WHAT IS AUTISM – FROM AN AUTISTIC’S PERSPECTIVE

By Anonymously Autistic “Anna”, Badass Creative Contributor | AmericanBadassAdvocates.org >> @AnonymouslyAnnablog | contact

A reader asked if I had a blog post that described what Autism is. I started to say that this entire blog gives great first hand information from Autistic people.

neurodiversityOur experience can not really be summed up in a one page post. There are a lot of things that make us different.

First I want to say that each and every Autistic person experiences the world in a very different way so what I state below may not be true for everyone. I am going to go over some generalizations that are true for me, also taking in mind what has been shared with my by my amazing readers.

We tend to struggle with spoken communication but many of us do VERY well behind a keyboard.  We can have tricky short-term / working memories but a LOT of us have long-term memories that are FOREVER. We need time to process and go over things but once we understand something it stays in our minds (or that is how it is for me). Time to organize and prepare thoughts is essential for me because of this.

Many of us have sensory sensitivities. Bright lighting can cause chronic migraines and other illnesses. I can hear everything which is unpleasant because I can’t tune individual things out. My hearing is essentially so sensitive that I can’t hear conversations in busy rooms. Not to mention the distraction of every small noise seeming VERY loud. Clothing can be itchy and irritating. Tags and socks are the worst and certain grooming activities can be extremely uncomfortable. Getting a mani-pedi is NOT relaxing for me. Even getting a massage is difficult because of another person touching me can make me want to jump up and run.

I have a hard time sitting still. Our bodies (and minds) crave constant motion. I am always playing with something rocking in my chair, humming or singing. This is called stimming. It is a regulatory behavior and helps with sensory input, relaxation, and focus. I also speak to myself out loud a lot. These things “normal people” don’t tend to accept but we REALLY need them to.

Many Autistic people have comorbid conditions – other illnesses with their Autism. Some examples are insomnia, epilepsy, IBS, OCD, anxiety, depression, migraines, apraxia, ataxia, sensory processing disorder, the list goes on. These, in my mind, are not Autism but rather Autism related conditions. They differ from person to person.

Autistic people can be extremely intelligent but learning disabilities and intellectual disabilities can also happen with Autism. Just like “normal people” our IQ’s are all over the place. People often assume Autistic people all have intellectual disabilities. I prefer to think of it as a difference. Also EVEN non-verbal (non-speaking) Autistic people can fall into the “high IQ” category. Never assume an Autistic person cant’ understand you.

I can speak but am not as good at it as most “normal people” but there are a lot of Autistic people who have apraxia of speech. This means they may have all the words and thoughts inside BUT the mouth pieces don’t move. For some reason the brain can’t tell the mouth and related parts how to work. Some children speak late and others never speak. I had no speech delay.

Dyslexia and Hyperlexia are also common in Autism. I am Hyperlexic.

Our brains tend to be spiky. We can be far above average in some pretty random areas, art, math, music, memorizing, writing, or not. At the same time our deficits in the areas that don’t develop as fully can be perplexing to the word’s general population.

For example – my conversational skills are so limited that I can NOT tell when my turn to talk is. My solution? Don’t talk. Before I stopped talking people kept calling me rude but I was doing my best. I never wanted to be rude. I’ve become more quiet and contemplative – more of an observer than I used to be. Actually this has been an improvement.

Autism is invisible. Unless I am stimming wildly in a chair or flapping my arms wildly you would not see my Autism – and these are things I do in private. Any time I try to share with someone that I am Autistic, a 34 year old woman who appears to have it together, I am dismissed.

I try to share mostly when I am looking for some understanding about an accommodation that I am about to ask for. I ask for little things – natural light, a quiet spot, to be able to take notes on a laptop.

Often people tell me I don’t “need” these things and that I am making excuses for myself. I just want to do my best. This is the hard part, when you ask for help and people say “nobody else will have that” or “it’s not fair to play favorites” even better “you already have it pretty good”.

Summing it up in a blog comment or post is impossible. Please dear readers, I ask that you provide your own experience in the comments so that the world may someday redefine wheat Autism is from OUR perspective.

With love,

Anonymously Autistic

“Anna”

 

#ActuallyAutistic #InvisibleAutism #AutismAwareness #SheCantBeAutistc #AnonymouslyAutistic

 

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Anonymously Autistic Anna

Call me Anna. Anna is NOT my real name, but I really am Autistic. In order to preserve the most true and accurate accounts of my life, and the lives of those around me I have decided to maintain this blog anonymously. Writing is therapy, and unfortunately I am not ready to come out of the “Autistic Closet” just yet. Hopefully something that I have to share might be helpful to you in your life. With love, Anonymously Autistic “Anna”

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4 thoughts on “WHAT IS AUTISM – FROM AN AUTISTIC’S PERSPECTIVE”

  1. Thank you Anna,
    I’m reading this as I listen to my 10 year old, non verbal beautiful daughter screaming her lungs out upstairs in her bedroom. Her father and I have both been up a few times to try and help her, she just cries louder and hits her head harder as well. I just wonder if she will ever learn to use her speach devise well enough to tell me what’s wronge . My heart breaks into a million pieces every time she has a cryin/screaming spell. Reading this has helped me tonight so thank you again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi – Eve here – Anna’s writing and experience sharing is amazing to me as well. I’m Autistic (really really quiet at a child and books were my friends) and though we might have various experiences — so so many are similar and she puts into words what I can’t and I’ve really gone on an introspective journey after I started reading her blog. So much she writes about sounds like a template from my internal life. May you and your daughter find support in one another. I do know when I’ve hit my limit and overload hits — mybody goes into a seizure that probably has some fit-like behavior to it as well and I hate it and yet my body has to do it to feel better. So thankful to have an incredible and supportive fiance who doesn’t judge but does try to help me find coping skills, knows my physical cues of approaching brain storm and helps me navigate them with love and comfort. He also knows my signals of don’t touch her right now . . . when my skin is on fire with electricity and I’m not in a seizure. There’s hope — there really is hope. And I’m a mom to two on the spectrum as well. ❤

      Like

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