What it is like to have Autism

YOU HAVE TO HAVE IT TO PITY THOSE WHO DON’T. I MEAN TO SAY, SOME THINGS ARE JUST SO FUN THAT I CAN’T IMAGINE WHAT IT WOULD BE LIKE IF I DIDN’T HAVE AUTISM. FOR EXAMPLE, MUSIC IS MY FAVORITE THING IN THE WORLD. THE NOTES TURN INTO COLORS, AND THEY FLOAT IN THE AIR LIKE DUST. NOW WHEN I HEAR A SONG THAT I LOVE, IT MAKES ME REMEMBER THE WAY I FELT WHEN I WAS A BABY: SAFE AND WARM. MUSIC IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT GIFTS HUMANKIND HAS GIVEN TO THE WORLD.
 
FOR A LONG TIME, I WAS TRAPPED IN A BODY THAT WOULDN’T LET ME COMMUNICATE. PEOPLE THOUGHT I HAD NOTHING TO SAY. THEY ABUSED MY MIND BY MAKING ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT MY INTELLIGENCE. HAVING AUTISM IS A GIFT! I WOULDN’T GIVE IT UP FOR ANYTHING. I HAVE BEEN AUTISTIC FROM BIRTH. I HAVE NO OTHER MEMORY EXCEPT OF BEING AUTISTIC. MY EARLIEST MEMORY IS OF BEING HELD IN MY MOTHER’S ARMS IN THE HOSPITAL AFTER I WAS BORN.
 
MEMORIES ARE ORGANIZED IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS: FIRST, THERE ARE THOSE THAT HAVE A STRONG EMOTIONAL RESPONSE. THEY ARE QUITE POWERFUL, AND THEY CAN REACT WITH BEING HAPPY, SAD, OR SCARED. REALLY AMAZING STUFF.
 
THEN THERE ARE THOSE MEMORIES THAT EVOKE A TIME OR PLACE, LIKE THE TIME I NEEDED TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL TO FIX MY BROKEN ARM. THIS MEMORY IS SO VIVID THAT MY ARM STARTS TO ACHE IF I THINK ABOUT IT. I CAN RECALL EVERY DETAIL ABOUT THAT VISIT. OTHER MEMORIES ARE ONLY BITS AND PIECES. THEY ALL MEAN NOTHING BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO EMOTIONAL CONNECTION TO MY LIFE. NOBODY HAS A BETTER AGREEMENT WITH HIS MEMORIES THAN I. THAT IS TO SAY, REALLY, I CAN PULL UP A MEMORY BETTER THAN YOU CAN IN MINUSCULE SECONDS.
 
AUTISM HAS MADE MY VISION REALLY STRONG. I HAVE THE ABILITY TO READ A PAGE OF NEWSPAPER IN TWO SECONDS AND REMEMBER THE INFORMATION. A LOT OF MY TIME IS SPENT LOOKING AROUND AND NOTICING LITTLE DETAILS IN THE ROOM. LIKE HOW THE LIGHT OF THE SUN CHANGES WITH EACH PASSING MOMENT. HOW LITTLE SIGNS LIKE KNOWING THE WAY SOMEONE IS FEELING THAT DAY BY THE COLORS THEY EMIT. WHAT I MEAN IS THAT EVERY PERSON EMITS A GLOW DEPENDING ON THEIR MOOD. MY AUTISTIC BRAIN TRANSLATES THIS INTO A HIGH OR LOW FREQUENCY. HOW I CAN LEARN ABOUT WHAT A PERSON IS THINKING IS BY THIS COLOR. SO WHEN I SEE A PERSON WHO IS USING PURPLE, I KNOW THAT THEY ARE PISSED. WHEN I SEE BLUE, I KNOW THAT THEY ARE ANGRY. HAPPINESS IS A WARM ORANGE. SOMETHING LIKE SADNESS SHOWS UP LIKE GREY. I KNOW ABOUT YOUR MOOD AND I TRY NOT TO ABSORB IT. I TRY TO KEEP MYSELF AT A WARM ORANGE ALL THE TIME.
 
I ALSO HAVE AMAZING HEARING. I CAN HEAR HOW THE OPPOSITE HOUSE FROM OURS HAS A FIGHT OR A QUARREL. I CAN BE DISTRACTED BY THE SOUND OF A TRAIN COMING. A GOOD SOUND IS ONE THAT IS FULL OF LOW PITCH. THIS WOULD INCLUDE VOICES, MUSIC, AND THINGS LIKE A FIRE ON A COLD NIGHT. BAD SOUNDS INCLUDE THINGS LIKE BABIES CRYING, BALLOONS POPPING, AND ICE CUBES IN A GLASS.
 
SOMETIMES I GET OVERWHELMED BY THE CACOPHONY OF SOUND IN MY ENVIRONMENT. PRESSURE TO GIVE IN TO THE SOUNDSCAPE IS TOO MUCH FOR ME AT TIMES. ALL I CAN DO IT LET IT CONSUME ME, FINALLY LETTING THE SOUNDS IN. ALL I CAN DO IS JUMP IN PLACE AND LET IT WASH OVER ME. NOTHING FEELS AS GOOD AS THAT FEELING. MY CHANGING INTEREST IN SOUNDS SEEMS TO ALIGN WITH HOW I AM FEELING IN MY BODY.
 
PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT I HAVE CHALLENGES TOO. HANDWRITING IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR ME TO DO. REALLY HARD. MY BRAIN WANTS TO MOVE THE PENCIL A CERTAIN WAY, BUT MY HAND HAS OTHER IDEAS. ALSO, I CAN’T SAY ALL THE THINGS THAT ARE ON MY MIND. ALL I CAN DO IT RELY ON THE PERSON HOLDING THE LETTERBOARD.
 
LIVING LIKE THIS HAS MADE ME GIVE MORE THOUGHT TO THE WAYS IN WHICH PEOPLE LIKE ME COULD BE BETTER SUPPORTED THROUGH TECHNOLOGY. LIKE WEARING SOME SORT OF DEVICE THAT WOULD READ MY THOUGHTS AND VERBALIZE THEM FOR ME. I BELIEVE THIS SORT OF TECHNOLOGY IS COMING.
 
IT IS GREAT HOW I CAN SHARE THIS WITH YOU. MY FRIENDS, I NEED YOUR HELP. I NEED MORE PEOPLE WHO CAN READ THIS AND MAKE THE WORLD FRIENDLIER FOR AUTISTICS. I NEED MORE PEOPLE TO BE MY ALLY IN FREEING USERS OF LETTERBOARDS FROM THESE CONSTRAINTS. MAKE IT A GOAL TO CREATE CHANGE FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES TO BE INCLUDED IN REGULAR CLASSROOMS. MAKE THEM A NATURAL PART OF YOUR LIVES.
 
HOW CAN YOU BE AUTISTIC? TRY SEEING EVERYTHING DIFFERENTLY FROM HOW YOU DO AND TRY IT FROM MY PERSPECTIVE.
Advertisements