sure that I was actually diagnosed until I got told via a psychologist I was seeing at the time. It made sense, and having a label helps me to explain to people about my "difficulties". I was unsure of my difficulties in the past as they were usually very vague, labels such as “ Special needs” were used.

-Any particular bright color you like to wear? (My fav color is neon lime green & I use that in accessories. But I dislike orange clothes & accessories) why that/those colors?

Tie Dye stuff makes me happy. Even colourful flannel shirts! It's been my thing for a year or so now. I look like I'm stuck in the 90's! Blue is my favourite colour but these days I like to be colourful. Anything tie dye is in. Blue, to me shows both a sombre and a happy element. That represents me in a nutshell. Blue can be in the dark yet it's also on a sunny day. It's so versatile.

-What makes you decide to wear bright clothes vs black & baggy clothes for the day? (I love black & grey clothes as I like to go unnoticed. Plus black is easy to accessorize other colors with. I never met anyone else like this. Maybe it’s an autism thing?)

Most of the time when I'm not doing anything productive, Baggy clothes is a must. I feel comfortable wearing them and I prefer the baggy look that contrasts my slim build. Black is such a good colour for it. I usually just wear blue, grey or black if I just want to wear clothes and not care what it looks like. I usually wear colourful clothes when I’m going out, when I need to make more of an effort.

-Did Not having the diagnosis for a long time make more things more difficult & how so?

I've been told I've had various problems without further review or evidence. It was always vague. It was only around 2015 where I decided to check things up for myself and find out various diagnoses for myself (one being Autism). It was hard to tell people what I had, and I had to refer them to someone else who supposedly knew.

-What signs or signals did you or others see that had people suspect you were on the spectrum?

Someone close to me said I was a "walking textbook". They were recently diagnosed and I trust their opinion more than most people so I decided to check it out. Before I got diagnosed, I got given an autism questionnaire when I was assessed for my learning difficulties. The results said that it’s possible that I’m autistic, and I used this form and my assessment paperwork as proof for my psychiatrist. Other people usually saw me as “weird”.

-What would you like to come out of your project?

I like to hope that my opinions reach out to more people and we have a better exposure on autistic people. I also want to show that we bloggers/advocates all have different experiences.

-What in your opinion is the advantages & disadvantages in the autism community?

Like any community. The positives are that most of us can understand each other. We all try and help each other out.

Disadvantages is that people forget that all autistics are different, and not all of us are going to get along. I see both NT's and Autistics bickering about what ND (Neurodivergent) is. There's also been discourse on what is autism. I worry about this because it prevents us from fighting bigger causes such as problematic celebrities, family figures and certain charities.

-Whats something you wish neurotypicals (those with not autism others) knew about autism?

That we are not all Rainman/Temple Grandin. Some of us may struggle all our lives, others can find ways to cope. We are all are different. Autism can be difficult or a blessing. It depends on the person. We are all different. Some of us do need labels. It would be nice if NT’s can be more understanding.

i'm 17, born in australia and raised in oklahoma

my biggest acomplishment is probably graduating almost two years (three semesters/year and half) early (from high-school)

I want the general public to know we aren't broken, we dont need or want to pretend to be neurotypical. We are happy how we are and if you take away autism you take away who we are.

I think being able to hear other autistic folks stories, and having an accepting community has been the most helpful. More than any therapy.

I want others who are autistic to know you are not broken. Listen to yourself, learn about yourself. Find a good supportive community. Be yourself.

my diagnosis story is rather interesting in my opinon. My mum is an OT so i've grown up around a lot of autistic folks. Mum always thought I was autistic but I didn't reccive a diagnosis until I sought one out during high-school. My mum informally diagnosed me as autistic in summer of 2016 and I reccived my formal diagnosis in winter of 2017.

Some of my unique traits that I showed were /are Motor delays, struggling with social skill, I stimmed a lot, biting was my main one. I used to bite up my hands a lot.

26 & from Canada.

I think professionally my biggest accomplishment is starting a business, and personally it would be maintaining several close friendships.

What I want others to know who are not autistic is that even if I don't "seem autistic" all the time, there are things I struggle with which are invisible, and I had many difficulties growing up. Also, the idea that autistic people don't have empathy is a myth, I do experience empathy, I just don't always know how to read NTs emotions because I experience emotion a little differently, and I don't always know the proper way to express empathy even if I feel it inside.

I didn't have many special resources growing up but I did appreciate the social skills group that I attended in my teens, mainly because it was the first time I was in a group of other autistics and I didn't feel so out of place. I also appreciated that in high school I was allowed to leave class without asking to walk in the halls because sometimes classrooms were overwhelming. I didn't realize it at the time but in retrospect most kids would get detention for walking out of class like that so I think they let me do it because they knew I was autistic and I wasn't just ditching class.

To kids who are autistic I would say, while it may sound cliché, it gets better. It really does. You may be bullied and ridiculed and even abused and I know, I've been there, it's horrible and it can feel like you'll never escape. I can't promise life will ever be "easy", but when you finish school you can go do your own thing, find your own group of people who share your interests and appreciate you, find an occupation where you enjoy what you do and can use your talents.

To adults who are autistic I would say, it can be tempting sometimes to go to one extreme or the other of either feeling worthless or feeling like autistics are some kind of hyper-evolved humans. I think both these attitudes can be destructive in their own way, ultimately autism is just a different way of thinking and processing information, and every autistic person is unique and perfect in their own way, so don't worry about what society thinks of you, just do what makes you happy.

