I have been asked by many why I write?
Especially when to most who read my work I am anonymous.
I write because it helps me process things.
Often writing helps me see the bigger picture, it helps me look at a situation from different perspectives. Writing helps me make sense of what is often a very confusing world.
I write because I quite literally see words in my head as if they were print on a PC monitor that grows bigger and bigger until I let the words out.
I write with the hope that by sharing my experiences and insight I might make the world seem a little less lonely for others struggling to come to terms with a diagnosis of ASD particularly for those who like me made it to thirty or beyond before learning who they really are.
I write with the hope of removing some of the shame and negativity that surrounds the stereotypical view society presents of those with autism.
I write because I can write about the things I want people to know about but would struggle to say verbally. The things that when I try to talk, make all my words come out wrong or the things that I have an irrational fear that if I were to actually talk about them the world would end. I am still working on solving that one!
By writing I can open up a conversation I would otherwise be at a loss how to begin.
To have a diagnosis of ASD you have to have some significant difficulties with communication and social interactions, those difficulties are overcome for me when I write.
When I write I don’t have to worry about eye contact, I don’t have to remember to ask corresponding questions, I don’t have to sit on my hands, I don’t have to wear my mask. I can be the real me. I can speak with my true voice.
I have found it so frustrating too, having people telling me how it feels or how it feels for my children to be on the spectrum when they themselves don’t have ASD. That is not to say there are not amazing people out there who are not on the spectrum that do understand. It is just I strongly believe if you truly want to know how it feels to be a child or adult with autism then the most accurate description is going to come from another who has already walked in a child or adult with autism’s shoes.
A prime example is I screw up at job interviews quite spectacularly actually because when stressed I take questions very literally and answer them all wrongly as a result. You can’t understand my frustration at this unless you have been there, I also have some processing difficulties which mean it occurs to me usually about twelve hours later just how much I screwed up. So for twelve hours I am under the illusion I have a chance. Then my world crashes down around me.
Yet most who know me would be surprised to learn this is an issue for me because on the face of it I have excellent communication skills!!!
As with most things in my life I have gone about things back to front, my youngest child was the first in my family to be diagnosed as having ASD, I received my own diagnosis four and a half years later. Another of my children received their diagnosis somewhere in between myself and my youngest.
Instinctively thought I have always felt best placed to understand my children on a higher level other than just being their mother, I connect easily with other children with ASD outwith my family and without really trying. In some ways it is almost like we (others wit ASD) have a unique ability to understand each other, often without a need for words. I frequently find the answers to problems that actually work for myself and children as opposed to the well meant strategies pushed at us by well meaning professionals who think they understand our world.
That is why I share what I write because if I can get just one person to really see and understand the world from the point of view of someone on the spectrum then I will have made a difference. I wrote a piece a few weeks ago, about an analogy that compares a day at school for a child with autism to a can of coke that gets shaken throughout the day and then explodes on opening.
Teachers and professionals have read that post, I have received so much positive feedback from those that read it because before some parents, teachers and professionals didn’t understand because no one had explained it from the perspective of someone who was a child with ASD instead the information they had was often assumed. I opened lines of communication providing an opportunity to really explore the difficulties a child faces. In response I wrote a piece about how simple changes could make a child with autism’s life at school easier.
If the world is to become truly autism friendly then the first step is to understand, followed by acceptance.
That is why I write, in the hope of contributing to a world where autism is understood and accepted. Where those belonging to a different neurotribe are celebrated for their differences instead of feared.