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Memoir of an Autistic Kid
Autism... how do I describe it? I know that almost everyone knows only part or even none of the truth. So, just to clear a few things up: First, autism isn't mental retardation. Your brain isn't damaged in any way; rather, you process things differently than a neuro-typical (ordinary-minded) human. Second, it doesn't always mean you're still wearing diapers by the age of twenty. Autism is what's known as a “spectrum disorder.” This means that the effects vary by individual. To put it simply, some people think closer to neuro-typical standards, and some think so far off of it that language is incomprehensible. Third, autism is not contagious, as it is not a “disease” in the common tense. It is genetic, meaning that you have to be born with it. Otherwise, you will never have to deal with it if you don't already have it.
I do. I have lived my entire life with it. Sometimes, it makes things harder. Other times, it has helped solve problems that stumped neuro-typical people. I have a very high-functioning (not very prominent) form of autism called Aspergers. And just my luck, it also happens to be combined with ADHD. Everyone's heard of that, right? The kid in class who's mind is always flitting from one thing to another. Always disruptive, never paying attention. Now combine that with the inborn mixed blessing of focusing on one thing at a time, all the time, the inability to fully comprehend the actions of others, and, while we're at it, why don't we just throw language processing and reaction time out the window... And there you have it. Only one thought at a time, flitting around like a dragonfly, never staying in one spot for long... and yet it's almost impossible to forget quickly when something bad happens, and it's nearly impossible to understand what others are trying to tell you... I guess you could say I have the emotions of Tinkerbell.
You can see how that would be a problem, but it's not always bad. Some days are better than others, and sometimes it's not there at all. And it can be useful as well. I have several examples:
During tests, I can narrow my focus to only what I’m doing, and finish faster than most of the class... if I know the material.
In contrast, I can also broaden my focus, and while away the hours focusing on one thing or another, or maybe the whole picture.
It helps me when I don't want to listen to the plethora of conversation around me, because I can simply ignore it and focus solely on walking onward.
One time, my distance from popular state-of-mind shocked everyone. One day, the principal was taking me to his office (not because I was in trouble, but because he wanted to discuss IEP things) when he realized he had locked his keys in the room. I said, “why not just go in there?” I pointed to the door right next to the principal's office, which led to the Vice Principal's office.
“She doesn't have a key.” the principal replied.
Ignoring him, I went into the vice principal's office, through the newly cut-out wall between the two rooms, picked up his keys. and opened the door to the principal's office from the inside. He stared at me from outside, dumbstrucked. I handed him the keys.
“Don't you remember? The wall is gone!” I said.
After that, I don't remember anything else, except eating candy and laughing about my antics.
Now, just because I don't act like other people, and talk like other people, doesn't mean I am not a person myself. I have needs, wants, likes and dislikes, just like everyone else. My favorite food is... food (that is, anything edible that tastes good). I like video games, specifically Elder Scrolls, and I watch TV like everyone else. My mom is an artist, and I comment on many of her pieces, like the one up top of me. I don't live on Mars, although my bus ride was two hours long, and I like many of the things others do. I am also different in many ways. My Aspergers/ADHD combo is a major difference, but there are others: I like being different, for one. I'd much rather stick out like a sore thumb than not stick out at all. A few times a month, I wear my shirt inside out, just 'cause I can. Being weird is my specialty, and that's okay, because I want it to be. I also like doing things with my hands: building things, breaking things, cooking, crafting... you name it. In the backyard, I practice swordsmanship and archery, and I also am building a heavy and war-ready shield up in my room. Call me strange all you want. I also have an overactive imagination. I have numerous stories and boocoo loads of characters flitting on the edges of my conscience, all the time. I can't help but write them, and that is one reason I chose this class. And trust me, if there ever was a skill I have a knack for, it's writing. Every single solitary time I have an assignment that even partially coincides with writing, I find a way to worm one of my many stories in it, and it seems to get me top grades. Possibly because the teachers can't seem to stop reading them. And in this class... There are no guidelines. I don't have to write a story about how the earth goes' round unless I want to. My stories... they are part of who I am. They give me ground, guide me, give me the strength to keep going. If you think the topic has changed, it hasn't, because without my stories, my characters, I would be nothing. Nothing but a simple kid with Aspergers, living his life in the seclusion of his own mind. Writing... breaks me free.