For today’s part of Ask an Autistic Person, I have a wonderful person who’d rather go by the Reddit name Evinceo. You can check this individual out there. Evinceo talked about all sorts of things, including getting “out of the bubble,” the cult of anti-vaccinations, and individuality.
First, may I ask you what name you’re comfortable going by?
I’ll go by /u/Evinceo if you don’t mind. I’m not especially interested in the first google result for my name being someone else’s blog.
1) At what age were you diagnosed with autism and how did the diagnosis come about? Age 18. School psychologist after special ed testing. Might have been pointed out to them by parents.
2) Do you feel that your parents support/supported your needs well? To a large extent, yes. My mother was very accommodating-she let me ride on a steam train when I was a kid, didn’t object to my long hours on the computer as I became an adult. My father provided a decent role model as far as functional adult with (obvious, diagnosed) autism.
3) I’ve heard some people say we should refer to you as a person first (a person with autism) but others feel that it’s okay to say someone is an autistic person. What do you feel is the correct way to talk about someone having autism? I don’t find the distinction particularly interesting. Furthermore, I don’t take it upon myself to spread my vision of what’s a “correct” way of talking. Language evolves by use-if I don’t like a word, I don’t use it. There are more important ways to humanize people than word choice. Battles should be chosen wisely.
4) Do you feel overwhelmed by environmental stimuli? If so, can you explain how it feels (for you) to have a strong reaction to sensory stimuli? Yes. Sound only. It would appear that my threshold for “too loud” is much lower than most others. I’ll find myself standing in a crowd and be the only one with my ears plugged. It feels like pain, or I suppose I interpret it as pain, but it’s not like physical pain or like the pain when you hit your funnybone. I also get very anxious sometimes-I think that what is sometimes interpreted as over-stimulation might be more akin to fear.
5) Are there ways in which you feel limited by your condition? If so, how? I once had a deep conversation with another man with autism, this was back in college. I worried that we where letting our lack of drive to go have new (social) experiences was making us live in a bubble, so to speak. He didn’t mind the bubble because it was comfortable. I wanted to escape. I think I ultimately did. I’ll never know if he did.
6) How can having autism have an impact on someone’s behavior? That’s a broad question that I can’t really answer, being a lay person rather than a scientist.
7) Follow-up: How can parents, teachers, etc., help someone with autism to make it through a situation that’s creating frustration for them? That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? I guess my question would be: why do they need to be in that situation? Is the point of the lesson to avoid that situation at all costs? Because that’s going to be the takeaway. If a person can’t be disciplined enough to understand that sometimes frustration is rewarded and the future is more important than the present, then there’s no point in trying to put them through such situations.
8) What is the most annoying thing anyone has ever said to you regarding autism (and why did it annoy you)? The cult of antivax. Just… everything they’ve ever said basically.
9) Do you think there is a cure for autism? More importantly, would you want to be cured of autism? Feel free to elaborate. Autism is a way of describing some people’s personalities. Cure is probably the wrong word. Some day there will be prenatal screening. That opens up a massive philosophical can of worms. I’m not a bioethicist.
10) If you could tell society anything, what would you want to say (try to keep it PG)? People on the spectrum are as unique and diverse as any other random subset of people. Imagine if every time someone who drove the car you drive, or brand of soap you use was mentioned on TV that was the very first thing they say about the person. It’d get pretty grating, wouldn’t it? “Mother accused of murdering her son, who happened to use ivory soap”