Thursday, November 28, 2019

Editing Policy & Interview Tips

About the Editor

Danielle Ryer, editor of UVoA


I edit your story for conciseness and professionality. I work on sentence and grammatical structure, paragraph formatting, and spelling. Your message will not be changed: I am not editing any of your authenticity, by no means. Your voice is your voice - we won't censor something we disagree with.

This site is a work in progress as far as editing goes, and new profiles are added frequently, and are sometimes posted sooner than I can keep up with, so it may be several months before I have a chance to edit your article.

I f you are interested in professional editing services, feel free to reach out.


Tips for completing the interview:


1) Don't spoil the mystery! Just give us a glimpse of who you are, and prioritize the most important things people should know about you, your conditions, and your life.
2) Keep in mind you're writing for an audience that might have a short attention span, and for accessibility reasons, it should be limited to about 875 words, but can be shorter (quality over quantity!). If it's longer than that, consider what you most want to say, summarize it, or provide links to other pages with further information about you or things you've created.
3) You can skip questions, especially if there's nothing you want to or can say about a topic.
4) Please be conscious of ambiguous grammar/spelling, so our editors don't get confused.





My coaching practice:


Comedy & More About Me

-Danielle

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Monday, November 25, 2019

Anonymous 6

Anonymous

Age 34
Anaheim, CA, US


I am a business owner that helps people master themselves and their energy so that they can live the lives they want, and leave the world after creating a positive impact. I absolutely adore what I do!

People would be surprised to know that I can’t ride a bike or perform “normal” things people do, but I am also able to experience the vibrations. Vibrations of sound, to see other dimensions, realms, and much more. 😉

In my opinion, the biggest accomplishment thus far is being asked to consult on two biomed research projects, as well as on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) 4, 5, and upcoming 6.

Every day I try to change myself into a less rigid, more loving version of myself. Whether or not I succeed every day is arguable, but I try. Because of my energy, I do lots of energy healing daily. With hate and ignorance as the global norm, I argue that we have a pollution of “bad vibes” in this world…that’s a gentle understatement.

Working with mothers, I am helping spiritually gifted children retain their natural abilities and help these little healers come into their own, as well as the adults who pay me to work with them.

My biomed projects are a huge love of mine, but so is the outreach I do for non-substance addicts in nearly 100 centers around the globe. I teach local classes for victims of domestic violence to get themselves and their lives back. I also volunteer at church charities with my grandfather; though I’m not religious, I enjoy helping the church help others, as long as there’s no bible-thumping involved. I enjoy assisting at food and clothes drives, delivering food for homebound elders, and help to heal at centers for elders, and vets.

I come from a family with two serial killers in it so I have always felt this strange responsibility to balance all the bad karma in the bloodline by volunteering like a fiend.

I wish neurotypicals knew that most of your heroes are surely autistic… Jesus Christ. Leonardo DaVinci. Marie Curie. Nikola Tesla. There’s no way in hell any of The Philosophers were neurotypical. A vast majority of the greatest minds of any time period have been autistic. We’re normally GENIUS smart, can sing very well, and are excellent leaders because we don’t care much about “normal.”

Occupational therapy helped me a ton, mostly because the team I had really knew their stuff. Thy taught me the value of the Ego to the NT and the ways we can accidentally bruise it, which has made socializing much easier. I was  also trained in various conversation styles and can mimic most of them well.

My advice to anyone else on the spectrum? Do you. Yeah, some people aren’t gonna like it. That’s fine, they’re not your people. Your people will love you just as you are, pinkie promise!

Funny story about me… oh my, there’s many. In my house, we’re Cuban, so we don’t really do the Santa thing like traditional Americans. Meaning it wasn’t until first grade when we started “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” that my world shattered.

Wait. You’re telling me some stranger danger old dude WATCHES ME SLEEP every night and he stalks me while I’m awake, he sees that too, AND THEN HE BREAKS INTO THE HOUSE!?!?!?!? My six-year-old self began bawling in fear and couldn’t speak. I was sent to sit with the principal, Mrs. H., to be consoled. I adore Mrs. H. to this day, she’s such a kind woman! Years later, they both told me they never thought of Santa as creepy until the day I had a meltdown about it, which still cracks them up.

