~Rumi

All day I think about it, then at night I say it. Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing? I have no idea. My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that. And I intend to end up there...Who looks out with my eyes? What is the soul? I cannot stop asking. If I could taste one sip of an answer, I could break out of this prison...I didn't come here of my own accord, and I can't leave that way. Whoever brought me here will have to take me home.

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17 September 2009

The Fingerprint of Autism

Autistic Spectrum Condition often evolves (in varying degrees) from childhood to adulthood. It is important to remember that developmental disability does not mean inability to develop. Personally, there is a significant difference between my awareness and self-determination in adulthood when compared to my childhood.

Many autistic individuals have several coping mechanisms and tactics in place that allow them to experience the world in a more productive way. Often, as children, we do not yet understand what bothers or overstimulates us. As we learn more about ourselves, we do. Self-awareness is key to change and growth. And awareness is a natural part of human evolution--even for autistic individuals. Some of us evolve more than others. Some of us are more self-determined than others. This is not a positive or a negative, it just is. Autism is as individual as fingerprints: if you've met one autistic person, you've met one autistic person.

A trademark of autism is uneven skills (ex: successful at a job of high status, yet lacking self-care skills, or smooth at conversing on specific topics, yet at a loss when the subject changes). Just as the rest of the human race, autistic people also show variance in personalities. As anyone else, we navigate our way through life with our own unique personal challenges. So why are many people stumped when autistic individuals exhibit differences amongst each other? Are all deaf people the same? No. Are all blue-eyed people the same? No. Are all autistic people the same? No.

Background, community, education-level, family relations, life experiences, etc. all play just as much a part in the autistic person's life as in any other human's life. Boxing autism into categories of severity or appearance is a strong contributor to the lack of diagnosis (or misdiagnosis) in females. This also applies to males.

Further reading:




3 comments:

  1. I have three children with autism, and everything about them distinguishes them as separate and distinct individuals. This is true both "in" their autism, meaning how they manifest autistic traits, and also distinct from any autistic traits. They are each completely and wholly themselves, and if anyone meets one and expects to understand the other two they're in for quite a surprise!

    It's pretty amazing that people would every try to categorize people this way. Yet, as much as it amazes me, I know they do it based all sorts of prejudices.

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  2. Thank you for your important commentary!

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  3. I wrote this post as a response to someone who said that John Elder Robison (author of Look Me in the Eye) does not seem very autistic.

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