Once an Aspie, always an Aspie

I had a very Aspie day today.

On Autistic Spectrum forums (actually the word is “fora” because “forum” is Latin and its plural is “fora” but since nobody would know what I meant I left it “forums” which is incorrect) (you see what I mean?) I rant and rave about the fact that “autistic children” grow up to be “autistic adults” but everyone associates the word “autistic” with “children.”  Admit it:  I say the word “autistic,” what’s the word association that pops into your mind?  “Child” or “children,” dollars to donuts.

Anyway of course nobody on the fora disagrees with me so I can rant all I want to.  But today, after doing something socially awkward for the 20,000th time, I realized that once an Autistic Spectrum child, always an Autistic Spectrum child.  It still hurts just as bad to be excluded from a conversation that I invited myself into as it did when I would try to insinuate my undesirable self into a game of jumprope or kickball.  No one wanted to play with me because I was WEIRD.

Well, I’m still weird, and I still have trouble taking turns and waiting to be picked for Red Rover.  I never did get picked for Red Rover because I was Weird and Not Popular.  And socially awkward, and completely baffled by the behavior of other children.  It was WRONG.  It was not FAIR.  They had their cliques and I was not in any of them.

So now, when I find myself in those same sorts of uncomfortable situations when I don’t know how one is supposed to behave, and I decide to be brave and take a flyer at it and it turns out to be the wrong one, and I get those same looks, stares, and then they turn away or just leave, why, I realize that although my body has aged, I’m STILL an Autistic Child.  So maybe I shouldn’t get all bent out of shape when all the media etc. ever talks about is Autistic Children.

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  1. It’s not just autism, you hear about children with cancer and children with heart t failure you stay wondering if there are any healthy kids at all and then you realize: it’s just a scheme to take your money and using children yields better results.

  2. Sometimes, it doesn’t hurt to be a child. And let’s face it – we’re all WEIRD out here.

    • It almost never didn’t hurt ME to be a child. People were always telling me what a wonderful thing it was to be a child. When you’re locked up in prison and no one can hear you scream, it’s not nice to be an autistic child. People who had lovely carefree kittens-and-butterflies and birthday parties with cupcakes and pink dresses and Barbies, that’s not the kind of childhood we’re talking about here, my good hearted lady.

  3. this post is very insightful, very poignant. of course, Autism Spectrum disorders do not just go away as you age. And of course, no one else thinks about that, realizes that it didn’t miraculously disappear when you turned 18. i’m so sorry that no one knows, sees, that you still are so brave, strong even when you know chances are you might do the right thing, say the right words. most of us who didn’t fit in could look forward to growing up and it not mattering anymore. but that isn’t true for those with ADD or Autism Spectrum disorders–the challenges you all faced then are still present. i can’t imagine being so brave through such challenges.

    • Thank you so much, Kat. Your words mean a lot to me. I’m not that brave though. I will often ruminate for days, weeks, months or years over some real or perceived faux pas or whether somebody misunderstood me or if I misunderstood them…it’s very confusing. I wish I could just blow it off and not worry about it. Instead I just avoid people like the plague.

  4. I agree with Kat, I do believe you are brave. There are very few people who willingly acknowledge their difficulties and with a rare candour. It isn’t right that people are forgotten because they have passed beyond the ‘cute’ stage. These issues don’t simply vanish. It would be wonderful if they did but it simply highlights the double standards used by the powers that be to solicit money which they control and disenfranchise anyone over “cute’ age.
    Aimer is right too, the agencies supposedly set up to help children are not always as they seem – many just hot air in front of cameras or reporters and doing little of real substance away from them, its enough to make you ill.
    Thanks for bringing it into the light Laura. Susan x

  5. Maggie

     /  November 22, 2013

    http://gapsdiet.com/ GAPS = gut and psychology syndrome. Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride cured her child of Autism. REally good, really strong probiotics alone have had an incredible impact on the way I think and feel!!!!!!!

    • I know what you mean. Not entirely sure I buy the cure for autism thing, maybe in that case, but as a general thing I can’t imagine changing brain structure with probiotics. I do take huge doses of ultra-high quality probiotics myself, because I have a damaged small intestine. It does help a lot.

  6. Dr. S.,
    It’s interesting that you chose to work with/for children. Do you still find their behavior baffling, as an adult?

    • Not at all. They’re the only people who make any sense! Why would I want to work with grown-ups anyway? Oh I see what you mean now, that I hated other children as a child. Well, relatively speaking, as an adult, I adore children and communicate best with children and animals. In fact, I really wanted to be a veterinarian but talked myself out of it. But children are much the same, except the older ones can speak. I often mull over whether it would be better or worse if my little dog could speak. On one hand, I’d know what she wanted when she gets frustrated because I don’t know what she wants (which is usually the reason babies cry). On the other hand, she’d never shut up, so I guess I’m glad she can’t talk.

  7. I’ve always believed that veterinary medicine and pediatrics are not too dissimilar (I like double negatives). You’ve got the parents – understandably hovering and the patients – genuine, honest, and frequently non-verbal.

    • Exactly. I tend to put it in a little bit different framework: your patients can’t talk and they have freaked- out parents! Yikes!

      But really, I miss it so much. I see myself as much teacher as healer, and to be cut off from that life- source feels like a kind of soul- death.

  8. Catherine: that’s weird. Is it just that they want you to have a dx of Asperger? Because they have a drop-down menu that asks if you have been diagnosed, and I chose that one, since I have (although my psychologist changed it today!), and that was that. I would think they will have to change that, since the DSMV has done away with the dx Asperger Syndrome and replaced it with Autistic Spectrum, NOS. Sorry you didn’t have a positive experience with that. But to tell you the truth, since I’ve just joined I don’t know much about it. I’ll tell you a little secret though: in my home town (which is not where I am now) I have a good friend who has always lived about 2 blocks away. We communicate fairly requently on the computer. One day we decided to meet for coffee, after being computer friends for a couple of years. It was very uncomfortable meeting face-to-face. We avoided eye contact (of course), and couldn’t find anything to talk about, even though we always had deep conversations on the computer. We said goodbye as soon as it seemed polite to do so, and went back to being computer friends! We’ve seen each other in person a few times since, and it’s getting less uncomfortable (or more comfortable, you could say), but what an autistic relationship! Now we can laugh about it. I’m a lot happier with my computer friendships than with face-to-face because I’m always horribly anxious that I’ll make some dreadful social faux-pas, which I have done many times, and blow the whole thing out of the water and feel stupid in the bargain.

  9. You are so right. Autism is ageless. But since it has exploded in the last 25 years, you will see this move into adulthood when all the children of today are adults of tomorrow. Too late for you and other older adult persons with this condition.

    • I’m pretty sure that the explosion is due to awareness and an increase in diagnosis and labeling of “weird” or “slow” kids. They used to be lumped in with all the “developmentally disabled” that used to be called “retarded.” Hmph. I myself was told I “wasn’t college material.” Hahahaha! I’d love to run into that high school guidance counsellor now! The jerk. Good thing I didn’t pay any attention to him. But who knows how many kids and/or parents were discouraged by that kind of crap, or worse, institutionalized???

      • Due to sheer numbers I think this will change over time. Your determination and pure intelligence and drive overcame your autistic traits and other Aussies can do what you did, and do. I know some other Aussies who are professors at University. It is a good fit for the traits.


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