I did not realise that I was autistic until I was in my mid-twenites. I had always been aware that most of the people around me seemed to be experiencing the world differently to me. And for years I had struggled to understand why I found certain aspects of life so difficult. However, it had never occurred to me that I could be autistic, because, like most people, I had a very inaccurate understanding of what autism is.
Once I started to learn more about what autism really is, and especially once I started listening to what autistic people themselves say about it, it quickly became obvious to me that I am autistic. For me, this was an incredibly positive moment. I suddenly had an understanding of who I am that made sense of so many aspects of my life that had previously made no sense.
A couple of years later, after spending a lot of time on a waiting list, I finally got my diagnosis. This was a moment of huge relief, because although it was very obvious to me by this point that I was autistic, I had no idea whether the psychiatrist who assessed me would see it.
Both before and since getting my diagnosis, I have had a lot of sceptical reactions from people who I have told I am autistic – including friends, family members and healthcare professionals. Misunderstandings of autism are widespread and since I don’t fit very well with the stereotype of what an autistic person is like, many people are reluctant to believe that I am autistic.
The purpose of this blog is to try to spread a more accurate understanding of what autism is. My hope is that this will enable other autistic people to realise that they are autistic sooner, and save them years of unnecessary confusion and self-doubt. I also hope that it will help non-autistic people have a better understanding of the autistic people in their lives.
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