Autism is a developmental delay. This is particularly important when it comes to our youth who are at the age typical youth graduate from high school and launch into their adult life. Typically developing youth are ready to go off to college or become employed in a full time job upon high school graduation. For a few, this happens immediately upon high school graduation, but for most it takes another process where they work a job, attend higher education, and move away from the family home – either all at once or a little at a time so that over the next few years the high school graduates find their starting place in the big wide world.
When I was a teenager, the “too much” of life caught up with me. Everything in the world around me was just too much.
…too much noise with the varying sounds of the world clamoring to grab my attention, their pitches and tones wildly crashing into each other as if competing for a speed prize on a race track – or so I wished … If only the cacophony of the world outside my skin would at least line up and compete in some orderly fashion – like race cars on a race track – it would then allow me to watch the color of each sound going around and around, and thus enable me to keep track of this forever multi-tonal, warped schizophrenic sound in the world all around me –
I recently presented to a room full of people on the topic of Autistic People and Literacy. A few days later I again presented to another group of people on another autism related topic. It doesn’t matter the autism topic or whether the group I am presenting to be educators, therapists, or parents of children with autism – I am almost always approached by someone wanting to know how it is that I do not look or act anything like the autistic children they know.
Recently, I was told by a parent of a child on the autism spectrum that I am “not significantly enough affected by autism to be able to understand real autism” and therefore should stop speaking out about autism.
Some aspects of my personal history (Endow, 2009) that you may find interesting include:
In this life I am missing the ability to go out into the world and just be accepted for my natural autistic self. I must inhibit so many of my natural responses just to fit in enough for others to allow me a place in the world. I have discovered that to have a place in this world I need to fit into it in a way that makes sense to the majority. For me, this isn’t a good or a bad thing – just merely the way it is. Fitting into the world is something I need to balance with the essence of my being so as to come out in the most positive manner possible.