Trying something new here, folks. I was speaking with a fellow Spectrum parent recently and he kindly agreed to do a Q&A with me, a sort of interview if you will. There are people who make assumptions about ASD and need to hear the truth about us–from us. Sharing our perspectives is also helpful for people with Autism who need to know there are others like them.
Here it is:
TPM: When did you first find out you were on the Autism Spectrum?
L.E.: I found out last year after a lot of tests that I am on the spectrum.
How did you feel when you found out?
I have to say after finding this out, my life really made sense to me for the first time. It was freeing knowing that why I react and how I react to certain things is normal for people on the spectrum, as opposed to people thinking I am a psychopath (including myself). Such as seeing the world in black or white, good or bad, wrong or right, however you want to say it.
Name something you like about being on the Spectrum.
I can smell and hear things others seem to either ignore or not notice. Four years ago I woke up to a burning smell that burnt the inside of my nose, and I followed it down to our basement where a candle my girlfriend had burning that day had started paper nearby on fire. (Our bedroom was three floors away). I could also hear the microwave shorting out due to a frayed wire inside arcing across to another wire.
What do you struggle with as a Spectrum parent?
[My kids] present a lot of things I don’t know how to cope with and me being on the edge of losing it emotionally is a struggle I have. I seem to mimic the fear, anger, or frustration they seem to be feeling, with no way to pull it back inside myself.
What is one way that ASD makes you a better parent?
ASD makes me a better parent by allowing me to hear everything they are doing, though they hate it. It also allows me to clue in on little things. Such as body language (very important with a non-verbal son)–a tilt of the head, position of an elbow or look at an object can mean everything to him and can be the difference between him getting what he needs and wants, and a melt down because we don’t understand him.
Is there anything about Autism that you’d like to tell non-Autistic people?
Everyone on the spectrum is different and we each deal with things the best we can. We want to be understood, loved, wanted, and needed. We just need someone with an open mind and heart to really see us.
Thanks L.E., for giving us a glimpse into your experiences with ASD!
If you would be interested in answering a few short questions for an interview like this one, please let me know in a comment below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you!