Years later, my teacher told me she had the hardest time ever trying not to laugh.

The next year we had catechism class, so we had to learn to treat the Eucharist correctly. In the Catholic mythos I was raised with, once an incantation is said by the priest, the bread and wine become the ACTUAL body and blood of Jesus. Well…there was more crying that cracked the adults up. Although I didn’t know what cannibalism was yet, I refused to eat a person, ESPECIALLY JESUS. Eventually I got an honorary pass because they never could get me to cave on the cannibalism.

Signs that indicated that I was on the spectrum? Now that I’m older I’m like “Well, being so literal about both Christmas and catechism was kind of a biggie…” Also, I was a little adult as a child. By age two I was reading, by age four I was teaching myself Latin and English, never wanted to play with kids, as I was just happy in either intellectual conversation or a book. Very spiritually connected, I had more unseen friends than human ones. I connected with almost no one, and I hated talking. Still do…

My family was just like, “You were easy, we basically just had to make sure to have books and food available to you, and you were content.” I went deaf for almost a year and they didn’t notice because of how little I socialized to begin with! LOL.

When I first received my diagnosis, it felt like taking off a push-up bra after a long stint in it. SUCH A RELIEF. Finally free to be me, let my wounds heal, finally blossom!

Today I feel: Not much different, but I do have some guilt. I used to do walks to TACA trying to help but now I’m like, “WTF was I thinking!?” Seriously, take anything from their campaigns and replace it with “Judaism” or “Blackism” and see how messed up it sounds! "Talk About Curing Judaism" ummm....I think someone did, I believe his name was Adolf Hitler. "Talk about Curing Blackism" Well hello, Jim Crowe! Did you bring the rope? I feel some guilt now about the efforts I put towards helping these organizations with their research or “cures.”

Otherwise? I feel braless.

I didn’t realize I was on the spectrum until much later in life, and I am actually a bit glad because I had to just learn how to deal which gave me a thicker skin. It also made me much more resourceful, and a good source for information for those trying to understand autism.

Obstacles I have overcome: My mental and physical health has been terrible for a good portion of my life, thanks to intense abuse, suicidality, my relationships, and being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease at age 25. The only thing that’s helped me actually get better is all the psych, energy, biohacking knowledge I now teach.

Anonymous 7





Anonymous
47
Foley, Alabama, US
                                                                                                                                       
I am originally from Colorado. I work as a kennel technician for a living. I love working with animals because they love you unconditionally, and don’t mind the fact I have autism. I have been with the same company for 12 years. I wish that my job was full time and offered me more perks than it does, though.

My biggest accomplishment so far is getting over 100 feral cats spayed and neutered on my limited income of $12.50 an hour, especially considering it costs between $75 and $100 per cat to be fixed and receive a rabies shot.

I would like to find a cure for autism. I believe that this would help me fit in with the world, have friends, and a good paying job with medical benefits. I know I can't find a cure for autism so I would like to educate others about what autism spectrum disorder is. I wish that neurotypicals knew that those of autism don't like change. We like to keep our routine the same and when something in our routine deviates we are prone to a meltdown. I would also like neurotypicals to respect our personal space and not be so touchy feely. I personally don't like people to touch me. I want to tell people on the spectrum to just keep putting one foot in front of the other because we never know what is waiting for us around the next corner. We are Always Unique Totally Intelligent Sometimes Mysterious. The letters in capital spell out AUTISM.

