Have you ever thought about the pros and cons of getting an early autism diagnosis? As someone who was diagnosed with high-functioning autism in their late 20’s, I’ve thought about it quite a bit. I thought I would share a few of the pros and cons I’ve considered, but please be aware that these are my personal opinions and come from someone diagnosed with aspergers, so they may not apply to all situations or forms of autism. By the way, when I say “early autism diagnosis” what I generally mean is someone who is diagnosed in childhood, so they grow up knowing they have the condition and with access to services for the condition, as opposed to people who are diagnosed as adults and had to make it through childhood “blindly” in a sense.
Getting a childhood diagnosis opens up a world of support services and other helpful aids to you and your family. From school services to counseling and help with understanding social situations, the information and guidance offered can be immeasurable.
You understand from a young age what struggles you are dealing with. You have insight into where you likely have weaknesses and where you may need to work extra hard to succeed.
Your family, friends, and teachers understand your sensory issues and give you more leeway in how you react. In other words, you won’t get punished for being terrified of the sound of balloons popping and overreacting by yelling and crying, like I did in 4th grade 😦
A diagnosis of aspergers or high-functioning autism allows you to understand why you may feel so different from your peers. Growing up, I always felt like I was different, REALLY different, especially once I hit middle school and all my friends were into boys, makeup, clothes, and their social lives, and I couldn’t care less about any of it. It would have been nice to have known why I felt like such a misfit. To know that it wasn’t anything wrong with me, it was just the way I was made.
Being labeled with a disability from a young age can have a disheartening effect on a child. If the parents, teachers, and other adults around the child aren’t careful, the child can start to feel like they are “broken” or that they can’t do things that the “normal” kids can do. The worse cases of this I’ve seen personally are where the parents make excuses for their kids to the point that the kids never really have to work at anything. That isn’t good for anyone.
I wish it weren’t true, but being publicly labeled with autism can cause you to be bullied, mistreated, or left out by the other kids. I believe this is slowly improving, but we still have a long way to go. My husband is a special education teacher, and kids with special needs are still often isolated and can still be victims of social mockery. Unfortunately, it is somewhat human nature to exclude the “others” or the “outsiders”. We really need to work on that as a species.
Perhaps one of the best (and hardest) parts of growing up without a diagnosis is that you must learn to adapt. No one makes excuses for you. No one makes exceptions for you. No one medicates your problems away. I had to learn self-control, coping strategies, adaptive behaviors, and come up with creative ways to make life work. Was it hard? Hell yes! Was it good for me overall? Undoubtedly. It made me stronger and more able to cope with the stresses of the real world, which isn’t nearly as kind as school. With an early diagnosis, I would have missed out on those character building struggles.
So there are a few of my personal views on pros/cons of getting an early autism diagnosis. If you have any pros/cons of your own to share or want to share your opinion, please comment below! I would love to hear from you!
So here is a sneak peek into what it is like to live with autism and sensory integration issues. Recently we bought some new bath towels because some of our old ones are in pretty bad shape. I love the bright new royal and navy blue towels we bought, but I can’t stand to use them yet. Why? They aren’t coarse enough yet.
You see, if I use a towel that is fluffy and soft, my body doesn’t like the feel of it, and even worse, I never feel like it is drying me – even though it is. It makes the whole bathing experience feel incomplete and messed up. I have to use the old, ragged towels until the new towels have been used by my husband and washed enough times that they lose their fluffy softness, so I can stand the feel of the fibers against my skin after a bath.
It probably sounds minor to you, but it is hard for me to see those beautiful new towels and know that I can’t use them or it will drive me crazy. I don’t want to use the faded, ugly ones, but they do provide a superior drying experience. Ugh, I know – first world autistic problems, right? But it is annoying.
Last night I was talking to someone online when my memory was sparked about an amusing email letter I sent years ago to Wright Patterson Air Force Base, located here in Dayton. The letter was semi-serious and semi-trolling I suppose. I wanted it to be ridiculously humorous and maybe make the office staff who ended up reading it chuckle, but I was serious about the fact that I have always had an interest in the topic of aliens.
