Today is Autism Awareness Day.
And, coincidentally, also Children’s Book Day. I like that, since I love reading and I like many children’s books, still.
I actually feel like a child in many ways. Instinctively, I associate myself with children rather than adults, and emotionally, I’d guess my age at something between 9 and 17. I’m overwhelmed by the complexity of adult life, stubborn with complicated formalities and I have to struggle a lot to do things I deem meaningless – but which have to be done due to social or formal reasons.
I can be enthusiastic about toys, games, childish jokes and I absolutely love my plush doll collection.
But this is about autism awareness.
Since receiving my diagnosis, I’ve been feeling more relaxed and content. I know it doesn’t really change anything; I haven’t applied for any support or care, because my parents and my boyfriend currently provide all the support and care I need. But it did make a difference for me personally. It feels right.
Although I often challenge the diagnosis. I ask myself stupid questions like “wasn’t that a very un-autistic thought?” or “would someone with autism really have done/said/felt that?”. I know there’s no real comparison. Even with diagnosed Asperger’s sydrome, I’m not a sum of symptoms. And I do have very “normal” characteristics – but I also have very “autistic” traits. I just usually don’t notice that because no one in my immediate surrounding provides any triggers – they all accept me with my quirks and don’t expect me to be like any other 29-year-old.
When I do interact with someone close to my age, I am suddenly very aware of how different I seem to function. But that is my “awareness”. What about the others’? Autism spectrum disorders are invisible as far as physical traits are concerned. Sometimes I want to tell those outside-people: I’m not weird, I’m autistic and just because you don’t notice the challenges I overcome, it doesn’t mean I can’t be proud of it.
But would that help? Do I WANT people to know? Will they then still see that I am more than a collection of symptoms?
I’m applying for graduate studies at a new university. I’m wondering if I should make them aware of my AS. I probably will as I DO have troubles with some types of examination, especially if it includes group work and participation in seminars.