Growing up with Autism (Asperger's Syndrome)

Anonymous

Disclaimer: This myTake is dedicated to people growing up with Asperger's syndrome, and since everyone's autism is different, this is only ONE example. I hope that other people with other types of Autism (or Asperger's as well) share some of their experiences in the comments to make this more holistic!

Given the recent feedback on my post "Dating with autism from a girl's perspective", I have decided to write another myTake on this topic. This is very long and while I hope people will take the time to read it, I understand that it may be too much to handle, I still appreciate feedback very much!

I also want to mention that the exact causes of Autism are unknown, but these are good sources for exploring some of the causes:

https://www.healthline.com/health/autism

https://autism-society.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Autism-and-Environment.pdf

Before Birth & another Disclaimer

After conceiving me, my mother didn't drink any alcohol, she always ate very healthily, which she continued throughout the pregnancy, and she made sure I was well. She's also always been very active. She was in labor for more than 24 hours and the birth didn't go too well, which had something to do with the hospital. Her memories of the birth aren't positive and they may have influenced me to some extent - I was born naturally, without a C-section, and my mother breastfed me for nine months and then combined age appropriate food with breatmilk until I was 1.5 years old.

Also, contrary to what some of you may think, I was never abused by anyone, neither in my family nor by someone else.

There are two known cases of Asperger's syndrome in my distant family.

Infancy and early childhood (0-4 years)

I don't have memories from being an infant, but I've been told that I screamed all of the time. I was awake more than other babies and always seemed uneasy. Apparently, I also looked around me all the time and wanted to see what was going on, which is something I still feel a strong urge to do. I was awake longer than babies usually are, which is something my mother later told me she only noticed after having another baby and talking to her doctor about it. She was fairly laidback with me.

I started walking early, had no problems with learning how to speak, but avoided eye contact.

This is where experiences vary greatly, some may experience difficulties with their speech development for example.

Possible symptoms of Autism
Possible symptoms of Autism

If you think your infant or child may be autistic, check out these sources. [these and sources each have a hyperlink].

Preschool and School Age I (4-9 years)

I hated my first elementary school, I knew nobody and couldn't talk to people without knowing their names, which is something I still detest. I read all the books and comics they had at this school [we didn't have fixed classes, otherwise this wouldn't have been possible] and then transferred to another school. Due to differences with one specific teacher I only went to school for three out of five days in the third and fourth year of elementary school.

To some, this may seem ridiculous, but I was very annoying and this teacher couldn't cope with me at all, so the headmistress decided that it is best for everyone involved if I stay at home for two days every week.

For example, I was extremely senitive to sound, smells and touch, which made it very difficult for me at this open-system school (Waldorf). I have fond memories because I could do whatever I wanted and learned so much more this way than I would have at a regular school, but it was still hard.

I continued to read many books, mainly thrillers. I tried fantasy but didn't enjoy it as much, because my imagination had a mind of its own and didn't like being fixed to letters in a book.

One of my special interests definitely was everything related to human relationships and sex. This is also one of the reasons why I don't treat children like they're too young for everything. If they have questions, I'll answer them in a child-friendly but honest manner, which is something my parents did too. I used to be too ashamed to talk to my parents about sex, but I read about it a lot and later, we had good conversations about it.

And again, I wasn't sexually abused.

I was diagnosed at the age of eight with Asperger's syndrome after my parents had tried to find out what was wrong with me for many years. Although it was a relief, it meant that I now went to therapy, which was exhausting to say the least.

I've been in therapy ever since, at the age of nine I was at a psychiatrist who also did group therapy.

My parents and I decided to tell my class mates that I have Autism in a way that they could understand I have some deficits but am stronger in other aspects. My brain is simply wired differently. They took it well at first but I still wish we hadn't told them [a doctor, psychiatrist, two teachers and my parents were present].

School Age II, Adolescence I (10-14 years)

When I transferred schools again, things got much harder for me, middle school was very different to elementary school and the kids were horrible. We again told everyone that I have Asperger's Syndrome, but this did not help at all and made things much worse as kids bullied me instead of being more understanding (this is fairly common in that age range I think).

I loved middle school content-wise and always got good grades. But I didn't have any friends, and although at the time I felt like some people were at least my allies, they chose to either support me or put me down time after time after time.

Every week someone told me I should go kill myself, jump out of a window, transfer to another school or something similar. It hurt me, but I know people from my old class would say that I was no saint either. This means that I could be very hurtful too, mainly as a defense mechanism or because I didn't know better. I hated it when people wanted to borrow pens etc., because I knew I wouldn't get them back, and would just say "No, you can't borrow anyhthing" when people asked, which was too direct for most. There were other issues too, but this is a good example. I was too frank with people.

I was sort of friends with a girl from my neighbourhood who cut herself and told everyone that she was suicidal. One day, we got into a fight and I told her she should go hang herself, I immediately covered my mouth with my hand and looked at her with a shocked expression, she stared at me and waited. One second later, I apologised, hugged her and said that I didn't mean it what I said. We had conversations about it with our favourite teacher, she forgave me but I will never forget how horrible I was for saying that, especially because of what happened later.

