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AskReaders: What is autism really like?

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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  • -autism angry post-
    -response to sensationalized garbage post-

    Remember evolution? The brain evolves too. The depth of modern social interaction is insane. Things used to be a lot more simple. Because of this, newer generations are seeing more powerful cognitive power. When there is no use for this, the processing power in the brain gets a little off balance. Obsessive tendencies, attention-deficit, hyperactivity, physical fidgeting, sensory issues. There is extra potential not being utilized. Many kids are not stimulated. Nature fills voids.

    Why am I pissed?

    At varied times, I share every single characteristic of your vanilla flavored autist. In my experience with actual humans branded with the diagnosis, I have encountered a scary trend…. The person was RAISED as an autistic person. Odd especially when they are more normal than i am. I failed the asspie test because I watched my hyper brother get in trouble for being wild, so I acted normal. He was a pain for my parents, so they made him eat psych meds. He became awkward later on as a young adult.

    You can believe you have a condition alllll you want, you can even pay someone to make it official, but here’s a breakdown of some issues I read above. A doctor won’t explain it like this, because they make more money by pointing you to a lifelong regiment of unnecessary chemicals and billable hours.

    -I don’t know how to make friends (There is no guide, everyone is different, not a natural skill)
    -I loathe social interaction and have no clue what to do (People are other people. crazy right?)
    -I interpret the question differently, and get yelled at for asking questions (Shitty teacher with shitty prompts)
    -I’m bad with emotions and don’t talk about them. (That makes you human, not mentally ill)
    -I wish this all would come naturally. (It is not instinctive. Every person on earth has to learn this. No two people learn the same way.)
    -I feel like I’m part of a play and everyone has the script but me (This is a different mental illness.)
    -I get intensely interested in things… (Wow. That’s irregular…. SHUT THE f**k UP)
    -I had to learn to have a filter on what I say (This is called maturity)
    -I have anxiety (No, you are gullible. It is programming left in you from when survival was a thing. Each human balances this in their own way. Saying its autism solves nothing.)
    -I don’t like looking people in the eye. (Neither do I, but its because I hate my species.)
    -In social situations, I struggle to read people. (This is not instinctive and based in knowledge of interaction. You literally have to practice.)
    -I have a very hard time expressing myself verbally. (This is an attained skill that one must practice)

    THESE AREN’T MEDICAL CONDITIONS, IT’S CALLED CONSCIOUSNESS. You’re an electrified sack of water interacting with billions of other sacks and NO TWO SACKS are the same. You are not pre-programmed with social skills. No human being is because society is not natural and we haven’t had time for evolution to catch up with technology.

    The money made from diagnosing people with autism is spectacular and I applaud the hard work from evil people who ruin childrens lives with unnecessary medication and therapy. Pharm knows no bounds. Yes, there are severe cases where mental illness requires chemical treatment. I am not talking about those circumstances. Just the poor unlucky people who get branded for life because a book says so.

    I am so lucky to have grown up right before the kickbacks started and marketing grabbed ahold of the keyword ‘autism’. Parents label their kid a social r*tard before the little sh*t even has a chance to learn how to interact with humans in their culture.

    TL:DR – I acknowledge that there are people who suffer from mental illness and chemical imbalances in the brain. I abhor what autism has become and the toxic atmosphere of political correctness surrounding it.

    • ragingfaggotry – you are 100% wrong, clearly have no clue what you’re talking about. You sound like an individual who is filled with hatred and denial.

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