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Nice personal autism story

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I think what I like about it is how the things she especially likes about him are his autistic traits. It's not just, we put up with this stuff and I love him anyway. She makes it pretty clear life with autism isn't easy but that there are good things about it, too.

Edited by Tiramisu
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I can relate to this story. I am also autistic and I didn't learn this until last year when I was 54 years of age. 


There are sadly a lot of "adult survivors" out there. Adult survivors are people like myself who grew to adulthood without the benefit of a diagnosis and treatment. Those of us who were fortunate enough to be on the high performance end of the autistic spectrum have somehow struggled through life. If you've seen the movie, Temple Gradin, Temple was initially diagnosed with being emotionally disturbed and was expelled from a public school she had attended because she had thrown a book at a girl who was teasing her. Her mother sent her to an Aunt's cattle ranch for the summer while making arrangements to put her in a private school. Temple found that she liked cows and her new school helped her realize her potential. She later went to college, earned a Master's, and later earned a post doctorate. She subsequently reformed the way many slaughter houses processed animals. She now teaches at Colorado State.


I am not like Temple Grandin. As I understand it, her linguistic development was delayed. She also thinks in mathematical pictures. I have Asperger's Syndrome. My linguistic development was not delayed and I tend to think in flow charts ... which is great so long as my flow charts can handle unexpected events that fall out of the conventional if-then framework for my decision making thought processes. Instead of being like Temple Gradin, I am more like the character Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory save for the fact that my life experience has given me better coping skills. I am also Asian, in the field of education, and am hopefully far less annoying. 


One reason I like teaching is because most classrooms are quite structured. School rules, district policy, state education laws, OSHA requirements, and county and state health codes define the parameters of what I can say and do and teach in my Culinary Arts classroom. 


Twenty-six years of instructional experience in rural, inner-city, suburban, and private international schools have given me a wealth of experience in dealing with students. 


I am regretfully not as competent in dealing with coworkers and my personal relationships have not been terribly successful. 


Like many autistic people, I lack the capacity to understand unspoken intent. Although I have a basic understanding of body language (such as hands raised in the classroom for attention or understanding when a student might be angry because of his or her facial expression), most types of body language elude me. I also have problems with understanding sarcasm.


Case in point ... after transferring to a rural school within my district, I decided to find a new therapist to help me further refine my social coping skills. The therapist apparently made a "joke" during our first session. As I was sitting down, he told me not to worry because he had turned off the electrical shock in the chair. I recoiled in panic. A subsequent examination of the chair showed that it was a simple wooden frame with minimum padding. I saw no electrical connections and said as much. I also observed that electroshock therapy was contraindicated for Asperger's Syndrome and moreover stated that conventional practices required attaching a device to one's forehead so as to stimulate the prefrontal cortex. I did not see the therapeutic advantage of shocking one's buttocks. 


The doctor apologized and explained that he had been joking but the session was ruined for me. Since I tend to be very literal, I kept thinking that the chair was electrified. I knew that it wasn't but because the doctor had initially said that it was, my mind kept running in circles. I could not understand the humor in making a false statement about a chair. In the end, I declined to make another appointment with this therapist and am now in a bit of a quandary because this therapist was the only one in the area who is covered by my insurance. 


As another example, I have had several relations fail because I am very literal. The last woman I was friends with told me at the outset of our relationship that we could only be friends as she had been physically and emotionally abused by her ex-boyfriend. I agreed to these terms. As our friendship evolved, we started spending more and more time together. Since I am a chef instructor, I began going to her home after work to make her dinner. One night as I was plating a meal, she called me into her bedroom. The bedroom was dark and upon entering this room, she began tickling me. I tickled her back and she fell away from me onto her bed. 


"Do you know what I'm thinking?" she asked.


I nodded. "You're clearly tired. I will finish cleaning and will leave you to your rest." I paused after reaching the doorway. "Would you like your dinner now or should I plastic wrap it and put it in the refrigerator?" 


The woman threw a pillow at me. She seemed angry but I did not understand why. 


After cleaning her kitchen and refrigerating her meal, I left her home. She subsequently sent me a text message saying that she never wanted to see me again. I did not understand why. A friend later explained that she had been trying to "evolve" our relationship. This puzzled me because she had clearly stated out the outset of our relationship that we could only be friends. If she had wanted to renegotiate the terms of our relationship, why hadn't she articulated this?


"She did," insisted my friend. "You just didn't pick up on her nonverbal communication."


I know this seems silly ... but this is actually the 3rd time something like this has happened in my life. One would think that I would have learned from past experiences but as previously mentioned, I am really quite literal and I always honor agreements. 



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