I was brainstorming what to write and where to start this month with Autism Awareness Month and whenever the thought passed through my head if I should make one on what Autism is, I thought it was a little redundant. People know what it is by now right?
Wrong. Many people have no clue or are badly informed, and that’s not just random people. Sometimes it’s professionals too. The people who taught me the most about Autism have been Autistic people.
So, what is Autism?
I’d point you to ASAN’s descritpion. They’re the Autistic Self-Advocasy Network, a group for Autistic people, byAutistic people. If you want to support a group this month, help ones like that, not hate groups like Autism Speaks.
The link includes several traits typical for Autistic people.
For most of my life I didn’t know or understand what Autism was. That all changed when I went to get tested for ADD (they test ADD and ASD together over here). As I progressed through the tests I got a better idea of what it could be and I started to wonder if I could be Autistic, so I went online. I talked to and read experiences from Autistic people online and it was a huge eye-opener. Now I know what I know, looking back, it’s sometimes weird to think no one ever recognized that I was earlier on.
Many people, my old self included know Autism from media representation and stories by relatives. Which means you get tragedy porn, inspiration porn, and stereotypes. Which should be another reminder to you, if you’re trying to learn about us, get your info from us.
Well, if you ask me
Finding out I was Autistic really made so much sense. Everything fell into place and I started to understand myself in new ways I’d never expected until then. I’d always known I experienced the world differently from most people around me. As a Black biracial person in a predominantly white country, that’s not that hard to imagine*, but it’s more than that. My brain processes sensory stimuli/information differently, making me more sensitive to certain ones like bright lights, sounds, and touch. Being overwhelmed has become a second skin throughout my life that I now finally have begun to navigate better.
* = (for anyone who isn’t a colorblind racist. sure usually they’re without malice, but trivialization, talking over, and erasing my experience because it doesn’t align with theirs is f*cking violent).
I also noticed being passionate does not mean the main thing to neurotypicals as to me. When I love something, I LOVE something. Like writing. If given the chance I will talk about it endlessly, research it endlessly, do and think about it, end-less-ly. I cannot stop. Do not want to stop. When I express my passions the background changes to heavy sunsets, ocean waves crashing against a cliff behind me, and I’m on a horse. A unicorn. Whipping back their glorious mane. Yeeeaahhhh. When I hear neurotypicals about their passions it’s usually something they just like doing when they have spare time. Of course, there are exceptions–and we would make the best of friends–but given how I’ve been treated for my passions, they are just that. Exceptions.
Loud parties and busy supermarkets are torture to me, but I can feel as much bliss as strongly as any other emotion. I struggle dealing with strangers, making phone calls, staying in touch with people and otherwise maintaining relationships, but when I love, I love deeply.
There’s more, but this isn’t a diary and I don’t want to scare you off already, lol. Of course, since I’m not only Autistic, but also have ADD, so that mixes in there pretty good too. It’s a huge sweet sundae in there of flavours lol.