General Question

pleiades's avatar

Were any of you diagnosed with autism? How's life?

Asked by pleiades (6523 points ) 2 months ago

I’d love to go into the mind of someone who grew up with autism. How’s life now?

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14 Answers

talljasperman's avatar

I’ve been diagnosed with everything, depending on which doctor I am seeing. I have bad anxiety when uncomfortable. My child hood and most of my adult life were pain. Fast food and cola gave some relief. I stock up on Cola whenever possible.

AshLeigh's avatar

My oldest brother is autistic, along with other things. While I can’t tell you what being autistic is like, I can tell you that Jason is an intelligent, kind and very amazing person to be around. He’s funny, and sensitive. He’s got a job, at a diner, and lives with his guardians. He can read and write, a little, which is more than they said he’d ever be able to do. We’re all very proud of him.
The doctors said he’d never speak or walk, when he was born. My brother never sits down, and always has something to say. This is him on the left. He’s the cutest. :)

gailcalled's avatar

Here’s a long and fascinating article from the July 31, 2014 New York Times Magazine about autism.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/03/magazine/the-kids-who-beat-autism.html?_r=0

There are interiews with many young people who are on the very high-functioning end and discussions about youngsters who have fared less well (and their parents, caregivers and medical and psychological specalists in the field.)

jerv's avatar

Well, if you don’t mind people thinking you’re weird, it’s not terrible. Sure, sometimes thing seem to happen a bit too fast for you and you get overstimulated to the point of a panic attack, and sometimes little things that others don’t notice or care much about (a high-pitched whine, or someone moving something from where you expect it to be) will make you flip your shit, but overall it’s not any worse than life as a neurotypical.

Of course, there are degrees. Not all autistic people people can live unassisted, hold a job, or even notice when someone enters the room; some are like @talljasperman. There is a reason that Autistic people use the term “on the spectrum”.

cazzie's avatar

It is a spectrum disorder. Anyone who is able to answer this question here in first person isn’t doing too badly, but I have a step son and he is such an amazing person, but I see how badly he struggles with the every day. Like @jerv says it is different for every person who has this diagnosis. I think people with ASD range in their issues and challenges much much more than us ‘neuro-typicals’ do. It is like we live in the visible band of light, that small band of light radiation that gives visible colour to our world, and autism holds them in the vast array of wavelengths we aren’t even aware of in our regular, daily lives. They can be hyper aware of aspects of their surroundings that we don’t even notice and teach themselves coping skills early in their development that helps shield them from being uncomfortable or overwhelmed. I see very similar adaptations in my son with severe ADHD as well.

My step son won’t ever have a regular job. He might do some free lance art work and be paid for it, but he will be on State disability his entire life and won’t be able to live alone, ever.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

@AshLeigh is this a recent photo of the little man? I ask because he looks so young to be working! Yes, he is cute and full of life!

AshLeigh's avatar

@ZEPHYRA, it’s from April, and he’s 26. He looks really young.

jerv's avatar

@cazzie FYI, part of the reason ASDs are hard to diagnose reliably is high comorbidity with other issues. For instance, I have the same attention span issues and bouts of hyperactivity as ADHD, but a more intense hyper-focus, As most autistic people are delayed in language skills but I was reading at a 5th-grade level by kindergarten, they ruled out “normal” autism, but my social skills definitely put me “on the spectrum”.
It wasn’t until the early-90s (after I already graduated high school) that they figured it out; Asperger’s.

However, aspies are generally high-functioning. For instance, John Elder Robison, the guy who designed the guitars for KISS, or (allegedly) Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, and Nikola Tesla. Autism isn’t just people sitting in wheelchairs staring off into space; it really is a wide range.

The big thing is that we are different. We tend to see things differently…. sometimes literally given that autism (of any kind_ rewires the brain, including sensory perception. I’m nearly red/orange colorblind but tend to have problems with UV, including sunlight, and most lights tend to flicker as they’re run on 60-hertz AC). Pop the hood of your car and tell me what you see. Most people see a block of metal with hose and wires all over: I see this. Most people think in words, but we think in pictures. Often pictures that we cannot find words for. Try explaining that picture… in Mandarin because you don’t know the language that the people around you use. Imagine the frustration of people not seeing that and also being unable to explain it to them.

Frustration is common, and is (at least in my case) a cause of anxiety as I just can’t get through to other people. Since I have the ability to read/write/speak English pretty well, I don’t have it so bad, but I still get a bit antsy when one of my gamer friends doesn’t inherently know why the “hits” mechanic from Shadowrun 4th/5th edition is far superior to the “target number” system of 1st-3rd edition; the math is so simple (to me) that it’s fucking obvious enough that anybody who doesn’t get it is (in my eyes) a moron.

Imagine living in a world where nobody can see what is obvious to you, and you can’t tell them how the world really is. You know the frustration you feel when the person in front of you at the checkout takes 5 minutes to count out correct change? Or you have a foreign coworker who hasn’t learned the language yet? Imagine everyone you meet is like that. Now do it without learning manners or tact. For your entire life.

It’s still possible to have a somewhat normal life though. I have a well-paying trade that I am good at, a loving and understanding wife who I’ve been with for ~20 years, and all that, but it isn’t easy. I get by mostly by “translating”; seeing parallels and going from there. Imagine you are a PC running Linux in a world full of Windows boxes. You both have desktop GUIs (though they look different) and you can run many of the same programs (like Firefox), but you are different enough that there are certain things that are either more difficult or outright impossible for you to do since translation (like WINE, the package that lets Linux run many (but not all) Windows executables) has it’s limits. The upside is that you can find joy in things that others consider either trivial or invisible. You you see the humour in a d30? I’m laughing my ass off looking at it!

rockfan's avatar

I haven’t been diagnosed, but I think I might have asperger’s syndrome.

cazzie's avatar

@jerv I know. My youngest is still going though the diagnosis process. Some of the social workers are blaming me for his unusual social behaviour and continue with their 1950s ‘lack of proper socialisation, defective mother nurturing’ bullshit. I just got a letter from the social workers explaining why the are renewing their interest. “O is a very smart child and posess a challenge at school because he tests incredibly high during competency exams but lacks interest in doing the daily classroom work or assignments . He often misreads social situations and creates conflict or becomes too overwhelmed.”

jerv's avatar

@cazzie Do your social workers still believe leeches and bleedings are cutting-edge medicine? They might be interested to know that demonic possession is no longer an official diagnosis either.

cazzie's avatar

@jerv the social workers are the first line and refer to the doctors at the children’s psych clinic. They aren’t trained that well in child psychology of course, and can’t diagnose, but they can take your kid away if they think you are a foreigner raising your child ‘wrong’.

snowberry's avatar

Let’s hope you get a doctor on your side @cazzie. I’ve seen more idiot social workers than I can count. And I’m in the US!

RocketGuy's avatar

I am undiagnosed, but seem to be on the low end of the spectrum. Difficult to understand people, but no problem understanding any other object. Super hearing – I can hear the flyback system in a CRT. I can see 60 Hz flickering of fluorescent lights. I can define fiber directions in a graphite composite part to get properties I want without using a computer.

My nephew was diagnosed to be further up the scale – he can read and write mirror image text, and can hear every conversation within 30 ft of him.

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