A long time ago, we asked our regular contributors through e-mail, What is autism really like? We got many interesting responses. Here are some of them. We have just copied and pasted their responses, not editing them in any way and most of the respondents have requested to stay anonymous, so no names will be published.

Image credit: genome.gov

Image credit: genome.gov

1. For me, horrible. I am lonely. I want to be around people so much. I love talking, they taught me to talk and forgot to give me others to talk to. I want to work, but I need supervision.I hit my head on things when I am upset. I hate that. My arms flap when I am excited and people stare. People stare for other reasons too…

And I love children and children love me, they love to talk to me and ask questions or talk to me about cartoons. I would never harm anyone but their parents act like their child is in danger it makes me feel like I am a terrible person.

Luckily now I am friends with an 8-year-old and she is awesome, loves lego and we have a lot of talks about who is the best Disney princess. Explorers (I told her about an explorer in lego Johnny Thunder who explored tombs and she has suddenly decided to love the idea) and also about Doctor Who and time travel (The back seat of her car is a time machine when we go anywhere!)

So I guess, in short, Autism is lonely, it can cause a lot of pain, its like being trapped in a body that is only half loaded. Just cause people are aware of autism or accept autism, doesn’t mean they will make time for those with autism.

Also, I wish I could dress and shower myself and care for myself better and also go out on my own. I would go out every day. 🙂

Friends make it easier.

My thoughts may have been bit broken so hope this reads okay.

Also suggest reading this. http://www.mattyangel.com/2013/04/13/autism-and-me-part-1/ though only 5 parts.

2.  I was diagnosed with Aspergers at the age of 11. I feel like I’m part of a play where everyone has the script except me.

3. While I live a pretty normal life I have a lot of issues with sensory sensitivity. Like loud noises, bright lights, certain food tastes, smells and standing in crowds of people. These things make me feel a bit stressed out resulting in various issues like headaches and digestive problems.

While we’re on the subject. Certain non-autistic people have the misconception that those of us on the spectrum would “lack empathy”. That is simply not true. We often have a hard time to “read” people, but we certainly do not lack human empathy. That needed to be said.

4. Social interactions that come to others naturally require a lot of thought and planning in my situation. For lack of a better analogy, I have mental checklists for every social event under the sun.

Obsessions are amped up from non-autistic people, as are following rituals, every night when I get home, I have dinner, and watch the Simpsons, no ifs ands or buts.

I work as a chef, and my supervisor and I have a certain code word (traffic) that if I mention it out of the blue , it means ‘I need to cool off for a few, I’m getting overloaded here.’

5. My go-to analogy is to imagine being in a country where nobody speaks English and you don’t speak their language. You don’t have a phrasebook but you do have a translation dictionary. So you are speaking the words but the syntax is way off, not to mention accent and pronunciation. You might think you’re making sense and communicating well but really people will be confused by you.

6. You know that time you said something stupid and everyone looked at you like you grew a second head? Imagine feeling like that every time you talk to someone.

I’m a high functioning autist ama.

7. I have high functioning autism as well as anxiety so some of this may be the anxiety but I find it really hard maintaining friendships at all, for example, I left 1.5 years ago and haven’t spoken to one of them in over a year because I quite honestly didn’t know how.

I also find communicating really hard. It takes a lot of effort and I would find meeting someone new really hard with me having no Idea where to go past hello and me getting a stutter is also quite likely.

I don’t cope well with changes from a routine, for example, I will eat the same meals each day and foods but going off of it is really quite stressful.

I am also really bad with emotions and I rarely talk about them at all (and won’t unless I’m prompted explicitly) and am really oblivious on the whole and really can’t explain it, a bit like trying to explain what left is to someone with no place to reference.

A bit of another side effect is at the moment I have no social life as I don’t know how to keep one (the last one I had was at school and I wouldn’t describe it as close owning to the fact I never saw them outside of school) nor get one as I don’t know how to meet people.

What comes naturally to most people takes a lot of learning for me and I always felt a step behind if not further.

At the moment at least, I would love to be just a normal person and have this sort of stuff come naturally.

All in all, I would say a bit lonely and frustrating when I notice, I am quite happy most of the time but just the smallest thing can hit and change that. I am doing what I can to get better but it takes a lot of effort for what is for most people as simple as writing.

8. As an autistic person, what’s being not autistic like?

9. Unusual soup, you have just made me a really happy lady. ( I just created an account to respond to you, I read threads and have never felt the need to respond) I am a 25-year-old nanny to an autistic 5-year-old, I can read him faster than anyone else can. I’ve learned to adapt to his needs, and with therapy and a specialist and lots of coaching, he is a very verbal child now. The stares and rude comments from strangers are very upsetting. But thankfully he is oblivious to them for now.

He loves routine and used to be very obsessive about every little thing in his daily life. He has really come out of his shell in the last two years. But he is very selective of who can be around him.

It is so nice and refreshing to see such a nice person on the internet and know that my cute little 5-year-old has the chance to one day be comfortable to talk to strangers. Thank you SO much for giving me a little hope on a rough day. All the best to you!

10. It’s hard, not only socially but also in school. I can’t understand what the questions are asking me because I always interpret it in another way. Especially the questions like “Why did the author write this, how does the author feel?.. etc.” I would always question if I was reading this answer correctly, and my teachers would get frustrated with me due to the excessive amount of questions I asked.

Socially I’ve managed to cope with my autism, I was quiet in middle school and a little bit of high school. I figured out I’m best at making myself look ridiculous in front of people. I now just laugh at myself and I seem to fit in, however, most of the time I don’t really catch on to my friend’s jokes or opinions.

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Last Update: February 2, 2017