Every once in a while, I have a day when Autism Awareness affects me more than it does on other days. It’s something I deal with on a fairly regular basis, and I know many beautiful people who have made me more patient, more understanding, more knowledgeable, and yes, sometimes more frustrated than I ever could have imagined. Today I’m having one of those days.
If I were to design a bumper sticker or t-shirt for Autism Awareness, it would probably say something like, “Autism: Get a Clue!” Or perhaps, “Yes, I/he/she have/has Autism. What’s your point?”
In the moments that I am able to be still and really learn from one of the Auties I get to come in contact with, I am usually left with the distinct, glorious feeling that I am the idiot in the room. And that it’s certainly not that some don’t know HOW to communicate the way we “neurotypicals” do, with specific speech and writing patterns, they probably can. They just don’t see the point. And quite frankly, there are some days when I don’t either!
About a month ago, I found out some very interesting information about the Spectrum. I’d never had any idea, and have had many questions for a couple of years. It turns out that AD/HD (ADD or ADHD) is on the Spectrum! How many out there knew that? Admittedly, I am not raising a child with an ASD, and I’m not in ASD education, but it really was an eye-opener for me. And a relief.
I’m no idiot, I know I’m quirky. And I also discovered, in my Freshman year of college, that I have ADD (what I believe would now be referred to as AD/HD-Predominantly Inattentive Type). No, I’ve never been diagnosed, and yes, I realize that everyone and their mother claims on one day or another to have AD/HD, but let’s be serious. The truth is that only about 4-6% of adults struggle with AD/HD. If you do your research, and you know the different struggles that you have to deal with from day to day, and there are certain parts of your educational journey and life that seem particularly more difficult for you than they appear to be for others, then it may be you do have AD/HD, and maybe more research could be helpful. For me, finally understanding that I do have a learning disability wasn’t a crutch. I was the Valedictorian of my High School class. To me, that means that I was and am capable of doing what I need to in order to succeed.
I also know that when I hit college, learning was suddenly a much bigger struggle than it had been before. My focus was gone. There were times when I would try to read an article for a class, and the words would just run together. I couldn’t concentrate, and nothing made a lot of sense to me. But that’s not all. I’ve noticed a few other traits and ticks I have that I couldn’t explain. I would sometimes wonder if there’s something “wrong” with me. If maybe I am just too weird.
So now I know. I’m not weird. There’s nothing wrong with me. I’m on the Spectrum. It’s not something to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. It’s a badge to wear with pride.
If you are someone who has more information about this, I would LOVE to see your comments. It’s honestly not a topic I’ve done an enormous amount of research on (yet), and I believe there is no better place to start than with those who walk it every day.
“I know of nobody who is purely Autistic or purely neurotypical. Even God has Autistic moments, which is why the planets all spin.”