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My Story

This is not a positive motivational story. But sometimes you have to hear what's still wrong to know what you have to work on. So here is my story about being an adult with Aspeber’s.

I was born late and with several medical conditions I spent several days in the NICU. The residual problems weren’t catastrophic, but impacted every phase of my life.

I was diagnosed with ADHD with OCD at a very young age. I also had a vision problem that caused dyslexia and a lack of depth perception. For years, stairs looked like lines on a flat floor because I couldn’t see the individual steps. My elementary school teachers didn’t understand why I didn’t like going to the library – it was on the second floor and I hated the stairs.

I went through most of my school years in special ED classes and was on Ritalin, among other drugs. The drugs were stopped when they affected my overall growth. I was bullied every year because of my below-average size.

I began to feel like I didn't belong in those classes in my later school years because I felt like was smarter than the other students. Even my family fought for me not to be pigeonholed by the system.

I discovered computers in middle school. Computers didn’t judge me and gave me a chance to express my imagination. I was able to transfer to a career-oriented alternative high school. I graduated with certification in Digital Publishing. I later achieved certified in Web Design. I had to have a job to meet a graduation requirement, so I began to work part-time in a fast food restaurant.

I kept that job after graduation, working full-time steadily for years. I eventually learned to drive and have my own car, although I didn't get my driver's license until I was in my 20’s. I used my ADHD and OCD at work to my advantage when I could, not as a weakness or an excuse. I excelled at the repetitive tasks that my co-workers disliked: busing tables, filling orders, stocking, and such.

I have always been plagued with social difficulties that got worse as the years went on. My attempts to be friendly were clumsy and were seen as harassment. Even when I went to sci-fi and anime conventions I usually went alone and stayed by myself throughout multi-day events.

I felt like there was no one to help me with my social difficulties. So I developed a presentation to help people who have or have to deal with people who have social difficulties. I mainly do a presentation at local gatherings, but would like to do other things to connect with others like me, too.

I was finally diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (or Asperger’s) when I was in my early 30’s. I had never thought I had autism, but the more I learned about ASD, the more it made sense to me. Pardon the expression, but it was the missing piece to puzzle over why I was having difficulties in all parts of my life.

After working at the same company for more than 15 years, I was in group therapy with the same counselor I saw as a child. He was surprised that I wasn't already on social disability.

But as I was leaning how to deal with my diagnosis, I was accused of harassment and terminated from my job. I went through what I felt was a mockery of an appeal and was told that they determined that there was a pattern of harassment. As they read a list of the incidents, I realized that the pattern may have been due to my undiagnosed Asperger condition. When I bought this up to the company, there was no discussion. I felt I was treated like I was guilty and nothing else would be considered.

I sought help from the EEOC for wrongful termination. They felt there was no need to investigate and gave me 90 days to sue my old company. The lawyers that I talk to won't take my case because it seems that any perceived harassment trumps any type of discrimination that I feel happened to me.

So after holding a job for fifteen years, I was fired with no chance of getting my job back. I managed to get a new job at minimum pay, taking a 12% pay lost. I’m doing well at my new position, and recently received a positive performance evaluation.

But it has left me with more Social Anxiety and self-doubt. Sometimes I'm afraid to talk to my female coworkers for fear of being accused again of harassment. I'm even afraid to offer a comforting pat on the shoulder.

ASD doesn’t happen during my work hours, it affects every part of my life. I feel like I now have a touch phobia; I'm afraid to touch people but not to be touched by others. Many people think I don't want to be touched because it feels weird to me.

I've kept continuing my presentation to try to help others out. I feel if I can help another person deal with their problems, all that I went through would be worth it. I want to get over my fears. I want to be able to talk to a girl that I like without having an anxiety attack. I want get over my touch phobia, I like being touched, hugged and want to hold a girl’s hand.

But what I want most is to prove my old employer wrong, and for them to admit that they judged me too harshly and didn't see the whole picture would be nice.

I have been told that I'm high functioning. I feel I'm functional to the point that I don’t need many of the services offered by Autism support organizations. Many of the services seem to be for early detection in children and youth or limited functioning. I'm an adult learning why I function differently from others and feel a little bit isolated from the people around me.

Thank you for reading my story. I hope it helps in the long run.

Comments

Wow. I can see how you'd want to prove your old employer wrong. It is an ironic fact that society can treat others as misfits, malcontents etc so long as there is no diagnosis of being certifiably different. What I think is the biggest crime of all is that society, individuals what have you, generally have no sense of remorse for being intolerant, single focussed and mean to difference. By denying you that avenue to appeal, the law effectively condones people being judged as you were for what some see as anti social behaviour. It boils my blood that fringe dwellers are only helped when a certificate from a 'professional' is produced.

But really, should I be surprised?! Without a certificate proving citizenship, non citizens are treated however the prevailing powers like.
 

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Arlj11
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