An awkward story that I would like to share is one year at Thanksgiving my husband and I were invited to a holiday gathering. I made a pumpkin pie from scratch, but he ate else's, and nobody ate mine! I took my pie home with me and was so mad at him for not eating my pie I threw it all over him in my 1991 Camaro. It took my best friend and I two weeks to clean all of the pie from the car. Every year my husband and I make Camaro pumpkin pie.
I believe not being diagnosed as a child made things more difficult for me, as I had weaknesses but did not have services to compensate for them. There were several signs that suggested I was on the autism spectrum. For one, I rock back and forth, flap my hands, and hum if I am over stimulated. When I get mad I have a tendency to hit my head or chest. I don't like people in my personal space or touching me. I am prone to meltdowns if my daily routine gets thrown off. I had very poor fine motor skills as a child. I also tend to speak thru my nose and mumble my words. I have poor balance. I believe I would have benefited from physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy. Once I was finally diagnosed on the autism spectrum disorder in my twenties, I was so relieved. I knew that as a child I was different than other kids, and when I was diagnosed the differences all made sense. Once I had a professional diagnosis, my parents and husband quit saying I was acting like a spoiled brat.

I have had numerous challenges in my life that I believe were due to my disability. For instance, I wanted to be a special education teacher and I passed the place test but didn't pass my student teaching. The first time I questioned a teacher’s authority and they took me out. The second time I didn't interact with the staff and lost control of a first-grade class when teaching them about dinosaurs. I love to hike but due to my lack of balance and poor coordination I must hike with a partner. The problem with finding a partner to hike with is I have very few friends. I am brutally honest, and a lot of people find me to abrupt.

Someone might be surprised to know that I am 47 years old and I still suck my finger and sleep with stuffed animals and my baby blanket.

Staysa

Staysa
Moscow, Russia

I prefer to call myself Saturn Febralski. Very few people know my real name. I was born in year 2002, on Tuesday while it was raining. This is a weather anomaly.

In childhood, I didn’t have a lot of friends. I guess people could tell I was different. Plus, I never introduced myself as a boy or a girl – I used to tell people that there’s a big colony of ants in my head, with different roles and such, and therefore, I really can’t decide what gender I am. I had a big imaginary world and I still do. A lot changed in it but it’s still there. I got diagnosed at the age of eight. The first question the therapist asked me was, “Why don’t you like this world?” and I answered, “because it’s boring.”

My mom immediately told me about my diagnosis as she walked out of the cabinet. On the next few weeks she did a ton of research about autism, and I’m very grateful for this. I was taking medicine and getting therapy, and because of that, I became “normal-looking.” There is no such official diagnosis as Asperger’s in Russia, and I couldn’t get official status of disabled person. As such, I had to adapt. People still didn’t like me, but soon, I began to understand why. I was always overdramatic, without really meaning to be, and this shocks people. If my mom was yelling at me and I suddenly started crying and blaming myself, she stopped. This became a bad habit which I sometimes struggle to control.

I barely remember being thirteen, things got much worse at that time. Teens were cruel and I was a scapegoat. I can’t really blame them for it. “Autist” for them was rather a curse word than a medical term. I wasn’t a nice person, either, with my lack of compassion. There was a lot of attempts to find myself in life. I was a musician, an artist, a writer, and now, I’m a biology student in university. People who become close to me say I’m an awesome person, and I think that it’s my biggest accomplishment so far.

My dream for the last few years was to have a voice. I want people to hear me. I want them to become engaged by my ideas and my imaginary world. I know that sounds egotistical. But, after considering all everything bad people say about Greta Thunberg, I became quite pessimistic.

I really wish that people could stop separating themselves into different groups. Cultural ones, political ones or even ones defined by their gender. This may unite people within this group but makes them distant from anyone else. It makes me sick to hear people bashing each other. Russians blaming Americans, men hating women, Christians separating from atheists… I understand that unity is not possible, but I keep dreaming about it. I escape in my imaginary utopia world because of this.

Jayne Dragon


Jayne Dragon

What made me originally suspect that I was on the spectrum was when I started looking at aspects of myself. A few of those things include how I relate to dyscalculia, PDA and genderfluidity.

