I am an autistic adult. I was diagnosed with autism ten years ago while I was an undergraduate student. I’ve worked with many children with autism since I was diagnosed but the only autistic adults I know of are those who have written books. I know no adults with autism personally. I used to work for a company that provides ABA therapy for children with autism but no one there had met or worked with an autistic adult. This became clear to me very quickly. They had no idea how to accommodate my disabilities and had no mental framework for how an adult with autism functions. While I worked for them I came to realize in a very acute manner that no one has any idea what to do with autistic adults who can generally get along in the world with enough success to not be noticed as they struggle.
It seems that autism ends when a child with a nominal IQ and sufficient self care skills leaves the public education system. But that’s not true for the parents or the individuals with autism. I can’t offer any impressions as a parent as I do not have (and will never have) children. I can speak for my own experience. There are commonalities with the experiences of other adults with autism but everyone’s autism is unique. What I relate isn’t gospel or evidence based. Its just my anecdotal experiences. I may not have been diagnosed until I was in my twenties but I knew something was very wrong with me as early as six years old. I was different in some way I couldn’t pinpoint and no one else seemed to know what it was either.
I was fortunate to go to a university that offered great psychological services for students. I’m even more fortunate to have a long time friend (one of very few) who helped and continues to help me understand myself and how to function in this world that is not built for me. I’m fortunate that medications help with some of my comorbid conditions. What I hope for from this blog is to help people realize that while I am out in the world I am very much apart from it. I hope that the world comes to know the struggles of adults with autism. I hope both sides can come together so that as a new generation of children with autism become adults their struggles can be understood and hopefully remediated.
That’s all for now. More to come soon.