Hello my name is Robert Butler and I am age 56. I was diagnosed by TEACCH at age 40. I'm proud to say I am the first person who got a diagnosis of autism from a (self referral) at TEACCH in Chapel Hill, NC USA University of North Carolina -- yes, where Michael Jordan went to college.
I am legally disabled since 2004. I currently live in a very nice low-income apartment building with 37 residents. I am content with my life although since December of 2017 my health has been poor due to aspirating stomach fluids into my lungs which more of less killed me. I ended up on life-support and in an induced coma. After I awoke I was told I was a miracle since it was a miracle . My family was planning to take me off life-support and even took my "last picture".
You might be surprised I traveled on my own in the United States east of the Mississippi River and in Texas, Arkansas, and Canada from Toronto, Niagara Falls east to Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia..
My biggest accomplishment has to be graduating college with Magna Cum Laude honors in Therapeutic Recreation. While in college I was involved in the Student Senate one year as their Events Board Coordinator.
I don't know about changing the world but I hope I can make a difference in people's lives now a an Autistic Advocate..
What I hope NT's and Autistics to know is that other than to protect our children from self-abuse and the harm to others our autistic children have the right to grow in this world without being told to stop being different or even made to be different (ABA).
Getting help :: Well other than the autistic support group which I started I have never been given help although I had a Personal Assistant who made me feel more comfortable socializing than anybody ever has. Growing up I wish I had speech therapy because I am monotone, have a flat affect, and lack body language.
I have had many silly/awkward events. The first silly event that ever happen to me was at the Boy Scout Halloween Costume Party. I don't know what got into me but for some reason I let loose and without a question was the funniest I have ever been in my entire life. Yes, I won the funniest award that night. .... Awkward? This is probably not my most awkward moment but I always remember it. One day riding my bike a saw a pretty girl walking towards me. When we passed each other I continued looking back at her. Before I knew it I rode right into a telephone pole..
I don't need to be an advocate to hope you all learn to become content (to have peace of mind). Most of my life I was angry and depressed. I even felt I needed to feel this way because it made me feel that what was done to me was wrong and I had the right to feel angry and depressed. Well finally I don't know if I learned this was only harming me or my body got to the point of being so stressed that it just gave up itself..
The only person who thought I was "Special" was my supervisor at my last full-time job.
After my diagnoses? I got into a car accident the next day on my way to work. No one was hurt..As to compare with others after my diagnosis. Heck, I went around telling everyone I am autistic. It was the others who didn't believe me. Initially some things were hard yet my life was hard before my diagnosis and ever since. I have learned to be content. I no longer beat myself up about everything.
Obstacles? First was school and socializing with these strange kids, then my parents divorce, years of sexual abuse as a pre-teen, imprisonment during my teen years, to live as an outcast once I returned home, my attempt at suicide living with a mean step-parent, using alcohol and finally drugs to cope, gaining lots of weight during my college years, being alone here in Raleigh because my cousin who told me to come stay with him and his family until I find a place complete flipped and told me minutes before I traveled from my home state of Maine to North Carolina where he lived. Once here in Raleigh, NC I struggled holding jobs because I always start out slow anywhere I go but once I settle down I actually tend to accomplish much more than the average co-worker. Unfortunately "my first impression" causes my boss and others to carry a negative impression of me and that is despite any good I would go onto do. That has lead me to get a judge to claim me legally disabled. Since then life has continued to be hard yet thank God I am content now.........................Since December of 2017 my health has been very poor yet I give thanks and praise to God that no matter how much people have used me and abused me my true identity has never changed.......I am that strong!