I wasn’t diagnosed when I was younger because I was a quiet, shy girl and women and girls still struggle to obtain a diagnosis now. The teachers in the 1980s didn’t know to look for it in girls. I didn’t face any barriers in getting a diagnosis as an adult, it’s just taking a while. I feel frustration at how diagnosis still centers on childhood. I still have one final appointment.

I want to be warm. I can't think when I'm cold. I have a lot of problems with winter and being unemployed. I feel that we all deserve homes not just a place you have to live We can so much better if we are released from small burdens like washing up or cleaning. I would love a home, I am currently living in a flat. I want a safe place that can't be taken away and can be non-triggering.

If anyone is curious to know any adult autistics that want to be involved in any testing, I may be interested in finding out more. Feel free to contact me through Facebook.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Danielle Ryer


Danielle Ryer
New Jersey, USA


My name is Danielle – you may know me as the editor of UVoA.

I’ve had a lot of ups and downs in my life, but everything I’ve experienced has taught me to exercise caution, patience, understanding and love. That it’s okay to go for what you want, so long as you’re not doing anything unethical, and that you still consider others along the way. As you move forward, life’s about lifting others up with you. I’ve gone through a lot of difficult times, but all in all it’s taught me to laugh and be mindful.

I believe in being authentically true in what you think and feel. When you can help someone, do it, while still remembering that you and your continued existence is your first, but not only priority.

My philosophy in life is inspired by the Tao Te Ching. One of my autistic special interests is in Asian culture. I’ve been to Japan in 2018, and China in 2019, for study abroad (see picture above!).

I went to undergraduate school at Rowan University, where I earned two BA Degrees: Psychology, and a second in Philosophy & Religion in 2017. I am now a part-time Master of Social Work student at Rutgers University, and I graduate May 2021.

I have many dreams about where my life may go. While I am pursuing the path of becoming a social worker, particularly an outpatient therapist/coach, I’m also dipping into the path of entertainment. I’d love to someday have a television show where I satirize the mental health field. I also enjoy being a radio personality and talking about mental health where I can. As well, I’m hoping to publish a book in 2021 or 2022. I'll have a lot more to say then, and I hope you'll follow my work and consider reading once it's published. (My FB Pages are here: [comedy, mental health], [advocacy & coaching].)

I like staying busy. I have many hats right now: I’m the editor here at Unashamed Voices of Autism, The Aspergian, a freelance editor (if you want to know more, ask), and I am also a writer. I am a life coach for individuals on the autism spectrum and their families, I also do motivational speaking on this topic and others (about my service, and my Facebook). I’m a counselor at Crisis Text Line (read my story here). I’m a former radio DJ (archive), podcaster, stand-up comedian. I’m also training in karate! Psst, free comedy about me being autistic!


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Monday, November 4, 2019

Anonymous 5



Anonymous
Age 30
Georgia, US


I am a graduate student.

I've made several attempts to figure out where I fit in this world that would also allow me to support myself and use my capabilities to my advantage. I feel much closer to that goal than ever. I am learning Project Management in IT and more advanced business practices. I enjoy it.

Something someone would be surprised to know about me is that I also like watching horror game play-throughs, but I don't like horror movies.

My biggest accomplishment thus far is making it as far as I have with my optimism intact. It hasn't been easy to hold on to.

I'm trying to incorporate more kindness into my life every day through my interactions with others. I want to be kind to others, even if that kindness isn't returned. I'm trying to get better at showing that same kindness to myself and trying to accept myself as I am right here and now, and feeling like I'm enough.

Something I wish neurotypicals knew about autism is that sometimes it's a subtle thing. The pressure to mask and keep up appearances is exhausting day in and day out. I'm doing my best.

Something I want to tell fellow autistics: It's okay to move at the pace that's best for you. It may not match what society says is "correct," but even neurotypical people might struggle with this. It's okay to take breaks and pace yourself.

I've only recently had access to a few resources, such as counseling and academic support for my classes. One of my biggest advocacy milestones has been talking to professors to let them know what's going on. If I had been diagnosed sooner then I may have had access to resources; especially counseling and classes. Online classes have been great for me, as I can do them at my own pace as long as I get it done by the deadline.

