Autism Acceptance Month: My Undiagnosed Childhood Experience

Honestly, I can’t remember a time I didn’t feel different in some way. Siblings are frequently different from each other, but I always felt extra different, without every knowing exactly why. I was an overly passionate child: quick to anger, quick to cry, and quick to laugh harder than anyone around. Once I started school, the differences between me and the other children became more obvious. I remember standing on the playground in kindergarten, feeling overwhelmed and confused. The other students picked up on my differences quickly, and that’s never a good thing. Above all else, I simply couldn’t understand why I was different and what it was that other people did that was so different.

Deep pressure therapy is used to help calm the nervous system. I believe that’s what I was trying to achieve here, as a toddler.
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Perspective on an Undiagnosed Childhood: Autism Isn’t Stereotypes

It’s Autism Acceptance Month! To learn more about what that is, exactly, please see my intro post from this year and this post from last year.

Today we have a very special post from my friend, Vanessa Matelski! Vanessa draws chronic illness comics as PotsieSpoons. She uses the comics to show various aspects of her life. Vanessa is also autistic, and I wanted her to provide her perspective on autism and how it impacted her before diagnosis. I hope you enjoy reading this post as much as I did! Please check out both her website and Instagram!

Vanessa, PotsieSpoons

All of the images in this article were created by Vanessa! Make sure you follow her on Instagram (@potsiespoons) to see all of her fantastic illustrations and comics!

Read Her STory, Here:

Autism Acceptance Month 2019: Why It’s Important and What I’m Doing

It’s April! That means it is Autism Acceptance Month! Notice I’m saying “acceptance” and not “awareness.” I wrote more about that last year, but it’s worth repeating: “acceptance” and “awareness” are not the same! Almost everyone is aware that autism is a thing and it exists. Unfortunately, due to a lot of marketing propaganda, a lot of people believe it is something that should be eradicated or is “evil” (this post by another author addresses this). That is simply false. Autism is, put as simply as possible, a difference in how an individual processes the world.

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Neuropsychology Testing and Diagnoses: ASD, Depression, and ADHD

At the end of April, I underwent 10 hours (over a three day period) of neuropsychological testing and interviewing. Obviously, to go through the data of 10 hours of testing takes a while, so I had to wait until June 5th to get my results. Only a very small part of the results were actually a surprise, and none of it was bad news.

autism-1417942_1920I was officially diagnosed on the autism spectrum! Yes, this is good news for me, and validates the “I think my brain works differently than the average population” feeling I’ve had my entire life. My official diagnosis is “autism spectrum disorder, level 1, without significant language or intellectual impairment” (because they like to make diagnosis names as long as possible). I’ll get more into the details of this diagnosis below.

I was also given a secondary diagnosis of “other specified depressive disorder,” which seems to essentially just be a moderate and persistent depression that doesn’t fit the diagnostic criteria for other depressive disorders; this wasn’t a surprise at all because I have had depression since I was in late elementary school (maybe about 10 years old), and have been treated off and on for years. Continue reading