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.

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