I suppose I should share a bit about my story,
As a young child I was severely autistic – non-verbal, unable to communicate in any form and totally lost in my own world. Nobody knew what the issue was because little was known about autism at the time.
At about the age of five I had a turn-around, becoming aware of my environment and the people around me, and having at least some speech capability. Though at one time I could only communicate by copying what I’d heard someone else say if I thought it fit the situation. This was problematic for a kid who was raised on Montey Python and didn’t understand half of the blue-collar English phrases that he repeated to complete strangers.
Because little was known of autism, I was not diagnosed until about the age of eight, and by then I had developed so much that I was diagnosed as having Asperger Syndrome (A.S.) – or what some might call “high-functioning autism.”
By then I still had an imaginary world I could get lost in, but had a greater awareness that it was in-fact my imagination, and I could slip into and out of it at will. Sometimes when my mother needed to talk to me it was quite a struggle to get me back into the real world. Eye-contact had an effect but I avoided it when I could.
From what I understand, the main social difference between someone with autism and someone with A.S. is that an autistic has few to zero methods of interacting with others, wheras someone with A.S. has the ability to interact but an habitual disposition to not want to.
I had been developing gradually throughout my teen years, always a few years behind my age group in terms of social interaction. Now that I’m actually spending more time with my own age group I’m having opportunities to learn about the conventions of peer interaction, and I’m encountering a surprising amount of grace for my unfamiliarity with the whole thing. Perhaps shows like The Big Bang Theory and Community are paving the way for people with my unusual social tendencies.
It’s been reported that the age of five was also the first time I became open to Jesus Christ in my life. It’s annoying not knowing if that or the psychological development happened first. I don’t know if the awareness of my surroundings was necessary for me to understand the concept of a Saviour, or if it was the involvement of the Holy Spirit that enabled me to make that psychological progress. I know to some people that doesn’t matter, but I’m an analyzer – dagnabit! – I wanna study these things. But either way, it’s evident that God had his hand on me at that particular time in my life, and he’s been helping me ever since.
“I’m an analyzer – dagnabit! – I wanna study these things.”
I know what you mean! 😀
Ahhh, Monty Python. You know, we’ve had to teach our NT kids not to use Python for regular conversation…but we can’t get them to cease doing silly walks as we enter the Wal-Mart, and I mean my 14-year-old as well as my 8-year-old. 🙂
“we can’t get them to cease doing silly walks as we enter the Wal-Mart, and I mean my 14-year-old as well as my 8-year-old”
But do they put hankies on their heads and shout for the doctor? 🙂
Interesting, You know, I’m quite familiar with Autism seeing as I know quite a few people who are autistic but Asperger Syndrome is something that I only heard of after having learned about you from Shanks. So this is something that interests me, I like learning about new things. 😀
Also, I agree with what you said about The Big Bang Theory and Community, People like Raj and Abed definitely give more awareness to things like this. Personally, I can relate to them most, I’m someone who often ends up observing people’s social tendencies from the outside looking in, whether it’s because I choose to or because it’s just a habit of mine. So I can see where that comes into play with A.S.
Yes, a few people who’ve met me have related me to Sheldon or Abed, though I’d like to think I’m not as much of a jerk as Sheldon. But social conventions are certainly foreign language to me.
My own family has even compared me to Cameron from Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles. In one episode she was even diagnosed with A.S. by a psychiatrist. We all burst out laughing.
I love your story Ben!! Keep ’em coming….
Thanks for sharing your experiences of living with autism, Ben! You are creating awareness about autism / Aspergers, which is great!
lol I so remember that episode, it made me laugh too. Cameron is one of the characters who act most like you (second only to Abed). At least all the chars that you can relate to are likable.
The ones I related to are always jerks, lol.
Yeah, there aren’t many characters that I can relate to since I’m not a jock and I don’t look like a typical nerd. But there’s a butt-load of jerk characters out there. 🙂
Thank you for sharing your story. It helps to understand when I meet people who have autism or aspergers syndrome.