Why I Believe My Autism Wasn't 'Picked Up' Earlier

Usually, when you hear of someone being diagnosed with autism, it’s a young child. I was not diagnosed until just three years ago, when I was 31 years old.

“Why was it not picked up earlier?” you may ask. Well, I think one of the main factors for me is I have always been very social. The trouble with autism stereotypes is that they are just that: stereotypes. There’s this notion that all autistics are not social beings and won’t look people in the eye. That couldn’t be further from the truth in my case!

Since I was little, I’ve known no stranger. I would go up to anyone and strike up a conversation. Eye contact has never been an issue for me. Yet, I’m still autistic. How is this? The answer lies in the way I communicate. For example, most kids of 9 wouldn’t go around asking everyone their shoe size. While I love to chat, I often don’t pick up on nuances. Jokes fly over my head in most cases. Hidden agendas? Forget it. I can’t spot a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

The next time you find yourself meeting someone seemingly socially proficient whom you find out is autistic, don’t be surprised! We come in all types and forms. While some of us are shy, others are not. After all, when you’ve met one autistic, you’ve met one autistic!

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Thinkstock photo by Mike Watson Images

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