I noticed that I wasn't interested in a lot of the same things as my peers and had a lot of trouble recognizing and regulating emotions. I was bullied in elementary school and had a rough home life so I retreated into my imagination and played a lot of video games and read a lot of books.

Once I got to college, I started going to counseling in order to process a lot of the pain I was carrying around. I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. That diagnosis just felt...off. Like, it was close, but it didn't answer all of the questions I had. I had nothing else to go on, so I just went with it.

Looking at myself, I noticed a few different signs that I was on the spectrum, such as my fidgeting, stimming, masking and mimicking emotions/personality traits. I had immense relief when I was first diagnosed; like a question I'd had my entire life had finally been answered. Today, I feel like I don't have to mask as often and can be more authentically myself. Accepting it is hard sometimes, especially when I have to accept that there are some things that are triggering to me, and that would be unhealthy for me.

In school, I took theatre and chorus, and this helped me along the way.

After I graduated, I began working at a martial arts school with students and coworkers that were on the spectrum or had other neuro-divergences and I began to listen and relate to their stories and recognized their behavior patterns in myself that I tried my best to mask ever since I was a child. I began to research and self-diagnosed myself with ASD (Asperger Syndrome) and found out that women on the spectrum often get misdiagnosed and overlooked. I got tested by a psychologist, and I felt relieved. So deeply relieved. I also felt like I had permission to stand up for myself and advocate for what I need, rather than settling into what society says I'm "supposed" to do. I'm wired differently, but that does not make me invalid or lesser. To get through before I had the diagnosis, I just had to take it one second, one minute, one hour, one day at a time. I still use that now.

Anonymous 8



Anonymous
31
Cornwall, UK


I’m originally from Southeast London. I'm a full-time carer to one of my disabled children and I love it. I think most people would be surprised to know that I'm autistic and ADHD. My children are one of my biggest accomplishments, in addition to the fact that I got kicked out at 15, I didn’t end up in prison. I consider that an accomplishment too.

I don't want to change me it's the world who needs to change to be more accepting and less judgmental. I wish that socially typical people understood that autism is most likely genetic. I'm not selfish or weird, and that not everyone has autism a little bit. I want other autistics to know that it doesn't matter what age you are diagnosed. I was 31 so this year. Don't ever think it's too late, it’s not! Just do it, and don’t be afraid!
Funny story about me: When I first started dating my husband at 17 years old I got that drunk the night before and I wet the bed. I flipped the mattress and forgot all about it and invited my now husband over for dinner to my hostel. I told him to sit down he asked, “Ooooh, why is the bed wet?” I quickly said, “Oooh, a cat must have snuck in through my window and wee'd on the bed!” Not sure if he believed me but he said “okay…” I told him what happened a few years later he laughed and said: "I thought that was it but didn't want to say anything to you...”

When I was first diagnosed, I felt relief, joy, and anger all at the same time. I should of been helped by my parents and my school when I was growing up school not chucked out and not just dismissed by others as weird and rude.

I did not get the support I needed in school. I was put in the bottom groups for everything got kicked out at 15-16, due to supposedly “being a naughty awful child who didn't want to listen,” and I got no help from social services. I was placed in a council bed and breakfast, although it is illegal to place anyone under 18 in these. I did not know this at the time, and I couldn't afford rent as I did not have a proper job. I was made homeless again. I ended up in a national offender’s hostel, though I wasn’t an offender and had not been to jail. I was just left to rot, basically. My mental health is a bit more messed up thanks to all that and those horrid places I lived, and the people I met.

I have overcome a lot of battles in my life. I had learned to cook and clean at 15 years old. I managed to feed myself with no money to pay rent or anything! I experienced a lot of horrid things, like being attacked, but I pulled through because I never wanted to be stuck in that life.


I attended Prince's Trust Course and met my now-husband at age 17 (I'm 31). We have five kids, all of whom have special needs, but we all cope somehow. My husband is supportive, and we get by together. I can say that I'm happy although I am mentally a mess most days.