I was diagnosed when I was 14-15 after my school referred me to a psychiatrist. I always knew I was somehow "different", even when I was 3 in preschool I remember feeling like I couldn't quite interact with the other kids in the way that they did amongst each other. All through elementary school I was bullied and ostracized, I had meltdowns, I struggled understanding instructions in class, and teachers commented on how I never seemed to "fit in". My mum noticed from a young age that I didn't make eye contact, didn't respond to my name, liked repetitive movements, didn't interact much with others, and did echolalia, palilalia and scripting. I feel like if I were growing up today I would be diagnosed much younger, but in the 90s people weren't as aware of the existence of "high functioning" autism, and I generally did well academically in school despite the social and behaviour issues, so my teachers didn't see the need for any intervention. I guess the difference in high school was that it became more obvious how I wasn't developing the same way as my peers. I started struggling academically because the teaching structure changed, and I had trouble with organization, planning and understanding the consequences of my actions

i’m from Charleston, West Virginia, USA and I’m 35 years old.

In my opinion, my biggest accomplishment thus far is being a mother to a son who also has autism and also becoming a psychiatric nurse.

I wished neurotypicals understood that people with autism are just differently wired and we’re not mentally disabled.

I grew up in a small town in the 80s-90s. There really wasn’t any resources. I also wasn’t diagnosed until I was 30.

I would tell others who are on the spectrum to just be yourself and not to worry as much about what other people think.

I wasn’t diagnosed until my son was diagnosed. When he was diagnosed with autism it all made sense to me and everyone who is close to me. I did have a physician tell my parents when I was around 6 years old that I was a highly sensitive child. I had a lot of sensory issues and was extremely socially awkward as a child.

When I received my diagnoses I felt relief and everything finally made sense after all those years wondering why I felt like an alien. I always knew that I was different growing up and the older I got the more autistic I seemed, but in my opinion, that is due to not masking as much as I did when I was a child/teen. I do think not having the diagnoses for so long made things more difficult because my parents really didn’t know what I was experiencing and often times I would get in trouble for things I really couldn’t help, such as stimming when I was supposed to be quiet or setting still. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t change a thing about having autism. I fully embrace it! 😊

Q: what originally made you think you might be autistic? A: Last year I suddenly snapped out of a phase of severe depression that had lasted for 18 months. It made me realise that I suffer from bipolar disorder, and I got in touch with a mental health advocate who helped me with getting a correct assessment for both BP and PTSD. In the past I had repeatedly been told that I am "just a bit depressed". I was prescribed medication which has helped me with feeling calmer so that I am able to think more clearly, as well as being more authentically myself. As a result, friends who are autistic told me that they thought they could see similiar characteristics to the ones that they exhibit in me, and after talking to a number of people as well as joining an autism support group on Facebook, it became clear to me that I am on the autistic spectrum myself. This also made me realise that the vast number of mental health problems that I have been facing are a direct result of not being diagnosed as a child, which would have helped me with understanding my individual sensitivities, accessing support, and developing effective coping mechanisms. I was attending regular appointments with a psychologist after the mental health assessment, and she was very keen on referring me for an ASD assessment as quickly as possible.. Q: why do you think you werent diagnosed as a child? A: Despite being hailed as a child prodigy at the time, I was already exhibiting behavioural issues during primary school, which became considerably worse when I started attending grammar school, and even more so once puberty kicked in. At this point, I was also no longer able to focus on certain subjects, and these factors ultimately led to my expulsion, and to being forced to start an apprenticeship in a job which didn't suit me. At some point, a friend of my parents came up to me, and told me that my parents thought there was "something wrong with my head", and that there were "doctors who could sort these things out." I am still perplexed how anyone could expect a child to react positively to that kind of insensitivity and condescension. Q: What do you do for a living? Do you like it? A: I have had a number of jobs in the past. During the first half of the nineties, I was getting drunk every single day, and I would occasionally complement my benefit payments, which I was receiving due to to a car crash that had caused some serious injuries, through occasional warehouse work which lasted between one and several months at a time. Despite having left school without even passing 'O' levels, I was later employed by a large computer manufacturer, where I quickly worked my way up until I was given the role of Database Marketing Specialist after half a year. But after a few years in this position, I found myself too unwell to carry on working. Since then I have occasionally accepted design jobs, and more recently I have translated documents for Chinese startups that were planning to enter the German market. I grew up bilingual, and will soon be starting work as a professional translator, while I am also looking at possibilities of receiving funding for a degree in translation studies. Q: What’s something someone might be surprised to know about you? A: I already noticed as a child that I enjoy the feeling of tightness around my neck, when I once wore a shirt with a bowtie. Meanwhile I know that it is a form of autistic stimming which keeps me grounded and focussed on my own needs, instead of being distracted and overwhelmed by external cirumstances. But for a long time, I thought it made me a "freak", "crazy" and "uncool", and that I needed to keep my individual preferences hidden. It became even more difficult when I realised that I'm transgender, and I was worried that people would think I'm "not a real trans woman". I have discovered that I can't afford to care about gender stereotypes and other people's opinions, and I have made the decision to wear a shirt with matching tie, bow tie or jabot every single day of my life, at least until I also find the right kind of chokers and neck corsets that suit me. I have never felt comfortable with the gender binary and its restrictive norms, and my other clothes come from both the so-called "women's" and "men's" sections. I always wear make-up, and I also enjoy wearing unusual materials such as PVC, latex, velvet and satin outside the kind of environments that they are usually found in. While many people associate these materials with merely being connected to sexual fetishes, they have functionalities which extend way beyond this kind of simplistic thinking. Transcending these boundaries instead of feeling the need to hide who I am, as well as the overwhelmingly positive reactions that I have been receiving, has helped me significantly with my self-confidence, and with acquiring a positive outlook of the future. Q: How do you want to change the world or yourself? A: I am heavily involved in working towards social justice. Despite the problems that I have faced, I am very aware that there are people who are significantly worse off, and who have to fight for survival and a dignified life every single day. I co-moderate several Facebook groups in which I post on a regular basis, in order to make people aware of these issues, and I have created a large number of memes for these groups. I would like to further my artistic endeavours, in order to make those messages accessible to a wider audience. In order to do so, I will need to focus on my own individual needs first, while still helping others whenever I feel that I am able to do so. Q: What obstacles have you faced in life? How have you gotten through them? A: For a long time I felt the constant need to be around other people, in order to distract myself from my own issues. I was only able to do so by drinking heavily to mask the discomfort that social interactions in a group of people cause me, and after detoxing and finding a job in another town, I turned to smoking hash instead. Except for a few breaks lasting between five and nine months, this was a daily occurrence for me, until last summer when I finally started receiving the right kind of support. Since then I have become considerably more outgoing, and I am no longer scared or ashamed to show my authentic self. I still experience the occasional meltdown, and will have to find solutions in order to avoid situations that act as triggers. But most of the time I have been feeling very positive, and I am convinced that a better life awaits me than the one that I have had to endure in the past.

