I previously thought that my first and only Autism diagnosis was Asperger’s Syndrome, which was diagnosed on Friday, April 12, 1996 at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s Child Psychiatric Unit. But well into my adulthood, my mother informed me that a pediatrician who once supervised her had diagnosed me with PDD-NOS* when I was 3. The aides in my elementary school classrooms may have been there for me, but I thought they were there for other kids.
I had no initial emotional reaction to my diagnosis. My diagnosis immediately helped me understand why I got angrier than most people get when yelled at. It also helped me understand why I was such a picky eater and had intolerances for things like the visual appearance of the vertical slots of the speaker grille on a toy guitar amp, the taste of most cheeses, and the tactile feel of the nonslip mats on the stairs of a waterpark ride (of course I was standing on it barefoot while lugging a HEAVY sled for use on that particular slide).
At the time, my father held a mindset that there is no such thing as a disability, and all who claim to have one are “just not trying.” It took me well into adulthood to figure out that such a mindset stems from conservative political views & has nothing to do with the fact he is a member of the Baby Boomer generation. Nor did it come out of the year 1979 when my parents met, even though I had made this analogy considering that the Americans with Disabilities Act wasn’t the law of the land until 1990.
Opportunities to meet others with my diagnosis may have existed before my adulthood, but I do not recall seeking or taking them. There were other kids at my school diagnosed elsewhere on the autism spectrum, but I was NOTHING like them! I didn’t really want to discuss my diagnosis until adulthood when I started living my all-play, no-work lifestyle that I believe most people in Orange County, CA despise me for. Now I want to educate people on how difficult it actually is for someone with Autism to make money and be accepted in the neurotypical mainstream workplace and society. I use the term “neurotypical” to refer to people who are not diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders. In my next post I will tell you about my first job.
*PDD-NOS is a diagnosis that stands for: Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified. PDD-NOS is sometimes used for individuals who do not meet the full criteria for an Autism diagnosis, but display characteristics of Autism. For more information on PDD-NOS, check out the following article: https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/pdd-nos