Monday, May 4, 2009

Being Autistic Versus Anxiety Disorders

I am autistic (NOT self-diagnosed). The mind of individuals on the Autism Spectrum is wired differently. However, my different wiring is not "natural variation." My autism spectrum diagnosis is a disability and presents negative traits such as not being able to focus on things other than my interests, inconsistent eye contact, sporadically delayed and incoherent speech production, stuttering, other speech problems, and auditory processing delay. My other challenges include: a hypersensitive auditory and tactile sensory system and other difficulties that present with being Autistic.

However, Autism Spectrum Disorders are not a disease or mental illness. Autism is a SPECTRUM medical disorder, NOT "natural variation."

I strongly support Neurodiversity, especially Michelle Dawson's version. However, I just realized how my views have come into conflict with the mainstream Neurodiversity philosophy. I don't agree that the autism spectrum is 100 percent genetic. What about the environmental triggers, lack of oxygen at birth (personally experienced), exposure anxiety, GI issues, and other causes?

If Autism Spectrum Disorders are to be considered 100 percent genetic, then researchers and scientists would have a reason to fund eugenics. I am 100 percent against eugenics for all disabilities.

It is a fact people on the Autism Spectrum have mental illnesses and co-morbid medical disorders. For example, I have two co-morbid medical disorders. My  anxiety disorders are not part of me. They prevent my quality of life.

Deena, from the "No Myths" PSA said, "Autism is an integral part of who I am." My autistic disability (neurological and biological), my personality traits, and other positive traits are an integral part of who I am.

I have accepted and embraced my autism spectrum diagnosis. That does not mean I will do nothing to improve my quality of life.

Gifts & Talents:

I am a musician. I have been taking piano lessons since I was 10 years old. I am on hiatus from piano lessons and practicing.

I am a writer. I like to various things and sometimes opinion responses.

I am hyperlexic. I can read very quickly, above grade level, and generally have good comprehension (except some figurative language). I can decipher most words from contextual clues.

I am a college student. I have just finished Spring 2009 - my first semester of community college. Like Jake Crosby, I decided not to ask for accommodations. Consequently, I have struggled but the semester is almost over, and I am passing. I did tell my professor I am Autistic. She has been very understanding. I chose not to disclose my autism spectrum diagnosis to the disability services office because I wanted to prove to myself I could take tests without extended time.

I am an employee; nonetheless, I struggle significantly.

Anxiety disorders are horrible, devastating illnesses.

Sarcasm - Part I: I enjoy being anxious and having anxiety attacks, racing heartbeat, sweat palms, and other physical symptoms. Celebrate social and performance anxiety. Anxiety is a natural prevention of quality of life. Anxiety is natural suffering.

Sarcasm - Part II: I enjoy getting obsessive thoughts. I enjoy when my mind gets stuck, I think we should celebrate not being able to get thoughts out of one's brain.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Katie, I'm glad you've started a blog, and I look forward to reading your posts. I don't think anyone is saying that one should celebrate or enjoy anxiety or obsessive thoughts. I think those are the kinds of straw man arguments that anti-neurodiversity advocates make.

    I don't think there is anything wrong with taking accommodations. After all, if autism is a disability (which I agree, I think it is), then why would it be wrong to take accommodations? Isn't saying that one shouldn't take accommodations if one would be on a more equal basis with them like saying that autism isn't a disability?