So many people when they think of autism imagine a child and lots of charities we see on social media are all focused around kids. There are many different types of autism. When we think of an adult with autism we immediately think of rain man……….
I have autism……..
I was diagnosed only a few years ago.
I am a woman………
I make eye contact when I talk, I can’t be autistic!……..
This is what I have heard from family/friends. Not that long ago it was thought that only boys could be autistic???
I am a high functioning autistic(aspergers) This name high functioning let’s people believe that if you are high functioning then you are OK and it is less of a struggle than low functioning.
Answer to that is a big NO! Every day is a struggle for us. Women are often diagnosed later in life due to our great ability of masking. To fit in we are like actors playing different parts. We, for years have mimicked what neurotypical do to fit in. Small talk is an inbuilt mechanism which comes naturally to neurotypicals. We have no idea what to say, when is it our turn to talk or even understanding facial expressions we always take things literally and often appear rude interrupting conversations or changing the subject . We are not being rude we are trying so hard to listen and take it all in especially in a noisy environment when we can have sensory issues and get overwhelmed. I myself also have adhd which was diagnosed before asd. The way adhd affects me is that I have soo many things going on in my head that I find it difficult to switch off from them. All of a sudden I will but in and say. ‘So sorry to interrupt, but I really need to tell you this before I forget’ To my friends they understand, and to strangers it comes across as being rude and that I obviously wasn’t listening to the chat as having said something completely off topic!
‘Special interests’ males tend to have unusual hobbies which are noted. Females on the other hand – well they love dogs, horses, dolls… All the things we expect girls to like so this is never an issue. We are also quiet in school, too busy daydreaming in the back of the class. We don’t really have many friends as we just don’t quite fit in. This upsets girls but boys often really don’t care……
These years of trying to fit in certainly take there toll on ones mental and physical health and it is not unusual to find women suffering from fybromyalgia, anxiety and depression, myself included. Often it is only when they have a child there self who is autistic that they begin to ask questions things. – lots of autistics have a very high IQ but struggle with everyday tasks such as time keeping, distract ability even things like loading the dishwasher struggle with sorting out laundry, prioritising. Things get even more difficult if we decide to have kids! It can be so difficult trying to organise oneself without having to look after others! neurotypical find hard enough being a first time mum!! Each person is different just like neurotypicals we do not all fit in the same box!
Some people are great with numbers, I on the other hand have discalcula. I always thought I was stupid at school as l couldn’t even do simple arithmetic. Teachers told me I always made the problem more difficult than it was. I struggle with writing long numbers getting them mixed up. For example phone numbers. I write them down carefully and check it’s all OK then carefully put it into my phone and low and behold I still have the wrong number! Never knew this existed until recently. It is problems with numbers instead of being dyslexic which is problems with letters…….
Anyway I shall be writing more on this subject later but at the moment I am being distracted by my boys shouting for breakfast and two of my dogs playfighting at me feet! 😊