Hello, my name is Phoenix; I'm 27 years old and I'm from the Seattle area. I am currently in between jobs though I would love to make a living off of my art. Some of my passions, or as they sometimes get called, special interests are psychology, Pokémon, linguistics, RPGs, and game design. I didn't talk right away and got sent to a special ed preschool for a couple of years but since I ended up talking they decided I was fine. I didn't get diagnosed until about one or two years ago. Getting my diagnosis sooner would have helped me succeed in college where I dropped out because of difficulties I didn't know the cause of. My parents pulled me out of elementary school and begun homeschooling me because I didn't fit in and between my undiagnosed Autism and ADHD it led to a lot of educational neglect that I've only been able to get past some of due to a sheer desire for knowledge and stubbornness. Most of my trouble in social situations was blamed on the neglect, emotional abuse, and isolation I endured during my childhood. I now embrace being autistic and allow myself to stim and step out of situations that are over stimulating which helps me avoid burning out and having shutdowns. It's allowing me to learn what I need and what helps. Another thing I plan on doing is learning sign language for times when I just can't get words out. Some days it's easier to function in the way that allistics expect than others. If I had to point to one thing that's helped me the most it would be LARP. Getting to slip into different characters and interact with them has boosted my confidence and allowed me to strengthen my social skills. I'm still "odd" as an autistic but I understand social a bit better now and I've met some amazing and supportive players in the mean time. Including my partner who loves me and wouldn't have me any other way. To all of the other autistics who are out there who feel like a freak and an outsider because of how society teaches us: There are people out there who will love and cherish you, autism and all. To families of autistics: Don't let people dehumanize us. Stand with us as we tell the world what we need. Don't try to fit us in the same mold as everyone else. Let us stim. Let us be us. We don't need a cure, we need people to work with us. People are a beautifully diverse species, let's embrace that.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

32, Iowa, USA

I’m most proud of myself for becoming a Special Olympics Global Messenger. 

I want people who are not autistic to know that we are intelligent and can do pretty much everything non autistic people can do.

Resources that have really helped me are Speech therapy, Special Olympics, and support from my mom.

Some of my special quirks are Not having the best eye contact and occasionally speaking louder even when not shouting.

I feel great about my autism now compared to when I was a kid.

My feelings towards autism really changed in high school. I became far more social with my peers, particularly the girls, than ever before. That helped shape the basis of my personality that I am known for today.

I like the fact my autism makes me different than most other people in ways my friends can truly appreciate. One specific example is how most of my female friends are looking simply for friendship and not for relationships. They appreciate I bring them a breath of fresh air in this regard. In short; I think from a woman's perspective.

I’m 20 and from California 

My biggest accomplishment thus far is graduating high school. 

Speech therapy helped me learn how to talk when I was younger.

I want those who are autistic to know: Don’t give up, you may feel alone but you’re not, the road of autism is strong but the reason we have it because we are the people who could be tough enough to live with it.

My sister teacher thought I wasn’t being social when I was around 4 and she told my mom to check up just to be sure and sure enough, they found out I have autism.

when I was younger, I hated having autism since I felt “retarded” but as time went by, I started to see that as my best part about myself even tho I still struggle with it sometimes nowadays but I’m still very accepting about having it

currently live in Portland Oregon.

I am Happily married for 20 years. Got an MFA in theatre. Started a Shakespeare Company

I wish those who are not autistic knew understood that it's just a different way of being - not necessarily a wrong one. It's like being left-handed.

