Taking Pride in My Autism

As a child, and well into my 20s, I’d become “overexcited,” spinning in circles on the hardwood living room floor in front of my parents, flapping my hands with excitement, dancing in circles, sliding side-to-side. I’d scream and cry when certain sounds came on the TV, and have meltdowns when my shoes didn’t feel right or I had to wear certain materials. Someone actually took a picture of one of my meltdowns over ill-fitting shoes.

My autism wasn’t acknowledged throughout my life, until just recently. My mother was once told I was autistic by doctors, but she chose not to believe it and said to me, “You’re artistic, Charlie.” That was one of my many nicknames.

I still have these moments, but now I don’t feel ashamed of them. I no longer believe I must act “normal” or neurotypical. I’m much better when it comes to clothing now, but that’s mainly because I can choose my own. A nose tic I’ve had all of my life is no longer a mystery, as many people with autism can have tics. Everything has fallen into place due to a couple of observant professionals. I can’t be thankful enough.

I take pride in stimming, especially at home or in the car (a place where I need extra calm). I’ve made my own sensory toys and bought some as well.

Though my autism diagnosis wasn’t acknowledged in my younger years, I was in special education. It was the right kind of education for me. I thrived there. Not everyone learns the same. I process slowly, and at the new alternative school, I didn’t have to listen to lectures. I basically got to choose my own courses, and they were mostly dealing with abnormal psychology.

I have lived my life acknowledging I was probably an “Aspie” on and off, until one day a sociologist said, “You’re autistic, aren’t you?” I was blown away.

My point is, special is amazing. If you are a parent with an autistic child, I hope you realize that. If you are autistic, I also hope you realize that.

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