You Don’t Know Me
First off, it was never my intent for those seven listed sample symptoms to be used as diagnostic criteria. Not by a long shot, which was why I included two other articles.
My list was only a small sampling of traits and characteristics. The original list was long and tedious.
I find your comment along with a few others deeply troubling. Are you aware I have a son with ASD who I’m thrilled is functionally independent? Some of his disabilities are handicapping his opportunities in life. Watching him trying to navigate normal life has nearly broken my heart.
You don’t know me. You don’t know how hard I’ve worked to get to where I’m at life. You did not see my friendless childhood. The nights I cried myself to sleep wondering what was wrong with me. Or how many times noise and lights overwhelmed me so badly I was physically ill. Even my skin would ache. How often I have to battle severe anxiety when facing situations you handle with ease.
Just because I’m here and seem put together does mean my life has been easy. It has not. I’m a fighter. I have dealt with catastrophic abuse, great odds, personal challenges to get here. I make daily sacrifices to do what I do.
My father was on the spectrum and my sons are. One received special educational resources. It is insulting to have someone read 1100 words of a personal essay and think they know me. Talk about reductionism. You are doing to me the very thing you don’t want to have happen to every neuroatypical person – to misunderstand their needs to such an extent that they are overlooked. In your well-intended efforts to protect theirs, you are overlooking mine.
I’ve had no help. No therapy. No IEP. No social supports. I did it alone. I was vulnerable, bullied, and abused due to my vulnerabilities. But I trudged forward. And this is what I get for that? Shamed? Scolded?
You don’t know me. It’s insulting to think that by the details of one personal essay you have a handle on what is and is not true about my life.
Here’s more research to back up this late diagnosis phenomenon.