Resources that benefitted me: Social media, support groups, Sarah Hendrickx videos and books.

I want those who are autistic to know: It's ok to not fit in. There is no such thing as a creative conformist. Don't be afraid to start your own business. NTs make it sound like the worst thing ever, but it's not at all hard for people who enjoy working on their own, and like to organize their day logically.

What me realize I was autistic was that I saw a post from a FB friend about autism and women and recognized myself. It was quite the shock at my age!

I haven't got an official one but don't think I need it. I felt all the feelings (sad, relieved, happy, confused) and still do.
It was just a couple months ago so I'm still processing. I so wish I had known earlier. It's heartbreaking really. I would have been much less confused. I would have avoided or gotten out of toxic situations much earlier. I would have been a better mother, I would not have walked around asking” why why why “in my head for decades.

I saw this quote "Does she reaaaaallllly love animals; love to draw/doodle/create repetitive designs/love anime art; love graphic novels; have difficulty falling asleep at night; have issues with food; have a lot of anxiety around school (even if she’s a brilliant and successful student); have a hard time getting it together in the morning? Then she may be Autistic!"

Nobody had any clue in the 1960s. I think that’s the reason I wasn’t diagnosed as a child

28, from south Texas

In my opinion my biggest accomplishment is Probably getting to present a paper at a grad student conference as an undergrad

I wish that neurotypicals understood about autism is that:
That there’s such a variety of presentation. Someone told me literally yesterday that people can’t be autistic unless they’re a ‘Sheldon’ (Like from Big Bang Theory), and it’s such a harmful, ignorant stereotype.

Resources that worked best for me are:
Online support groups for autistic folks. Being able to talk to others with similar experiences has helped me so much figuring out how to manage things

I want to tell those who are also autistic that:
You’re wonderful just the way you are, you don’t have to pass as allistic to be successful.

My parents figured out I was autistic as a kid, but never told me. I did almost all the same things my (DMAB) cousin did as a kid, and he got diagnosed, but because I’m DFAB, my pediatrician told my parents not to bother getting me officially diagnosed. I didn’t realize until I was an adult, because I thought everything was just because I have anxiety and ADHD. It wasn’t until I started dating someone who had been diagnosed as a kid, and they suggested I might be on the spectrum, that I started to suspect.

When my mom finally told me she’d known since I was a kid, it was such a relief. I’m not just weird! But I was so angry and upset that it was kept from me for so long.

Today I feel great about it. I’m part of a community of amazing people and I wouldn’t trade that for the world.

I didn’t understand why I was so different, I didn’t understand why I react to things the way I do, I didn’t understand why people insisted I did things that made me uncomfortable and didn’t seem to have a point. I thought I was a broken loser because I was ‘gifted’ but couldn’t manage to do things other people insist are easy and basic.

My partner who was diagnosed as a kid pointed it out to me before we were even dating. I started lurking in autism facebook groups and realized that it was something to look into.

My parents and pediatrician agreed I’m autistic, but in the 90s it was really, really hard for DFAB kids or kids with atypical presentation to be diagnosed, so my pediatrician told them to just focus on my ADHD, because I would likely only get diagnosed with one

Finding places that actually diagnose autism in adults is a nightmare, and it’s not covered by insurance so it’s ridiculously expensive. Plus, anyone who meets some arbitrary minimum function level has to fight to convince the doctors that it’s possible they can have autism and that it’s worth a diagnosis

Hi. My name is Amy Nichole Sisk, and I'm from Frankfort, KY inside the United States self dxd PDA Autie

Actually, I'm unemployed at the moment. I succumbed to "burn-out" and abandoned my job of 11 years, and having worked all my life. Actively, appealing for disability
benefits. Once, I win, I will heal, and find the PROPER coping techniques to address my INBORN anxiety, sensory issues, executive function issues, you know, relearn everything with the PROPER CONTEXT, I want to start a business. I have an autotelic and auto-didact personality traits (INTP), love DIY and am very artistic. I'm very sensitive to
smells and they have long been used to ground me. I want to start making candles, atmosphere sprays, and wax melts along with bath and body products such as soap, lotion,
shampoo, lip balms, etc... I want to employ others like me, if I were to be blessed enough to grow larger than myself. I further want to start a new education spaces for the divergent
population on the basis of acceptance and inclusion alowing maximum flexibility and comfort

Random story about myself:
I ran away from home (NOT adovocating for running away), unfortunately I was down to only two available options at that specific point in time. I also suffer from
chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, sacroiliac pain, and a whole host of other symptoms, such as PMDD and Post Tubal ligagtion syndrome, actually undergoing diagnostics to rule
in or out autoimmune/metabolic syndromes. I'm very weak at the moment and was why I quit work. I've been labeled a melodramatic, hypochondriac, also collecting the incorrect
labels of bi-polar and borderline personality disorders. I am highly intelligent but lack the ability to get my brains and my words to effectively communicate, I have
executive function issues, due to ADHD, OCD, and C-PTSD. Feeling attacked by friends and family, feeling like a burden I had become very "idealistic" but felt compelled
to fight so my kids will NOT have to suffer in silence. So I hoped a plane and was on my way to starting all over in a place that I didn't already come pre-labeled.
I was going to heal, start my business, and COME BACK for my kids. I actually made a statement so shockingly loud enough for my SO of 16 years to hear, and FINALLY he saw ME,
for who I am and have always been. Things aren't perfect, we're both growing and learning everyday. I'm so glad I came back.