Anrisa Ryn

Anrisa Ryn
32
Cleveland, Ohio, US

I will be moving to Nashville, Tennessee soon. I work at tech support for Spectrum Internet. It's alright, I make some decent money now.

Something someone might be surprised to know about me is: I’m particularly smart even if I don’t seem that way because I’m so forgetful. I pick up on objective information very quickly! Like I remember my ex's home address and the college major of one of my former high school classmates.

My biggest accomplishment thus far is: Admitting that I might actually be good at writing! I self-published two novels and currently writing a third about an autistic woman. You can see my books here!

How I want to change the world? Simple. I want to have more people create found families. I want it to be normal to have a house with people you aren’t romantically involved with that aren’t blood-related. I want us to all live within loving communities!

I wish more people were aware of autism. People don't realize that they already know autistic people, through tropes and real life – for example, the eccentric professor – but also that no two people are the same.



  My name is Elizabeth.  I’m 37 years old, and live in Rockville, Maryland (just outside Washington, D.C.).  I’m a paralegal at a small law firm.  I like the work because it’s mostly solitary, focused on small manageable tasks like preparing and filing paperwork, and proofreading and doing research.  That I have a steady job at all is a big accomplishment for me.  I struggled through most of my twenties.  I didn’t know what I wanted to do.  I had no career plans after leaving high school, or college.  I liked writing, and doing things on my own.  

    My first excursions out into the working world were disastrous.  I didn’t know how to handle the social aspects or issues with my boss.  At one of my first jobs, I got in trouble for “slacking off”, because I’d finished my tasks for the day.  I didn’t know that I was expected to ask around if there was anything else I could do.  If that had been communicated to me, I would have done so.  But that I was just expected to know made me angry.

   My mother told me that when I was younger, a doctor thought I was autistic.  She put me in day care because she thought being around other kids would force me to become more sociable.  It didn’t work.  I didn’t speak to my teachers unless I wanted something (one teacher shrieked in surprise when I asked to use the bathroom, after being silent most of the year), and on the playground, I went straight for the swings, I think because they were solitary, and I could soar above the other kids playing, when I didn’t know how to join them, or was even sure if I wanted to.  Years later, when I was 18, my mother read an article in the New York Times detailing a forgotten subset of autism called Asperger’s Syndrome, and said it described me perfectly.  I was officially diagnosed by a psychologist one year later.

   I found a book by Tony Attwood, and found that much of it described me.  I didn’t know how to respond in social situations, I “thought in pictures” as Temple Grandin described it (when reading, I always have an image in my head to correspond to the words on the page), I was sometimes “too honest” (my mother frequently yelled at me because I didn’t understand why I wasn’t supposed to say certain things), and I had obsessive interests that served as my sole conversation points. 
There were several signs from early in my life that I was “different.”  I stimmed (I still play with my hair and tap my fingers and pace when I’m stressed or need to process information), I had severe echolalia (I still find myself repeating words, only now after studying how to act I know to only repeat the words in my head), I loved routine, and hated surprises.  My mother said she used to have to count down when we had to go somewhere.  “We have to leave in ten minutes…we have to leave in five minutes.”  Otherwise, I would have a tantrum.

    I still have meltdowns.  Sometimes at work, I get overwhelmed by too many tasks and too many noises that I have to hold my head and make everything still for a moment.  I want to scream, but I know I can’t.  I’ve gotten in trouble at work because I forgot where I was, and started cursing under my breath when I was in the middle of a meltdown.  But I’m learning how to handle them.  I now know to leave the building if I feel one coming. 

