Thursday, June 18, 2015

Happy Autistic Pride Day!

Today is Autistic Pride Day! What does autistic pride mean to me?

It means not being afraid to be yourself in a world that you stand out in. Embracing your unique talents. Appreciating your differences. Being grateful for the challenges you have conquered, for they have only made you stronger.

It also means being one of the building blocks of humanity. Without autistics, the world wouldn't be where it is today. Many of our brilliant minds and innovators were/are on the spectrum. It takes many various kinds of people to make the world go round.

On this day, I reflect upon my experiences. That day last March when I learned I was autistic after all, after years of suspecting it. The fact I'm a little different from my peers and think that's pretty neat. My childlike innocence and sense of wonder. My gift with gadgets. Most importantly, the fact that without autism, I wouldn't be me! :)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Spreading my advocacy wings

My opportunities to advocate have only been increasing! This is an exciting time for me. I can reach out and educate others on autism!

As many of you know, I'm going to be doing an Asperger's presentation for Autism Services, the organization who runs my Aspie group. I'm going to follow a Power Point presentation and add my experiences of life on the spectrum. I'll make myself available to answer questions others may have.

I'm really looking forward to this presentation, and any others the future may hold. It has always been my dream to help others. Back 11 years ago when I started working in the developmental disabilities field, little did I know it would be my own experiences I'd be able to use to reach out to people! Life is sure one awesome journey :)

Monday, June 8, 2015

Deep in thought.

Today's one of those days where I seem to be in a funk. I'm not in a bad mood, but just can't get my mind to stop cranking. Then I saw a post that turned my mind right back to where it should be.

For some reason, I stumbled upon a goofy quiz yesterday that was a parody of the Autism Quotient quiz. It was a "Neurotypical Quiz." Just for farts and giggles, I decided to take it. I scored "55% nurotypical" and it said that it was "unlikely I was autistic."

Now, of course this was laughable, because, duh, I'm diagnosed! For some reason, though, I felt disappointed. It was almost as if I had doubts. Maybe I've just been in one of my overanalytical moods, and have just been thinking too hard. I still felt this way for most of today. Nevertheless, I had this "what if" feeling...what if I'm not worthy of this upcoming presentation? What if I don't accurately represent the people I've been doing all this advocacy for?

Now, before I continue, you need to understand one thing. I have OCD. It's not uncommon for me to second-guess myself. I think it's because I'm looking so forward to this presentation, that my mind is trying to self-sabotage. This is what happens when you have comorbid disorders.

Now, back to that post I referred to in my first paragraph. Someone in an autism forum I belong to had stated that their family member's new tutor claimed she had been faking autism to use it as an excuse to get away with things. It was at this point when I finally came to my senses and my mind snapped back into place. Autism is a spectrum, my mind told me. I commented this, and explained that I, too, may not appear to be autistic at a first glance, however once someone gets to know me, they'll observe the traits. This is why it's impossible for one to "look" autistic!

Then it dawned on me even further, just because a silly quiz with no validity told me I'm most likely not autistic, doesn't mean a darn thing! Especially when this quiz was skewed in favor of social strengths. The thing is, I have social strengths. My autistic traits present themselves in OTHER areas. The quiz did not take into account my literal thinking, easiness to be manipulated, slower rate of development, mild sensory sensitivities, or my lack of desire to follow social norms. It was a faulty quiz, in my opinion, and this is a PERFECT example of why it should be taken with a grain of salt.

Because I stumbled upon that post, I'm now feeling relieved. I'm glad my OCD wasn't able to outsmart me this time! I can now move forward with confidence. Of course I'm autistic. If I wasn't, I wouldn't have had suspicions for 5 years, and I certainly wouldn't have a diagnosis. I have every reason to advocate and am entitled to speak up to support my fellow autistics! I can't wait until my presentation, and am feeling a lot better now. I also hope my comment has helped this girl and her family member :)