My bigeest accomplishment so far is "surviving" against the odds.

My mission is to help find and awaken the rest of the "lost generations" to the fact that they are not broken, they are wanted, they are loved, and needed to help
awaken the rest of the world to the attrocities faced by those who have been used and abused.

I wish that neurotypicals could understand the immense struggle and hurdles those that are divergent face, in all aspects of life. They can be just as "context blind"
as us. (And they most often are)

I would just like to say to those who are autistic: never give up trying to reach out, but don't lose yourself trying to please others. Love yourself enough, you can't pour
from an empty cup.

I've always known I was different, by 12 I was suffering from OCD and body dysmorphia using bulimia to cope. I never could quite seem to fit in. Very, very, few friends.
But it wasn't until watching my own kids suffer and be mislabeled that I started googling strange pattern of behaviors that I reckonized were common between myself and them.
There's NO question, were just autistic. 🙂

Asperger's wasn't in the DSM until I was a freshman in highschool. By that time, I was a master public masker, and could hold onto my meltdowns until I got
home, where I let loose and took it out on those around me. Even though it wasn't the most supportive environment, my family was all I had and whom I knew couldn't make
me leave. I trusted them.

Lack of awareness of how diverse the divergent population is, medical professionals need to keep up with their committment to treat by staying current and relevant
in this age of enlightenment.

21 from Delaware 

Well I'm a college student at the moment majoring in Human Services. I will be graduating from Delaware Technical & Community College this May with my Associates degree. I am also currently interning at the Food Bank of Delaware for one of my courses at college. I have to acquire 200 hours of it by the end of the semester. I am also Vice President of the Human Services club and the lead facilitator of a support group called Autism United at my school, while of course it's moderated by the disability support counselor on campus. I also attend meetings every month to a local support group in Bear, DE called Asperger's Alliance. On my spare time, I love hanging out with friends, watching TV, walking around my neighborhood, and listening to music. I like doing what I do, I'd say the best thing to do always while navigating this crazy life is self care as much as possible.

Silly, awkward story? Well last week at my internship, my site manager was trying to tell me something from a distance while I was busy with something in the volunteer room. I couldn't hear exactly what he saying because of the noise I was processing. Idk if it was like a brief auditory hallucination or something but I processed him saying "Cocaine", referencing from a conversation about one of the UFC fighters that kept failing drug tests Jon Jones. Then when my manager came up to me and tried to tell me what he said, he lost his train of thought and I casually replied to him "Cocaine?". He gave me that cockeyed look of shock because I said it out loud with the other volunteers in the room. Thankfully I didn't think anyone noticed and I told my manager later what happened and it was all good. I didn't get in trouble or anything lol. But I was laughing in my head for the rest of the day thinking about his facial expression when I said that, it was priceless. I told my other friends about this but not my school program faculty about it lmao.

I can juggle a basketball on my feet while laying down on my stomach without looking. Also too, I didn't learn how to tie my own shoes until I was 12 and ride a bike without training wheels until I was turning 14. But yet I learned how to drive a car quickly in 2 months. I didn't know how to utilize a lawn mower until I was 15. Still to this day, I do not know how to cook a complete meal using the stove. I'm 21, and I still haven't smoked or drank any sip of alcohol & never been in a relationship . As mild or high functioning as I appear to be, I'm still very dependent in my other aspects of life.

How could I change the world or myself? I haven't given it complete thought but it really doesn't take a whole lot at least for the world perspective. For one, treating people right for whoever they are is a start. Help people when they ask or if it looks like they may need it. Get more involved politically perhaps, staying informed and going out to vote. For me? Perhaps stopping my habit in procrastinating. I know it's often a trait of autism with the attention deficit side, but it can be a learned behavior as well. May need to develop a discipline or perhaps see a cognitive behavioral therapist. I would also like to improve my level of empathy. Since I'm in the field of Human Services, there are always classes and seminars regarding that.

Obstacles? I've dealt with bullying through many years in school. Overcame them with age and great support from friends, family, and teachers. I have also got stricken with Ulcerative Colitis at an early age of 7, lost a lot of blood and it nearly killed me. I was hospitalized for a month and half, needed a blood transfusion and such. Medicine, diet, and family support has helped me out. I was even on remission for several years until I relapsed again last year. Once again meds and such have helped me again. Also too I struggled for many years in holding on to friendships with certain people people. I was oblivious to certain social cues and conventional norms when I was younger. I was or maybe still impulsive lol. I was inpatient and often a little clingy. I was also not courteous/respectful towards some boundaries. Often whenever I was confronted on my actions before I was eventually cut off, I would respond in anger and denial. I would often put blame on them. But after many trial and error experiences in my social life, I realized I had some toxic traits that I needed to work on, since then I learned to give friends space whenever they needed, not get volatile when I'm confronted on something, etc, and since then I haven't had as much drama with people. I learned also that being autistic with some of my traits and just a straight up annoying asshole are two completely separate things haha.

