There, I have said it.
I know it is a fashion to say autism is simply another (alternative neurology provided by nature)
and that it is not unnatural or that autism is a gift with super powers. I interacted this morning with other members of a forum and responded to a new member looking to learn better skills at social interactions. I tried for almost all my life to “fit in” and to interact successfully with others. Most of my efforts were in vain. No matter how hard I tried, I simply never got along with others, misunderstanding them, they misunderstanding me, etc.
Once I got my autism diagnosis and read the test results, along with some thinking, it became evident why I struggled. Here is the response I wrote. I thought I would share and might be useful to others beginning to sort their struggles and trying to find new ways to self accommodate and make lives easier around their autism troubles.
- I thought I needed to learn manners, gain insights into others’ motives and etc,I tried so hard for years and constantly rejected. After learning my sensory processing was sooo slow and bad (25th percentile visual processing and 35th percentile audio processing)I finally realized it and had to accept the fact that I just was not(am not) equipped to do things with others “in real time”. Ever, no matter how hard I try.
My autism truly is a disability to socialization.
My processing simply does not work fast enough to have “real time” interactions in person, in chat, on the phone… I only pick up part of the cues because I simply can’t process things fast enough to have actual understanding of anything I see or hear in “real time”.
I Can’t rely on my vision and hearing to give me information, I am constantly misled through misinterpretation, mistaken ideas, mistaken thoughts and judgements surrounding what I see or hear.
I truly can’t believe my eyes, I truly can’t believe what I think I hear.
That truly is a disability!
I have the same struggles with videos, movies, lectures, concerts, presentations… anything in motion and in “real time”.That leaves me with mistaken perceptions about almost everything.
No wonder I have been overwhelmed and confused most of my life.
My autism is not a gift but a true handicap. I can’t pretend to be normal.I simply can’t interact in “normal” social ways. I am not equipped to handle it.
I am fortunate to be able to read and write!
I think I developed those abilities like a muscle, since I relied on them for so much of my life.
I read to have true understanding of my world and I write to communicate at my best.
That seems to be my only sensory processing function that works “normally”.
My neurological testing gave me “gifted” scores for reading and writing.
( Most of my other scores were miserable) It is because I exercised that part of my abilities and relied on them the most.
These forums “are” my social life.
I finally have had to accept that no matter how hard I try, I simply will never be able to do ‘social things” in real life or real time (video/streaming etc too).
I have begun to use the internet and forums as a way to interact satisfactorily with others. My primary interest to begin with is learning and reading factual autism content.
Everything is now about autism since my diagnosis.
What a relief to finally understand my long and miserable life, and how wonderful to learn everything I failed at all those years was not actually “all my fault”.
How wonderful to find I am not alone but that I have many autistic brothers and sisters “out there”!!!
I belong to several autism forums and I write a blog about being late diagnosed with autism, and adjusting to my new understanding of self.
I love information sharing.
I love knowing there are others like me who truly do understand and who accept me as I am.
The internet is an absolute gift to people like me.
Hope you find answers. Best wishes.
3 thoughts on “My autism is a disability”
Loved reading this Debra. Thank you for sharing your research with us on the forums. Not everyone has the ability to study in depth, as you do, and it is great to know you understand us as well. Theoretical views by NT’s will never replace the genuine Aspie’s experience
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Yes, let’s call it what it is. A condition that makes me run like a frightened rabbit and hide in my bedroom when there is an unexpected knock at the door is not a gift, not a superpower. A condition that results in me being friendless, that makes me have to work twice as hard to get anything done because my executive skills are weak and I am using 80% of my mental wherewithal to mask is not a superpower. Like you, Debra, I came out as “gifted” in reading and writing ability, and I’m grateful for that. But I’m very one-sided in my abilities and it showed up clearly in the diagnosis process. I’m intellectually fine, thankfully, but I often think about what I might’ve been without autism. I graduated college with a B+ average (not the magma cum laude I’d been previously headed for) because an abusive boyfriend my senior year was making my life hell—autism means we tend to misjudge other’s motives and end up with abusive partners. Yes, it’s a clear, severe, lifelong disability, even when it’s mild, that makes us much more likely to live marginal, struggling lives and for many, to end up severely depressed and anxious for life.
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