Friday, September 11, 2015

How Can I Have Autism When I am So Normal?

I have had a number of people find it hard to believe that I have been diagnosed with autism when I am so normal. There are two errors in this thinking. One is a misunderstanding of autism and the other is that I am normal. Close friends can see the latter more clearly.

Three points on the autism spectrum
What people need to remember is that autism is a spectrum. Yes I am very different from my children in some obvious ways. But those who know my family well might see some of the similarities. For example, I made sure to arrange our family's five finger nail clippers in a row, smallest to largest. My daughter would be proud of me. I need to manipulate something in my hands, somewhat similar to my son.

The type of autism I have is what was once called Asperger's Syndrome. That diagnosis is now gone and all there is, is autism. I have high functioning autism. My autism does not limit me in my education or career. I would suggest that my autism has allowed me to accomplish much of what I have.

Why many do not see the autism in me is because I have learned how to act appropriately. For example, I have strong interests and would be happy to talk about them all the time but I know most people don't want to hear it. That is why I blog. I can explore my interests and if people want to read they can, if they don't, they can move on.

Autism is not just about lack of eye contact, flapping hands, trouble communicating or meltdowns. It is something deeper. Instead of focusing on those outward signs, they should be asking why people with autism are doing it. Some of it I understand, some I still am learning about.

So if you are having trouble believing I have autism, just take the time to get to know me.

1 comment:

  1. Really pleased to have come across your blog Stephen. I have ASD and I work in a para church ministry. Like you, nobody thinks I have anything "wrong" with me, but it has affected my life quite considerably. I rarely tell people I am autistic. I did last week and the person said "we just thought you were a bit quiet". My main symptom is very narrow, focussed, interests and lack of socialisation. I struggle in church as I don't really communicate well with people so they assume I am either under some great conviction of sin or generally "not one of us".