I was diagnosed on the spectrum at age 3. I don't know what form but my parents just remembered them saying just Autism. My diagnosis exactly as its written is Pervasive Developmental Disorder 299.80D. But two forms of Autism with the same ICD code number popped up when I googled it, either Asperger's or PDD-NOS. But its probably safe to say that I just got Autism. Anyway I was already reaching my developmental milestones early until I reached about 2 years old and I hit regression. I became non-verbal briefly, started screaming, and doing destructive behavior like head banging on the walls. I also started being more preoccupied with playing only one toy which was a bouncy ball. My parents couldn't even get me to respond to them. They were convinced that I became deaf. They took me to the children's hospital to get me tested, my hearing was fine it turned out. Other tests was conducted and a child psychiatrist concluded that I had Autism. After that, I received intensive early intervention with speech, occupational therapy, special education, and so on.

Accommodations I recieved in school were a time extension on tests at the testing center, and a scribe for accommodations. I figured I would need some academic support because I did have an IEP throughout my public school career. So I scheduled an appointment with the disabilities support counselor before my classes started. One of my friends suggested I bring my recent IEP reports, and my diagnosis from the hospital. She asked me too what some of my other specific struggles were. I did mention that I had a hard time processing multiple step verbal instruction with lack of structure. Right then and there, she asked if I would like a scribe or a tape recorder. I knew I would be annoyed as hell with using a tape recorder and having to listen to an attire lecture all over again when coming home. It was brought to my attention also that the classes weren't as structured as public schools were, I gave a note taker a shot and it had helped me out tremendously. I had a hard time focusing as lectures progressed with all the information being thrown out, I knew I couldn't keep up. Besides I like my information in writing.

I’m 26 and I’m from Cincinnati, OH

I have several jobs. I am a Direct Care Staff for my brother who also has autism, a delivery contractor, I teach music lessons at a chain music studio, and I own a home music studio. I don’t like working for a chain music studio but I like my other jobs. 

Random fact about myself:
I don’t enjoy the process of taking showers. Thankfully, I still take them every day and keep up with my hygiene! 😂

My biggest accomplishment is deciding that I am going to do what I feel led to do and live in my own self worth.

I want the world to be a place where everyone has equal rights and a voice to promote positive change.

Autism is a part of who we are, but just as being neurotypical isn’t all a person is, autism isn’t all of who we are either. Autism and neurotypicality both manifest themselves in various ways, and all of those ways have strengths that should be celebrated and weaknesses to overcome. We are equal.

I’ve read some books on autism which have been helpful. Having parents that held me to the same standards as everyone else has been the hugest support that has helped me get to where I am. Therapy has also played a huge role in giving me the ability to recognize my own feelings and needs and communicating with others in much healthier ways. Most importantly, I thank God for creating me just the way He decided to and giving me the strength to do what He has called me to do.

I want those who are autistic to know:
Don’t make excuses for yourself because you have autism. Do everything you can to live your life the best way you know how, because no one can accomplish your dreams and goals for you.

My parents always suspected I was on the Spectrum. They said I repeated lots of things, played by myself a lot, had much more creative imaginations than other kids, had a crazy obsession with Barney, and had trouble comprehending a lot of what people told me. They took me to get tested, and half of the doctor panel thought I had autism and the other thought I had a Languaged-Based Learning Disability, and eventually they diagnosed me with the LBLD.

Later on in college, I had to study a psychology topic for my psychology class. Since I had a brother with autism, I figured learning more about autism would help me understand him better. The more information I looked up, the more I was seeing my own behaviors and thoughts, and I connected the dots.

The first reaction I had was sorrow. I was so upset because I believed autism was what was wrong with me. Thankfully, I now know that this is far from the truth!

I feel confident in who I am and I accept myself for that today.

I have mixed feelings about having a late diagonsis. I look back and see that I was pushed the same standards as everyone else and I did things that most people do like get good grades, graduate high school and college, and have the skills necessary to live independently

I’m Cat, I’m 23, and I’m autistic. 

I was diagnosed with PDD-NOS as a toddler, and my parents waited to tell me when I was 13/14 because they weren’t sure how I’d react and they were afraid I would be picked on. Ironically, I did get picked on, and the kids that picked on me were nice to the other autistic kids, but they had no idea I was on the spectrum. My parents finally told me that PDD-NOS was a mild form of autism when I was 17 because I would have to take care of my IEP meetings and other stuff when I turn 18. At first I was ashamed of it, but then I did my research and everything finally fell into place. 

When I heard that Sesame Street was introducing an autistic puppet named Julia back in 2017, I was excited because I used to watch the show as a kid and they knew that representation matters. However, I also had this realization: If my parents had informed me about my autism back then instead of waiting until I was in high school, I would’ve grown up repeatedly asking them why none of my favorite TV or movie characters were autistic. I also noticed that there were very few fictional females on the spectrum, which is why wrote a play called “The Earthling”. The show focuses on an alien named Polly who is raised in a backyard by a human couple. She displays autistic characteristics and struggles to fit in. Eventually, she meets a boy named Daryl, and he helps her interact with others. Along the way, she discovers that she can change for the better without changing herself completely. Audiences will finally see this nearly two-year-old project on Valentine’s Day. 

I wanted to find a creative way to teach autism to kids, so I thought about how I would’ve explained it to my younger self. I would’ve told her that autistic people are like aliens that are trying to interact with humans. If Younger Cat were to watch this show, she would laugh at the jokes, hold her mom’s arm during the dramatic moments, and clap her hands as hard as she could. Most importantly, she would understand Polly's situation and what she herself is going through. Even though Younger Cat never saw an autistic girl like her on TV, there is an autistic girl out there who loves watching Julia on Sesame Street because she's seeing herself on the screen. I want more autistic children to grow up that way. 

