Everyone talks about atypical on Netflix. I’m not a fan. Mainly because of the bs drama is still making Sam out to be the cause of everyone’s stress. I get that, but I thought it was supposed to be about Sam but too much focus is on everyone else’s problems. I much preferred on the spectrum. It’s available on HBO NOW. Warning it’s a show from a different country but it has English overdubs available. It was really good at showing the characters truly trying to get by in a world that never understands what it’s like. Mind you I understand it’s not easy living with us, but we’ve seen that story before.
Spectrum disorders are in no way make us unaware of how people see us. Some of us are highly functioning enough to know when we’re perceived as weird. So much do that we learn to mimic others so we can act “normal”. Growing up through the late 70s and 80s the word “retard” was used a lot. It was not in a clinical sense (to be delayed of development) so you don’t want to be labeled that. We had the foresight to hide.
I was diagnosed when I was 15 with autism spectrum disorder. I was treated as just another hyper active child. This originally was labeled as ADD. I lucked out having a therapist that understood my concerns and was also the therapist for my mother and understood exactly why I needed him to keep that to himself. I don’t know if my mother reads this blog, but if she does I’m sure this is all just a “lie” or me “being over dramatic” or a “whiny little faggot.” What’s funny was this therapist she loved even though he was “a fucking gross faggot, but he’s ok enough. I guess.” This is how he actually was able to pin down my diagnosis so well. Seeing me and the home I came from he knew that it was more than a neuro diverse brain, but there were deeper childhood traumas. My diagnosis overall was autism spectrum disorder with ADHD PTSD and Social Dysphoria.
Instead of doing treatment with medication he saw I was able to function rather well in the environment. I learned how to maintain myself as well as function as a buffer for my younger siblings. The youngest of my siblings at the time was already diagnosed with ADHD and was being treated with medication, but it wasn’t something that stayed with him. As soon as he got to big to argue with he told mom fuck you! I’m not taking those fucking pills!
In school it was challenging because I learned by watching others. I can read a book fine, but my brain files that information where I can use it in recall only after seeing how you are supposed to recall it. The best example of this was my music class. I could read music. I learned theory and practices etc, but I always failed music. It wasn’t until my last music teacher sat with me watching me learn a hard song (battery by Metallica and pull me under by dream theatre)on the guitar during lunch only after hearing it twice and was able to play it seamlessly with the recording. He stopped and says he doesn’t understand how I can do that but can’t do basic sight reading. He knew I could read and understand what was on the page. I knew what the time, key, notes, and the instrument I was playing, but as soon as I was sat down with the sheets of music I couldn’t play. I told him it’s because I can’t hear what I’m reading. I told him it’s ink on paper until I hear the music. I finally passed a music class that year. Not with high grades because sight reading etc still had to be graded, but I’m happy to say I got a C- and that was a passing grade.
Here I am now. 45 years old and only learning over the past few years that I’m ok. Yes I have this thing that most people call a disease or disorder, but I’m not “retarded” or “challenged” or “slow.” This isn’t a disease. It’s not a disorder. We’re just wired a little different. that guy with cerebral palsy isn’t fucking slow or stupid either. Nor that person with Down’s syndrome. We’re all people who are just as human as you. We just want to live our life with your typical judgment.