  The idea that there are things that everyone is “just expected to know”, and how frustrating those expectations are for someone with autism, is something I wish more neurotypicals understood.  My father once yelled at me because I didn’t hold the door for someone coming in behind me.  I thought they could open the door for themselves.  I didn’t know the rule about holding the door for anyone behind you.  I don’t understand why eye contact is the measure of sincerity and good communication, since all it does is make me uncomfortable.  Looking at someone’s face actually makes it harder for me to process what they’re saying.  All my life, I’ve had my sincerity doubted because of my voice’s “tone.”  I didn’t understand why my tone mattered.  I still don’t.  I thought all I had to do was say the words that corresponded to the message I wanted to convey.  I always thought my words were enough.  I didn’t realize that I had to attach a corresponding emotion to each word, like neurotypicals need color coding on each word to attach an underlying meaning. 

  I also wish neurotypicals wouldn’t claim they understand how I feel when they clearly don’t.  When you claim you understand, your confused and hostile reactions to my atypical reactions to a world that confuses me are all the more jarring, and insulting.  If you don’t understand how I feel, but want to, just say so.  If you’re honest like that, I can tell you’re coming to me from a place of genuine curiosity, and I will be happy to explain how I see the world as best I can.
In addition to autism, I’ve struggled with depression for most of my life.  I’ve wondered if the two conditions are related.  I was born into a world that rejected me for not fitting in, and not understanding it when they didn’t bother explaining anything to me.  So I thought I was fundamentally wrong, leading to my depression and isolation.  I’m quiet not necessarily because I’m shy (though I can be), but because I feel I was shamed into silence by people who told me, either explicitly or implicitly, that everything I said was wrong.  So I stopped speaking.  It wasn’t until I found people who understood and were patient when I took a social misstep that I felt comfortable talking again.

  So I lost potential friends, got in conflicts with bosses, didn’t forge connections to people who could have helped me navigate through life, all because I didn’t know the “right” way to communicate.  So the fact that I have a job that pays well, and can live on my own, is something I never thought I would achieve.  Sometimes I feel like I’m behind.  In my late thirties, I’m proud of being at the spot where people ten years younger already are.  But it feels good that, after years of the world telling me I did everything wrong, that I was defective, I can live my own life, do things for myself, and even make friends.  It just took me a little longer.  Because I did not start from the same place as everyone else.  I had to learn social cues and rules like someone else has to learn a foreign language.  I knew the words, but not the meaning imbued by a shared social context that I got left out of.  As a teenager, I remember thinking that I must have missed classes at “life school.”  But I feel like I’ve finally gone to life school, and though I’ll never know the social language with the depth of a native speaker, I picked up enough to get by.




I am 27 almost 28 and I was born in Michigan but was a military kid so we moved a lot. I currently live with roommates in Florida USA. I am a shift supervisor at Starbucks and I love my job. It is the best. I love what I do. I have been with them for 5 years and am a certified coffee master through my company. Something someone might be surprised to know about me is that I also have epilepsy and I am adopted. How do I want to change the world? I would like to cure epilepsy.

Funny story about me: I am super gullible. So one time, my boss told me there was a pool on the roof and I believed him for two weeks until I realized it was sarcasm. He felt bad but I thought it was funny.
I wish non-autistics were aware that I have emotions. I care sooo deeply. I am human. I am not a freak and I am not trying to make anyone “uncomfortable” there is nothing I can do about this. I was born like this.

I want to tell fellow autistics that: It’s okay to be you. Don’t worry about pleasing other people.

I was not diagnosed until I was an adult and my parents didn’t really believe anything was wrong with me. But once we sat down and got diagnosed they were like “Oh that habit makes sense now…” etc. So I never got the help I needed in school or anything. I did pick up sign language and that helps for when I cannot communicate with the outside world. I have awesome understanding coworkers who get it.
How did I get diagnosed? I was curious after doing some research and unfortunately being in a mental health setting for self harm and suicidal tendencies. They made the diagnosis along with my psychiatrist I was seeing at the time. Once I was diagnosed I found it Scary. But it told me a lot about myself and why I do things the way I do. It was good and bad. Today how I feel about my autism is the same as before. I am just more aware of what's happening and able to calm down much faster now that I know what is going on.
It was hard to make friends and I was very lonely. I tried my best but it was also hard to get through school. I needed more time and help. Honestly, my friends and my job gets me through the day