I’m Cat, I’m 23, I’m autistic, and I approve this message.

Morgan Allgood

Morgan Allgood
Indianapolis, IN
Age 59

Hi, I’m Morgan Allgood. Although I didn’t receive a diagnosis until 2014, I knew I wasn’t neurotypical my entire life and suspected autism for nearly a decade. Back in the 1960’s, there wasn’t much information about autism.

As a child, my mother was my main advocate in the educational system; she was more aware of my differences than most parents of the day. When I did not blend well with my peers in first grade, the school system wanted to put me in special education, which at the time was for children with intellectual disabilities. She was correct in her assertion that there was nothing wrong with my intellect, but I do learn differently. So, my first and second grade experience was largely being homeschooled by my mother under the guidance of the school psychologist.

My biggest accomplishment was learning to live on my own when my second husband left me for another woman in 2007, a year after I was diagnosed with a neuromuscular condition called adult-onset Friedreich's ataxia, which is totally unrelated to the autism. I had gone from my parents to my first husband and then from that marriage to my second husband. I live in a low-income apartment complex for the elderly and mobility impaired, and I have an aide who helps me. It’s not much, but it’s something, and I do my best to hang on to that.

Honestly, there hasn’t been much accomplishment in my life. I haven’t been able to stay employed for a significant amount of time. I failed at all attempts at college. Both my marriages were adversely affected by my autism as were my parenting skills. I have two adult children, but my daughter has estranged herself and, thus, I have a granddaughter who barely knows me.

It’s hard. I maintain a daily struggle to remember my own self-worth as I deal with the anxiety and depression that goes hand-in-hand with my autism. I have a service dog who helps me with physical tasks, such as walking and picking up things that I drop.

The late diagnosis made things very difficult for me, especially with relationships. My first husband was abusive to me and used my behavior as an excuse. Of course, I was more prone to meltdowns, as a result. I believe this created a vicious cycle. I also didn’t have the life-skills training that I maybe would have gotten had I been diagnosed as a child. But, you never know. I may have made all the same mistakes and had the same problems had there been early intervention.

What advice do I have for other autistic individuals? I would say to go easier on yourselves and try not to be angry at the neurotypicals in your life. Remember that we all need to meet in the middle to understand and cooperate.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

42 Geelong, Victoria, Australia 

Raising my kids is probably my biggest accomplishment thus far 

I want those who are not autistic to know That we don’t lack empathy, we don’t experience life nor process information in the same way they do and that’s actually okay.. we are not something broken to be fixed

My resources are Just people who understand and love me the way I am

I want to tell those who are also autistic: You are not broken

I don’t understand the neurotypical world, I’m incredibly literal, direct and honest.

When I first got diagnosed I felt: Elation, sadness, grief and relief

Not having the diagnosis for a long time made my life more difficult. I’ve had to try and function in the neurotypical work world in order to provide for my kids and work more than my brain can readily cope with which has impacted adversely on my quality of life

Lex Romero

Lex Romero
Essex, UK

I started working for Michelin on Monday, June 5th, 2000. After a short spell out of work, I went to an interview at the height of summer and I had to walk. It was a 40-minute journey. As I was unemployed and it was hot, a suit was out of the question. I turned up in a white t-shirt, jeans, and trainers. I got the job! This part of my life is important because I believe that what I was wearing made me comfortable enough to be myself and it gave me more confidence which resulted in my employment.

Roll on a couple of years… February 2019, I’m still at Michelin, I’m my own boss, to an extent... I have staff, and I have nearly twenty years of experience. At 41 years old, my boss has just offered to pay for me to do a degree, 37k of tuition, to keep me at the company... I’m touched, flattered, and I’m absolutely going to do it...

I wish that people knew that ASD is not a black or white scenario... I was speaking to my mum earlier and I told her what I imagine the autism spectrum to be, as opposed to the rainbow or slide rule... to me, right… I need you to imagine now… 3D imagery if you can. You’re in an empty field, you look up, and you are covered by a see-through dome, this dome is ALL of the spectrum, you are influenced by a patch of colour on that dome… the size, shape, and position of that patch is completely unique to you, yet it IS you on the spectrum as a dot or half the dome coloured in. You see, we are all so different, in our own ways, some of us overlap, some we miss by huge distances, but we are all owners of a piece of that dome. Neurotypicals don’t have this familial connection, they all want to be unique yet it turns out they’re all just sheep.

In the last few years, I have learned about and accepted my autism. I always knew I was weird and ‘different,’ but only after my nephew was diagnosed did my mum, who is an NLP practitioner and neuropsychologist, notice the text she was reading on my sister's behalf actually related to not only my nephew, but I, my mum, and my sister as well. And as it turns out, my mum’s brother and my nan’s brother are also autistic. It seems we have a prolific gene in our family. A good one though, let me just add that.

I would like to advise… be fucking proud of your ASD, we are unique, we are next-gen evolution. It might take nature a few more generations to get it right but we are the future. I truly believe that.