To my surprise, I found that I still had the email letter in my archive, so I thought I would share it now, just for laughs. Here is what I actually wrote and sent to the Air Force question box years ago lol:
“Hello! I know this might sound kind of like a joke, but it really isn’t. I’ve always been interested in aliens, UFO’s, and other paranormal stuff, and I hear you probably have aliens and/or UFO spacecrafts hidden on your base in underground tunnels or hangars or whatever.
I wanted to offer my services if you could use them in regards to your alien research/projects. I would prefer to work with greys I think (I hear they are the more intellectual and non-violent of the known alien species). Reptilians seem a bit hardcore.
I’m not sure what I could actually do to help, but maybe there is something? Perhaps I might be able to understand or relate to them since I myself am an RH Negative blood type and there seems to be some belief that we may be descended from aliens ourselves.
Also, I have been diagnosed with high-functioning autism, which some people think is some alien-related kind of human evolution. I don’t really like people much, so am great at keeping secrets.”
I never did get an official response, but I’m sure this probably got me put onto several lists…
Been feeling stressed. I don’t know if it is because I am autistic or just part of my personality, but even the smallest changes to my routine tend to throw me off and cause a lot of anxiety…and the holidays seem to be filled with those kinds of routine manglers.
For instance, tonight I have a friend’s Yule party to go to and tomorrow I am supposed to meet my mom for an early Christmas dinner/present exchange. Part of me is looking forward to these events and even wants to go, but part of me is stressed out and just wants to go back to bed and hide under the covers until the weekend is over.
All the anxiety takes a physical toll too. It turns my tummy into a wreck and brings on headaches that can easily slip into migraines if I’m not careful. The anxiety last night about the events this weekend was so bad that it did give me a migraine, so I had to take my migraine prescription. Hoping that won’t happen again.
I often tend to think depression is worse than anxiety because its symptoms are more obvious and immediate, but I think I underestimate the compounding ability of high anxiety.
Today was a busy day, so I am posting kind of late. I figured I would just share a couple fun, slightly weird drawings I did not too long ago. The first was inspired by a Youtuber I sometimes listen to and the other picture was inspired by the unicorn from Despicable Me. Both are obviously abstract and not directly representative of the subjects that inspired them lol:
This week has been stressful. I’m not sure if I’m just overreacting to things because I’m autistic and hypersensitive to everything (especially changes in routine), or if this would even throw many normal people off their game, but since Monday:
I had to wait hours at the BMV to renew my driver’s license and then sweat it out when they weren’t sure if my two forms of address verification were acceptable. (Thank God they ended up accepting them in the end so I didn’t have to do the whole process over again.)
Our electricity went out Monday night (along with 3,000 other homes and businesses in the area, eventually they did get it restored.)
My husband’s birthday was on Monday and I ended up going to 4 different stores looking for a birthday balloon for him because everyone was out 😦
My psychiatrist appointment got moved up today from 3pm to 2pm which meant I had to alert my husband who drives me. He then had to check to see if the school could get a substitute teacher in earlier to relieve him so he could take me.
I almost got kicked off Instagram again (I got warnings again but luckily they haven’t kicked me off yet. I think I may have discovered the issue. I have used an app to track unfollowers and I think that might be what they were picking up on as a “3rd party”. So, I’m just not going to use that app right now.)
The last few days have been rough. I’ve been dealing with dark, obsessive thoughts that I know aren’t healthy for me to dwell on. Dark thoughts of restlessness, dark thoughts of jealousy and resentment, dark thoughts about relationships and craving attention, and dark thoughts about life and death. Craving attention might not sound like such a bad thing, but the negative part is some of the twisted ways my brain comes up with to get it. Luckily, I don’t act on these dark thoughts, so I must have a good amount of self-control, but the obsessiveness of the thought patterns bother me.
I feel a little bit like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde at times (which I actually reread recently for the first time since childhood). There is a really good side to me, but there is definitely a dark side as well, and when that dark side becomes obsessive and stuck in a groove, the intensity of my thoughts and emotions can become a bit frightening to myself.
I’m not entirely sure what causes these bouts of dark fantasizing. The ocd? The C-PTSD? Mood disorder? The anxious/avoidant attachment style I developed from a dysfunctional family system?
Today I’ve been trying to stay busy in an attempt to distract myself and it has helped some, but my brain is like a boomerang that just keeps circling back around to the same place again and again. It is exhausting to be honest.