This post was originally published at http://timsherri.dynalias.net/spectrum.html and is reprinted here with permission from the author
These won’t be original thoughts I’m sure, as I hear from more and more of my friends who are dealing with this, I thought I’d get this out there in hopes it helps.
I’m really glad that I didn’t have a diagnosis hanging over my head growing up, because society still thinks of being on the autistic spectrum as limiting and all negative. It wouldn’t bother me now because I’ve already accomplished enough stuff to know that at least in my case, if anything being on the spectrum has helped me more than hindered.
I won’t mention any situations unless they are true in at least 2 cases I know of, so if you think I’m talking about you, I’m not talking about *just* you, i.e. you are not alone.
I’m not particularly brave or anything in writing this up because a) I don’t have a job to be worried about (even though those that pass judgement on us on the spectrum have a good chance of being on the spectrum themselves, just “lucky?” enough not to have had a diagnosis.) and b) I must be old enough not to care what others think of me.
Women on the spectrum usually aren’t as obviously recognized (some of my women friends say this might be because of the duplicate X’s) Men on the spectrum are easier diagnosed, its probably related to the ‘women are more social’ to start with, thing.
The negatives of being on the spectrum are well known, the positives probably not as much?
Families that have kids on the spectrum usually have a father on the spectrum, and a mother who’s either on the spectrum or has whatever the qualities of being on the spectrum are (again the extra X might be helping here) I’ve heard that parents of kids with autism generally both have to be somewhat on the spectrum, no idea, I certainly would say Sherri isn’t on the spectrum that I can tell, but then again there’s that extra X. I do know that I’ve heard from women with kids on the spectrum that in college, all the autistic (nerdy?) guys were chasing them.
We on the spectrum tend to work in fields that rely on logic or in the arts and rely on skills not associated with communications with others. Boeing, Microsoft, Rocket scientists, engineers etc.
I think we must seek each other out, especially when I see how many of my friends are on the spectrum now. And how many of their kids are on the spectrum.
History is littered with really great minds that have advanced humanity and who were on the spectrum, Edison, Einstein, Mozart?, (The first of our ancestors out of the trees or so says Temple Grandin 🙂 This combined with what I know my autistic friends have accomplished leads me to believe there is a really good survival reason why autism is threaded through our gene pool.
I’ve seen people on the spectrum write novels, write music, pick up multiple musical instruments far quicker than normal throughout their lives, paint beautifully, learn to fly, sometimes really complex aircraft. Do well at sports especially those requiring singleminded focus (running, fencing etc.)
I would not ‘fix’ my autism for any money in the world, nor would I have wanted to know there was ‘something wrong with me’ (‘shea right) at an early age. My kid with autism says he would, but I hope that by the time he accomplishes enough stuff easier than his non-autistic peers, he might change his mind.
It is a different path, but I happen to think at least where I am on the spectrum that its a successful path.
I’ll add anything anyone wants me to to these notes, mail them to my FB account (if you want to be anonymous put anonymous in the title) If you want to be tagged in this note, whether to network or befriend others on the spectrum or dealing with people on the spectrum let me know.
Interestingly our child without autism only sees the positives, we have to keep reminding him there are downsides and the skillset is just different not better or worse.