YOU ARE ASKING THE WRONG QUESTION!!!
I HATE talking to people who do not know me about my Autism (face to face). I get comments like, well you must be one of those Higher Functioning Autistic’s – since you have a house and a good job. Your life looks great. There is nothing wrong with you.
In general I am a pretty happy and positive person. I’ve worked hard to learn to love myself as I am and have made effort to eliminate all negativity and bad people from my life. I smile all the time, even if I am not feeling well or having a bad day.
Technically my smile is more of a grin or smirk – no teeth. If I force teeth it’slike that scene from the movie Terminator where Arnold Schwarzenegger tried to learn how to smile. I wish I was exaggerating. I can smile with teeth if I am genuinely happy about something, but this is one thing that I can not fake.
What they don’t see is my suffering. They don’t know that sometimes I am panicking on the inside or going through sensory overload right in front of them. How could they?
Growing up undiagnosed, I learned to hide these things years ago. Nobody sees me freaking out, knows when I am having stomach issues, or my head is pounding from the florescent lighting of the office I work in two to three days a week.
I don’t complain. I smile, push forward pull up my big girl panties and do what I have to do to make sure that I am able to provide the best possible life for myself. I have a good job because I work hard.
My mother allowed me to start working at the age of twelve. I started out with simple jobs like folding towels. She told me to always stay busy, find something to do. If I am on the clock I need to find work to do. So I did.
I put my heart and soul into everything I do THAT is why I have a nice home and a good job NOT because I am a “high functioning” Autistic. Honestly, I am not a fan of these high and low functioning labels.
People say I am high functioning because I have well developed coping mechanisms which basically means I keep all my suffering to myself to make Neurotypical people feel comfortable. Because I can pass for “normal” blend in and be one of “them” I must be high functioning. How offensive.
Please do not ask an Autistic person (or parent) how Autistic they (or their child) are (is).
This would be the number one on a list of things not to say to an Autistic person.
I found the following website while networking with other Aspies online and was VERY pleased with the following info-graphic. Please see the full thing on the Living Amongst Humans blog. I really enjoyed it.
Full info-graphic here.