My name is Sam Farmer and I'm a 27-year-old white male. I was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin on October 21, 1991 and then I moved to Michigan, which was to help me talk and walk. Then my family and I moved to Spencer County, Indiana, and that is where we pretty much have been since.
I face my challenges each and every single day - what might be easy for you might be hard for me, such as reading a book and remembering what was in the book, or being able to take the words from your head and put them on paper. That might be easy for you but I can’t do it. That is just one of the many things I'm going to share with you in this story of my life, because I want you to see it through my eyes.
I want to say the biggest accomplishment I have made is that I have learned how to walk and talk. I didn’t know how to walk until I was almost 7 years old and I did not talk in full sentences until about 6 ½ years old. The other big accomplishment that I feel that I have made is I've gotten my driver's license, which is huge for someone with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Spectrum parents may never dream of letting their kid, who is now an adult, go and live the life that he wants to live, which is on his own with partial assistance. That's every parent's wish, that their child is independent.
If you have diabetes you have severe problems, but with autism you don't know how bad it is until you are in that person's body. It's like if you had congestive heart failure - I don't know how bad it is - I don't know how you feel. Unless I'm living in that body I can feel for you but I can't feel what you are feeling.
Autism is more common in men or boys, and they are also a lot more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD. With that being said, when you have autism, the best way to describe it is, it's like you are a piece of Flubber. The term I always like to use is my skin just isn't fitting right and it feels like someone unzipped it off my body and took it off. But, they didn’t put it back on the right way and they forgot to zip it back up.
With that being said, all of our senses, like our taste or smell or feel or touch - it's like our senses are on steroids - they are just like out of this world. The last thing I want people to think is that if we have autism it's something to be used as a crutch. You're talking to somebody that does have it, so in my eyes it's like if you were talking to someone that had diabetes or another real medical problem.
I sometimes think that parents use the diagnosis too much to shelter their kid away from society and then when kids grow up they want them to be in society, and then they fail. I want parents and everybody to know it’s okay to be a different type of person because if we were all the same, life would be so boring!
I use a lot of resources in my day-to-day life. I have a person that helps me with my money so I don't get taken advantage of, I utilize public transportation until I can buy myself a car, and I also am a good advocate for myself. I am my own guardian and am independent. I was first diagnosed on the spectrum at age 2 ½.
I hope to be a friend to someone else with autism, more so a guy than a girl, to see if I can break down any of the walls that their parents just can't understand. If you have any ideas let me know. I feel like my mother thought there was something wrong with me because I would have outbursts and wake up crying. I would flap my hands and bang my head every single day.
I tried to never live in denial because the more you live in denial the worse it's going to be for you. Remember - you only have one life so live it to the fullest.