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More Than a Diagnosis - Life with ASD

Overview

    What comes to your head when you hear the word “autism?” ASD, or otherwise known as Autism Spectrum Disorder, is a neurological disorder that affects how someone is able to communicate, function, and socialize. You see, autism is a spectrum, nobody on the spectrum acts the same or needs the exact same things. It often varies, and on the high functioning end, those who lie there often don’t get the attention they need. For one, it can go undetected. Often those like me on the high functioning end, are said to have Aspergers, which is a term for high functioning autism.

    In my situation, I was diagnosed with Aspergers at such a late age. I was 14 when it happened, and honestly that was such a ground-shaking moment in my life. Growing up, I knew I was different, and I never knew why. That day, everything became so clear. I realized there were people just like me and they have some of the very same struggles I do. But.. how do I get the help I need? I couldn’t just tell everyone, “I have Aspergers and need different things than you do.” And that was the beginning of the struggle that still continues every day as a person on the spectrum.

A Day In The Life (a good day that is)

    You see, mornings are pretty good in my house so far, but that's because we came a long way. I wake up around 5, and I shower and get dressed. The morning routine is crucial to having a good day. If I am even 2 minutes late getting out of the door, my brain gets overwhelmed and too stressed. In middle school, if I couldn’t find my homework, hell broke lose. For people on the spectrum, when something like that happens, there is no “Just breathe” or “Calm down, it’s just homework.” Our brains have a way of completely shutting down, and then often the rest of the day is incredibly hard to get back on track.

    After morning, school is next. For many similar to me, going to school is incredibly difficult. There, we face bullying, judgement and overwhelming amounts of stress. Last year, my teachers had no way to handle my needs; the result: they just left me in the dust. I felt so alone, and it was truly horrible. I dreaded going to school, and that’s luckily when I found Nova. Here, I am able to get through a day of school; by the end though, I’m completely done and ready to be home. Socializing is a very tough task for someone like me. Simple things for others such as, making eye contact, understanding facial expressions and understanding body movements doesn’t come naturally and it can cause lots of problems so trying to make friends is a pretty tough thing. What i have found helpful is when my friends ask me how I’m doing. Little check ins and asking if I’m overwhelmed can be really helpful and it let’s me know they care.

    To end this, I hope everyone keeps in mind that you do not always know a person’s life outside of school; do not judge. They could be depressed or having a family member dying. Try your best to just be a kind human, and give people the benefit of the doubt. In my eyes, I am never judged and for people similar to me, it causes incredible amounts of stress. Just remember, you don’t know what’s going on in someone’s life.
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