Sometimes I have an influx of ideas but I don’t always know how to articulate and express my train of thoughts. It is frustrating when I can’t get the right words out of my mouth. My vocabulary is limited and I take a longer time to process information and respond, which is why I am more comfortable with tasks that emphasise quality over speed. I also have problems prioritising and formulating these ideas into plans, that is poor executive functioning skills, which seems to be another autism characteristic. I currently have a number of ideas including posts I want to write about that are stuck in my brain. I can write but I don’t have the flair for writing because it takes me a lot of time and effort to be organised and eloquent (and I don’t get paid for the time I spent on my blog). You can ask me a question now and I will still be replaying our conversation a week after, thinking how I could have responded better. This is why I only schedule, at the minimum, a post per week and I apologise for the quality of my posts, which serve no practical purpose other than an avenue for me to vent my feelings and frustration. I started this blog as a channel to communicate my needs, demonstrate my strengths and improve my chances of moving to Australia but somehow I feel I am exposing my weakness instead and digging my own grave.
Anyway, I am completely off the topic originally intended for this post but since I talked about my executive function and slower processing skills, it ties in with another topic I wanted to write about, reacting and responding to another person’s questions about autism and my diagnosis, and how it is often the case of sadder but wiser. Coincidentally, the invisibility of autism, what people expect autism to look like and how everyone is a bit autistic, is a recurring topic and seems to be gaining attention lately in the autism forums and blogs I follow*, suggesting this is indeed a problem and there is still a long way to go before the needs of autistic people are recognized and before people with autism are accepted as they are.
Even though I am now more knowledgeable about the autism spectrum conditions, I am still not well-prepared enough to respond spontaneously to other’s questions regarding the condition. I had someone said to me recently, “You don’t look like the other autistics I’ve met. Do you have this trait or problem with XYZ [citing a classic autism behaviour]?” Leaving aside the intention behind the question, my mind automatically switches on to self-defensive mode and all I could think of is, “I have to prove that I am the autistic person I said I am. I have to show that I exhibit the requisite autistic traits to demonstrate my claim.” When I reflected on my response after the meeting was over, I came up with a better one and kicked myself for why haven’t I thought of it sooner? I was too earnest to defend myself (and there is a reason for that which can be left to talk about in another occasion), I forgot my Autism 101, the quintessential, oft-cited saying about autism by Stephen Shore, I even have it in the first paragraph of the introduction to my blog! I need to remind myself to keep my cool and keep a list of “how to reply” for different situations although I suspect I will always be caught by the unexpected, sadder but no necessarily wiser.
*For a more humorous, sarcastic take towards the question, please read: http://autisticnotweird.com/dont-look-autistic/
Please read my next post on how to react when people say to me “we are all a bit autistic / everyone has a problem”. For this topic, please also read http://unstrangemind.com/is-everyone-a-little-autistic/ and https://mydreamwalden.wordpress.com/2016/03/14/dear-lucy-i-have-autism/