At times, it seems like the scientific/medical world and “Planet ASD” are in parallel universes — parallels by definition don’t intersect, which often seems the case. Back when I was doing my willy-nilly research in 2007-2008, I came across a number of mentions about how folks on the autistic spectrum didn’t have sufficient self-awareness to self-assess.
Huh. How ’bout that.
Of course, there’s Temple Grandin (the mention of whom got me started looking into the possibility of being on the spectrum), but she’s an outlier, right?
Oh, but then there’s the account I read back in 2008, about Carly Fleischman, an autistic girl who expressed “unimaginable intelligence” after years of being treated like she was severely impaired.
“Laypeople would have assumed she was mentally retarded or cognitively impaired. Even professionals labelled her as moderately to severely cognitively impaired. In the old days you would say mentally retarded, which means low IQ and low promise and low potential,” Arthur Fleischman [her father] said.
As I recall, her father also expressed dismay that he’d said certain things about her, right in front of her, all of which which she heard and understood. I didn’t envy his situation, when I read that.
Carly’s situation is an extreme case of what so many of us experience. And it goes on, day in and day out. People don’t know how it is. And they don’t realize they need to. Even the people closest to us don’t always get it. So, the best we can sometimes hope for is a sort of peaceful co-existence where everyone makes at least some effort to be kind and caring, even if we don’t understand each other 100%.
Ironically, that’s often enough. Do we ever know and understand each other 100%? Who knows?
But again, I digress.
Back to the fun. Yesterday, after the frustration and angst about past experiences subsided, I started to re-experience just how much fun it is to see yourself explained by others — who do know. Just pulling all those descriptions / criteria of women-with-ASD experiences was a relief.
It was hours and hours of “Fun with No’s”
No, I’m not crazy.
No, I’m not imagining things.
No, I don’t just have the wrong attitude.
No, I’m not reading into things.
No, I’m not looking for ways to get attention.
No, I’m not misinterpreting my experience.
No, I’m not making this all up because I’m bored and want to feel special.
No, I was not crazy as a child.
No, I was not punished daily by parents who thought I was bad — I had severe sensory issues that made just about every human interaction feel like painful punishment. My mom, especially (who is hyperactive, hyposensitive and is EXTREMELY LOUD AND TACTILE) was just trying to connect with me, but I was constantly pulling away from her and my dad, because every physical contact with them was painful. They were actually trying to show love and affection, but my experience was that it was All Pain All The Time.
No, I don’t have to continue living like none of this matters, like none of it is a factor. It’s a huge factor in everything I do. Every single bit of it.
And no, although it would be nice to find a professional I can work directly with who understands my situation and can offer support, I can live without it. I know what my issues are, and I have the wherewithal to research solutions. I have my interior process where I can sort things through on my own. I also have my online life where I can do my own investigations and figure out how to apply them.
Lots of “No’s” — all of them good.