Since the fiasco with that one organization about a week ago, I found out that Aspergers was removed from the DSM-V. Talk about an identity crisis.
I’m very confused. Apparently, I’m now in that category where I am diagnosed with something that doesn’t exist but is enough to make my parents sick because I’m a “burden” to society. That phrase that was literally boldly repeated in that statement was “This is autism.” No, what you just described was your version of what you think it is. Then again to my knowledge, nobody on the spectrum was even asked for input on this statement before it was made.
Here’s my perspective on what it is to be autistic.
I’m dedicated to what I am excited about. I enjoy movies, so that’s my niche. Since I’m majoring in film, I’m taking time to watch different movies as personal independent study. Alongside that, I am making my own short films as seen on my Vimeo page. It is one outlet that I have to express my feelings about what it means to be on the spectrum. I am always learning.
I like being with a few close friends, those I’ve known for a few years. I’m more comfortable in my behavior. In crowds, however, I have to make a conscious effort to behave according to the norm. I’m not sure how successful I am at this but I’m working on it.
I’m a clockwork guy. Everyday, I need to leave the house by a certain time because I know the traffic patterns of my route well enough. Even if I’m delayed by a few minutes, I get stressed out. I will arrive way before the scheduled time just to make sure that I’m in the right place. While I do make charts and stuff in order to organize time, especially for upcoming semesters, I keep things in order in my head or on scraps of paper.
If there is a task that I need to do, I work best with written instructions. If something’s unclear, I’ll try to ask for clarification. Eventually, I’ll be able to just do whatever it is from memory.
I usually keep to myself, away from others unless it’s groupwork. I set up my own space and I do have some territorial issues. I get unsettled if I see someone else occupying my space but I try to manage. In groupwork, I want everyone to do their share and do it well but I know that’s rarely the case in real life.
I’m not emotionless, far from it. It’s that I tend not to express those feelings at the right time. There may be moments where I show the wrong emotion at the wrong time and I look out of place. Other times, I’ll show the right mood at the right time, especially with others around.
I’m very much a reader. I’m not totally afraid to learn new things. As a kid, I would read books (physical ones) as much as I could, whatever I could get my hands on. Now, I like to take the occasional wiki walk and stumble on new things that I never knew had their own page. I also still read physical newspapers just to keep up with what’s going on. Mostly these days, I’m reading about film since I’m a film major.
I revel in wordplay. It’s been said that people on the spectrum have issues with idioms and other abstract word structures. Not me. I’ll chime in with a pun or two in the middle of conversation and will get a laugh because it ends up being clever. Granted, they’re puns but if I can get people to stop for a few moments and process what I just said, then that’s a success because that means they listened.
I do think in abstract at times. Like how juxtaposing different scenes in a certain order conveys a certain meaning, I spend time thinking about what kind of metaphors and similes I can express in either in word or film. In a way, that’s why I enjoy abstract and avant garde films; I’m given a chance to figure out what the message is because it isn’t presented in a conventional or typical way.
This is only a small glimpse of my daily self. There’s a lot more but at that point, it begins to become redundant. Come to think of it, I think I may have an idea of how to represent this in video, though it’s been done before. Possibly something along the lines of Thirty-two Short Films About Glenn Gould but with less films. I’ll see what happens.