Issues with autism diagnosis and perception

Posted by Ginger, Volunteer Mentor @gingerw, Mar 4 10:22am

Here are two articles I received in my inbox this morning. What are your thoughts? Do you feel the same way? Will you be able to use these articles to start meaningful conversations with your family/friends/coworkers?

– 4 Things No One Tells You About Autism https://themighty.com/2020/01/autism-things-no-one-tells-you/

– When I Thought of Autism, I Never Thought of Someone Like Me https://themighty.com/2020/01/autism-undiagnosed-woman/

As an adult diagnosed less than 10 years ago, there were so many things here that resonated with me, and had my head nodding in agreement. In looking back, my strengths in work environments were “classic” traits and has helped me understand why there was so much opposition to me by coworkers.

I look forward to input from this Mayo Connect community, fellow auties and neurotypical people alike!
Ginger

Hi, @gingerw – I noted one of the issues talked about in another discussion thread in the Connect Autism group came up again in one of your articles here, gingerw – that not all autistic people are alike. How very important to remember. I also see this statement below in the article from The Mighty, and I'm wondering if @auntieoakley @mamacita @usernameca might respond. I also thought that @merpreb @abmac @stephanieann @starkl and @hopeful33250 may have some thoughts on this:

"It’s OK to be autistic. This one might be biased but there seems to be an attitude out there that it’s not OK to be autistic as it’s “wrong” and people with autism / autistic people need to hide who they are or should want to be cured. I’m here to tell you that it’s perfectly OK to be autistic; it’s OK to be yourself."

Interestingly, this is similar in many ways to what I found many people seemed to think for the years when I was single, especially ages 23 to about 33 when I began seriously dating and then married my husband. I have remarked to others that single people do not need to be "cured," that they can be just fine and enjoying life as they are. I felt that too many people (well-meaning, of course), seemed to treat me like I needed to be fixed, like I wasn't acceptable as I was, unmarried, and were looking to fix me up with someone.

I do realize that being single in marital status and having a diagnosis of autism are not at all alike, but it touches on a similar issue: Are you okay as you are? Is something wrong with you?

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@lisalucier

Hi, @gingerw – I noted one of the issues talked about in another discussion thread in the Connect Autism group came up again in one of your articles here, gingerw – that not all autistic people are alike. How very important to remember. I also see this statement below in the article from The Mighty, and I'm wondering if @auntieoakley @mamacita @usernameca might respond. I also thought that @merpreb @abmac @stephanieann @starkl and @hopeful33250 may have some thoughts on this:

"It’s OK to be autistic. This one might be biased but there seems to be an attitude out there that it’s not OK to be autistic as it’s “wrong” and people with autism / autistic people need to hide who they are or should want to be cured. I’m here to tell you that it’s perfectly OK to be autistic; it’s OK to be yourself."

Interestingly, this is similar in many ways to what I found many people seemed to think for the years when I was single, especially ages 23 to about 33 when I began seriously dating and then married my husband. I have remarked to others that single people do not need to be "cured," that they can be just fine and enjoying life as they are. I felt that too many people (well-meaning, of course), seemed to treat me like I needed to be fixed, like I wasn't acceptable as I was, unmarried, and were looking to fix me up with someone.

I do realize that being single in marital status and having a diagnosis of autism are not at all alike, but it touches on a similar issue: Are you okay as you are? Is something wrong with you?

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@lisalucier There have been many times in my life when people have told me that my line of thinking/acting wasn't "correct". At age 13 when I had decided I would not have children, the reaction was "that's not fulfilling your role as a woman", or "that's un-American", or "why would you want to be childless?". I got that same reaction years later as I tried to find a medical professional for female sterilization. Remember, this was in the early 70s.

When I chose to follow my heart in lines of work I did for careers, the reaction was rarely positive, as those paths were not the norm of the majority. So, being different has been part of my life all along.

I feel great the way I am, and have no regrets for my life choices.
Ginger

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@lisalucier– Good morning. Are we talking about autism and how it feels when people don't understand or are we talking about just feeling and being different? I don't know of anyone, and I mean anyone who hasn't felt different in some way during their life. However, I can't imagine that it comes close to feeling and being different because of a physical or mental disability.

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@merpreb

@lisalucier– Good morning. Are we talking about autism and how it feels when people don't understand or are we talking about just feeling and being different? I don't know of anyone, and I mean anyone who hasn't felt different in some way during their life. However, I can't imagine that it comes close to feeling and being different because of a physical or mental disability.

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About autism, @merpreb.

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@lisalucier

@lisalucier – i'm not sure I understand your question since everyone on this thread is autistic I think. Are you asking how people with autism have felt different in the past?

Liked by lioness

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@merpreb

@lisalucier – i'm not sure I understand your question since everyone on this thread is autistic I think. Are you asking how people with autism have felt different in the past?

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@merprwb and all – I'm requesting any thoughts on this quote from one of @gingerw's articles:

"It’s OK to be autistic. This one might be biased but there seems to be an attitude out there that it’s not OK to be autistic as it’s “wrong” and people with autism / autistic people need to hide who they are or should want to be cured. I’m here to tell you that it’s perfectly OK to be autistic; it’s OK to be yourself."

If you have thoughts on other points from the articles. gingerw shared regarding autism, they are also most welcome.

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@gingerw

@lisalucier There have been many times in my life when people have told me that my line of thinking/acting wasn't "correct". At age 13 when I had decided I would not have children, the reaction was "that's not fulfilling your role as a woman", or "that's un-American", or "why would you want to be childless?". I got that same reaction years later as I tried to find a medical professional for female sterilization. Remember, this was in the early 70s.

When I chose to follow my heart in lines of work I did for careers, the reaction was rarely positive, as those paths were not the norm of the majority. So, being different has been part of my life all along.

I feel great the way I am, and have no regrets for my life choices.
Ginger

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@gingerw– Few people can say this Ginger. You are a model for eveyone. We should all follow our hearts in what we want.

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@merpreb

@gingerw– Few people can say this Ginger. You are a model for eveyone. We should all follow our hearts in what we want.

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@merpreb Thank you. I believe people are stronger than they give themselves credit for. I knew I simply was not made to follow. As it became clearer to me and the autism diagnosis came about, it all made so much sense.
Ginger

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@gingerw, @lisalucier – I don't feel that I should comment here because I don't know what it feels like to be autistic.

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Hi, @gingerw – will you share more about what points in these two articles about autism resonated with you?

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@lisalucier

Hi, @gingerw – will you share more about what points in these two articles about autism resonated with you?

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@lisalucier One of the major points is the sentence "It’s OK to be autistic." Society as a whole places a lot of emphasis on pigeonholing people, often looking down on those who are not in the mainstream [whatever that might be!] I do not wear a sign around my neck advertising the fact I am on the spectrum, but I do not shirk from it. I am who I am, and have finally valued myself enough to not mask [as much] and be honest to my own self/Self.

In the second article, a very accurate fact is made that as a person on the autism spectrum, I process things differently, in almost all aspects. It makes the abilities I do have and work with, more successful. It has helped me understand the "whys" and the reasons for certain reactions I see in myself and others.
Ginger

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