WHY FIT IN WHEN YOU WERE BORN TO STAND OUT

Aimlessly scrolling through Facebook as you do, there was a post that stopped me in my tracks. It was written by a 14 (nearly 15) year old girl called Grace who has autism, the same diagnosis as my little boy. It was an amazing piece of writing & I am so proud to be able to share it with you, I hope you read and share the hell out of this as she deserves every piece of credit. So I’ll hand straight over to her.

Hello. Bonjour. Hola. Halló. How are you?
I wrote this essay-y thingymabob about me and my autism a few months ago when I was diagnosed, in order to explain it to family and friends that were less aware, or only had a stereotypical view of it. There isn’t one list of ‘characteristics’ that fit everyone that is autistic. Yes we may share some, but it is not something to be piled under one umbrella. It’s a spectrum. You’re on it, somewhere. Whether right at the bottom or higher up than you first thought. I hope my words can open your eyes, or maybe even find the words for you – if you yourself are autistic and struggling to describe it.

So, I would like to talk about ASD, Autism Spectrum Disorder (however I dislike referring to it as a disorder as to me it is not). I’m autistic. I know, I don’t ‘look’ like what is probably your mental imagey thing of what someone with autism may look like, but I am.

Autism is diverse. Like a shark and a gold fish are both ‘fish’ yet both very different. They both have gills, they both dwell in the water and they both have fins. However a shark’s skeleton is made from cartilage whereas a fish’s is of bone, a shark is of course a lot bigger, and sharks can only swim forward whereas fish can swim in any direction.

This, to my mind at least, perfectly illustrates autism. There are certain characteristics that are found in most (but not all) autistic people, and some that only a few have. For example, I find eye contact with most people difficult, and although this is a well known autistic trait, not every autistic person will.

For me, a social occasion is a big source of anxiety and worry, as it will mean interaction with people which for me does not come as easily as it may for you and also leaves me exhausted from trying to remember social rules/etiquette and what to do/say. I may be talking to you and just randomly change the subject because in my mind it’s made the 3022028 and something connections from what we were talking about to what I changed it to in a split second.

You may tell me a joke and it may well take me a bit to catch on, or I just don’t laugh as for me I cannot see why it would be funny.

I see the world in colours and sounds and numbers. Where you may just see the number ‘1’, i see a colour, a tune, even a name.

Sometimes, although to be completely honest this is most of the time, I just need to be left alone. Alone in my thoughts because my mind is loud enough with ideas and words and colours that other people talking can often overwhelm me.

Another reason for me liking silence and peace and my own company is that I have over-sensitive senses. A class of people talking at normal volume is interpreted by my brain as a pandemonium of parrots yelling and squawking at a much louder volume than they actually are. This leaves me tired and often with a headache.

Another ‘part’ of my autism is the fairly common one of disliking physical contact. If you were to hug me it feels like when Rose touched the Dalek in the episode of Dr Who named, appropriately, ‘Dalek’. And if you have no idea of what I am denoting by mentioning said episode imagine the sound of a hot, oily pan meeting cold water. That hissing sound is what it is like for me when someone touches me.

There are many more aspects to autism that I have, and also some that I don’t. I don’t want to bore you by just listing. I wanted to tell you so that if you were to talk to me and I was just staring at a picture on the wall you would know that I’m not being rude. I’m not ignoring you. I am listening. Only for me I find that listening with just my ears works perfectly fine without staring straight at your eyeballs.

Maybe this post had made you realise just how diverse and sometimes unnoticeable Autism/Aspergers is. If not then at least you’ll know why I’d much rather be up a tree or with my head stuck in a book than at parties or ‘hanging out’ with friends. And, dear friends, if ever I sit in the corner alone it is because I need to be, not because I dislike you or do not desire you company any longer.

Thank you for reading these words. Um, I don’t know how to finish this. I’m not very good at that either. I’ll maybe sometimes just walk away from you when the conversation is still going as I read the situation wrong and thought it had finished. Anyway, to attempt to finish this I’ll leave you with the interesting fact that Scotland has 421 words for snow, and I also like cats.

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19 Comments

  1. September 5, 2018 / 11:17 pm

    I absolutely love this. My mom was a teacher growing up and had quite a few autistic students in her class so I am familiar with a lot of the characteristics that those with autism possess. She wrote this so well and I can imagine anyone who has autism or has a family member with autism so resonated with this.

  2. September 6, 2018 / 2:46 am

    Love this! She explained it so well – each person with autism is on a spectrum, and the rest of us probably do have a stereotypical view of it, depending on our experience with it. Great way to explain it to her family & friends!

    -Jennifer
    https://maunelegacy.com

  3. September 6, 2018 / 4:42 am

    Thank you for this post- these words are ones that need to be heard so that more people can understand (or try to understand).

  4. September 6, 2018 / 9:05 am

    Such an amazingly insightful post – it really shows how amazingly diverse autism really is. Thanks for sharing.

  5. September 6, 2018 / 10:33 am

    Anyone who lives with autism or loves someone on the spectrum understands that every day is different. Accept people as they are done try to change them n

  6. September 6, 2018 / 11:12 am

    I love this so, so much. Autism runs in my family so I am familiar with it, but I’ve never seen really known what it’s like to be inside their minds, and this post helped a lot with that. Isn’t the mind amazing?!

  7. September 6, 2018 / 1:15 pm

    This is one of my favorite quotes, while we don’t deal with autism in our family, I can imagine it’s a difficult thing to do, thanks for sharing!

  8. September 6, 2018 / 6:02 pm

    I think she did an absolutely excellent job of explaining autism. I am a teacher & although children are diagnosed as autistic, they certainly don’t have all of the same characteristics.

  9. September 6, 2018 / 6:05 pm

    This is so beautifully written. Heartfelt words, make us really understand what autism is. Kudos to this brave girl!

  10. September 6, 2018 / 7:06 pm

    An amazing and honest insight into autism and very well written. My sister has high functioning autism so recognise many of the things you mention. Great title for the post too!

  11. September 6, 2018 / 7:20 pm

    Wow this is really enlightening. Beautifully written and clears up a lot of misconceptions. What a fab way to raise awareness

  12. September 6, 2018 / 7:56 pm

    What an interesting and thought-provoking post! The best way to raise awareness 🙂

  13. September 6, 2018 / 9:34 pm

    Love this! She explains it so well. I have a friend who is autistic, and this has helped me understand her better.

  14. Indrani
    September 7, 2018 / 3:35 am

    She explained it so well. I am not much aware of this topic but this explanation is helpful.

  15. September 8, 2018 / 5:38 pm

    What an amazing post! Explained everything so well and on a subject I was not familiar with – very informative :)x

  16. September 8, 2018 / 9:07 pm

    Such a good post and bringing a voice to the front.

  17. September 8, 2018 / 10:13 pm

    Such an interesting read. My eldest displays all these traits. So many times I’m talking and she walks off – even when I’m answering her question. Her mind is totally lost in other thoughts. It would be nice to read more posts from the real world of an autistic child.

  18. September 10, 2018 / 4:08 am

    Thank you for voicing this topic. Such a good read. Worded everything perfectly.

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