My mum said as a child, I was taken to the doctors with suspected depression at 2 years old, because I would run around like a nutter for a while, and then at other times, regress into myself on the sofa, nonverbal. Roll on a few years to school... I was naughty, disruptive, bored. The only two subjects I enjoyed were French and Science, but because I liked them and got excited, I overacted and got sent out of class. I was lucky that even after truancy for most of my last two years at school, I still passed all my exams and finished in the top 5% of the school. If only I’d studied, right? The point is, I didn’t need to, I wasn’t being taught anything I didn’t know. In fact, on several occasions, I taught my teachers a few things they weren’t aware of. What I’m saying is, no one suspected anything while I was a child, maybe ADHD, but not autism. When I was at school autism meant rocking back and forth, nonverbal and banging your head on walls. People knew I was different. It just wasn’t attributed to anything other than having young parents with a naughty child.

Now I know I am autistic, I feel a sense of calm and belonging. My whole busy, random, naughty, noisy, confusing life actually makes sense now. I know why I need my own space and silence. I know why I shutdown from time to time. I know why I don’t like being touched by anyone, or why I don’t like loud noises or surprises, am socially anxious and obsessive over routines and discipline and crap at speaking out loud... it all makes sense now!!

Autistic people are some of the most gifted, influential, brightest minds on this planet. We are the future of humanity, the gene pool that won’t war or fight. Instead, we’ll strive for excellence and unity. We are the gene pool that will take this race off of this planet and into the stars because it won’t be about money, power or resources, it’ll be about humanity and preservation and life. I am in, feet first, neck deep, and I love it. Stay safe, happy and loving stimmers!

Sunday, April 7, 2019

My name is Roger.
I'm 43 and I'm from Texas.

I'm not sure what I would consider my biggest accomplishment. It's not something that I give much thought. I have never done anything that most anyone else can't do, although many people have chosen not to do the things that I've done. I'm a father to a fantastic 5 month old boy. Most anyone can procreate but I'n happy that I made the decision to do so.

I was in the Army for a time, even though ASD is typically a disqualification. I work in federal law enforcement, but I'm still in the same position after 15 years. I graduated with the top academics from the local police academy but I could not pass a job interview to become a policeman. In hindsight that might be a good thing.

I wish that a NT person would know that ASD is a spectrum. That everyone having ASD is completely unique but with similar shared traits. I still have quite a few people who don't believe that I am on the spectrum, even after being professionally diagnosed. And I have a few that have known me for a very long time and could easily see how it all made sense after the diagnosis.

I haven't used any resources, other than a few blogs, although I have been considering trying some. I believe I had speech therapy as a small child, I remember them saying that my words couldn't keep up with my mind, or something to that effect. That my mind worked to fast and my speech could not keep up.

I suppose I would tell others on the spectrum to be excited about being the next step in the evolutionary chain. So many people want to be unique, to be different from the herd. as a person on the spectrum you don't have a choice. You will be unique, you won't be assimilated into the masses. And that's a good thing. Who wants to be a clone, a copy of everyone else. I doubt anyone on the spectrum is keeping up with the kardashians. Because there's so much more to life.

My diagnosis originally came about when I was told that my cousin's oldest child was possibly autistic. Almost from the time this child started walking comments were made as to how similar we were. Our personalities are completely different but our mannerisms, our interests, even our walk (we both walk on our toes) are the same in so many ways. I found the notion that something was wrong with my "clone" absurd. I began my google research to disprove the notion and what I ended up discovering was that, more and more, the symptoms described me. He was diagnosed as ASD and so was I, probably when I was around 39 years old. I was officially diagnosed in the hope that I could qualify as a mentally disabled person and be hired under the ADA but no luck so far.

The diagnosis made sense and explained so much. For instance I have always, always hated getting a haircut. It's one of the worst things that I have to endure. All the touching and the small talk and it's just like being tortured. I had long hair throughout my teen years not because it was in style, which it was, but because I absolutely loathe getting a haircut. My cousin cut hair and that was great and then when she quit I managed to find a lady who just talked the entire time and that was ok but no luck with anyone lately. I have never complained or even looked when they're done as I just want to leave. And all that made sense after the diagnosis.

I imagine had I been diagnosed as a child my life would have been quite different. I graduated near the bottom of my class and the only reason I graduated at all was that my mom wanted me to. Not because it was difficult but I just didn't have the motivation to do anything. I was in alternative school, spent a significant amount of time in various detentions but most of my teachers enjoyed having me in their class and would describe me as one of their brightest students who just didn't do most of the work assigned to him.
My mother had a horrible traumatic life and from that she's a little mentally undeveloped. So she was never a factor in my education.

I don't think they diagnosed anyone during my childhood as autistic. It just wasn't heard of in the 80's. I remember going to several doctors to determine why I walk on my toes but they never could explain it. It's made it easy to develop calf muscles, which is a hard muscle to develop, so it's not necessarily a bad thing. I was teased, taunted and punished for it as a child. I'm 6 foot 235 pounds and have been working in a correctional environment for 17 years so I'm not teased about many things these days. I was bullied as a child but moved to a new town when I was around 14. I used my size and intelligence to thwart most bullies as a teen so it wasn't a problem in high school. With my long hair and Charles Manson t shirts most people were intimidated by me, which suited my purposes.

The barriers I see now are there are few services for adults on the spectrum. Any internet search for ASD counselor, therapist, etc comes back with child services. I have yet to find any counselor or therapist or any type of resource directed towards an autistic adult in my area.