Final semester, 1998
Interactions online about the autism spectrum can result in a lot of heartfelt discussion…and a lot of heartfelt disagreement.
That holds true with everything I write here, no matter the specific topic. I receive some amazing, positive feedback from people. And some very pointed criticism as well.
One thing I’ve noticed is that the criticism usually breaks down into four broad categories. I thought I would summarize those four types of criticism below, along with my response to each.
I grew up in a place where, at a very early age, girls are encouraged to be “girly” and boys are encouraged to be “manly”. Like, cartoonishly so.
I was too shy and socially-disoriented to really make it happen. Early on in life, I was pretty scared of people…I couldn’t make sense of them; I just saw people as these vague, menacing specters. As a result, I needed a lot of down time. I just wanted to be alone, reading, hiding away.
In 2005, at the age of 30, I began therapy and received a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome (now Autism Spectrum Disorder). It caught me off guard, because I had gone in specifically to receive help with depression and social anxiety. A spectrum diagnosis was not on my radar, and it took me over a year to fully come to terms with the reality of it.