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Why Having So-Called 'High Functioning' Autism Is Hard

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Having autism isn’t easy for me. Once you’re born with autism, there’s no way to change it. My autism is often described as “high functioning.” However, this actually leads to struggles and tough situations. When I leave my apartment every day of my life whether it’s to go to work or anywhere else, people who see me or talk to me think “he’s a ‘normal’ person.” People have told my father “there’s no way he has autism.” When it comes to people who give me services for autism, the only reason they know is because of the job they do. If they weren’t working with me, I don’t think they wouldn’t see me as someone with autism.

The struggles I have include finding a girlfriend, making friends without autism, and thinking of myself as a man without autism. I’m more than capable of finding a girlfriend, but when I present myself as someone with autism, it turns most girls off. Girls don’t notice I have autism and girls I’ve found very attractive don’t see me as someone with autism. However, if I tell them I have autism before asking them out, they will think twice before agreeing to go on a date with me. They treat me differently.

I have a lot going for me. I have a good job, car, own apartment, travel on my own, and do everything independently. However, if I tell someone I have autism, they look at me like they don’t believe what I really have going for me. They assume I may not have a job, car, my own place etc. I’ve lived in an independent living home before, a program to help teach people with autism to live independently. I’ve been asked a few times, “did you really need that program?” One of those times was on a date with someone. I’ve been questioned about other services I’ve received in the past and once again, they questioned if I really needed those services.

I have friends whose autism is more visible. I enjoy my friends’ company very much. I’m very blessed to have each and every one of them. However, I’m open to making friends without autism too. I’ve been told by people to think of myself as a man without autism and my life will change forever. If I started selling myself as a man without autism, maybe I’d find the woman of my dreams faster and make more friends without autism. However, having autism is a part of me and I don’t want to be ashamed of it.

Getty image by Twinster Photo.

Originally published: June 11, 2018
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