So, school was horrible, especially because my class was extremely loud [confirmed by teachers that it was much louder than the other classes].

Making it through every day was hard
Making it through every day was hard

Therapy-wise I was with a new therapist receiving both one on one as well as group therapy specifically for teenagers with Asperger's, as well as being treated at home by another therapist. This meant eight hours of therapy every week, which got too much after three years (I was 13 at the time) so I skipped the group therapy and continued with both at home and one on one therapy sessions for another year (until I was 14). The reason why this was too much is that I had numerous obligations both inside and outside of school, I was a member in different clubs and was busy all the time.

I briefly want to talk about becoming a woman gradually as this is difficult for some Autistic girls, so a TMI Warning to all men who are uncomfortable with periods.

When I got my period at the age of 12, I wasn't overwhelmed, because I had educated myself before on what I should do when it happens. I also wasn't surprised because I weighed enough and had recently had a growth spurt. I was expecting it to some extent. I've never used pads, I started with tampons and now use menstrual cups because my flow got very heavy after around three years of having my period.

I think it's difficult for all girls to get their periods and to grow up, but what was much harder for me was to learn to deal with my hips getting wider and my breasts starting to grow. As a result of a boy I had a huge crush on for four years telling me that I was fat, I developed an eating disorder, I was active in pro ana forums, blogs and in the Instagram community at the time, but this is not the topic of today.

If you think you may be struggling with an eating disorder, try taking this test to decide whether you need help or not. I am not a doctor and cannot give you advice when it comes to this.

My point is: it's difficult for everyone but when you have access to resources, it can really help you deal with physical changes which may happen.

I still love books and reading. They have helped me so much!
I still love books and reading. They have helped me so much!

School age III, Adolescence II (15-18 years)

I transferred to another school again and have been much happier ever since.

Although we never told anyone I have autism officially, one teacher sort of "guessed" it and "self-diagnosed" me, told all the other teachers and ever since, I've had some problems which I don't want to get into in this myTake.

I started cutting one month after transferring, mainly because I started realising how harshly I had been treated, how bad my time at the other school had been and how little I had told my parents. I wrote more on my experience with self-harm in this myTake. I've been clean for a year now.

If you are struggling with self-harm, please tell someone you trust and get help. Again, I am no doctor, but I can speak from experience when I say that it'll only get worse.

I already outlined my problems with dating in the other myTake.

What my attitiude changed to over the years (I feel very lucky it has)
What my attitiude changed to over the years (I feel very lucky it has)

I could write one on the problems my Autism has caused me at school and in my personal life, how people's reactions have been and so on but I'm not sure whether anyone would like to read that as it's just my experience.

How has Autism influenced your life?

#livingdifferently #livingwithautism

Growing up with Autism (Asperger's Syndrome)
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Most Helpful Guys

  • jspl90
    I was diagnosed with asbergers when I was a child and in my case it was a mild case.
    I had trouble regonizing social cues and i had to force myself to look in peoples eyes if i was talking with them. I also sometimes had unvoluntary movements as in could be tapping my leg or something else without me noticing it, but as I grew older and control over my body increased (my cpu got upgraded I explained it as a child😆) these things lessened and nowdays I am just a slightly awkward guy and asbergers is more like a part of my personality. Like I said mine was a mild case I did get bullied a litle as a child but not much affecting factors might be we never told anyone I had asbergers and me being a guy and somewhat big.
    With social situations I conform into the accepted social norm I am polite, respectfull and maybe bit stiff other than that I just act normal if people dont like me than why should I pretend to be different for them to like me. Also children I am 50/50 on getting any since what if they have asbergers and its not "mild" like mine🤔🙁 so that is my short ramble about my experiences of asberger
    Is this still revelant?
  • Philyouup
    What an amazing woman you are. I was a certified behavioral assistant and 2 of my clients were autistic. What you have states here rings with a familiar tone for me as this wasn't that much different than what they experienced.

    You are appreciated for sharing this with us. Middle school is Horrible, kids for some reason become animals during this part of their lives, not all kids, but enough.. I plan to read your other takes after reading this !

    And again, thank you ,
    Is this still revelant?
    • Philyouup

      Your sharing resources is so very empathetic and shows foresight and humanity..

    • Anonymous

      Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it and were familiar with some aspects of it already!

    • Philyouup

      my pleasure

Most Helpful Girls

  • Anonymous
    I was diagnosed late at the age of 24 my parents didn’t take me. My mom didn’t want me to go see a psychologist. I went on my own to talk to psychologist. I want to go get a second person to diagnose it because I was first diagnosed with SAD. I have a difficult time maintaining, making, & keeping friends. The only one close friend I have has autism running in her family. My family isn’t supportive of me they often still do tease, disrespect, trash talk me it takes an emotional toll on me if I try to tell em to stop my siblings jump in & gang up on me. Family isn’t important to me. My mom is the only one who knows I have Aspergers. I have no family to turn to. I’m on my own when it comes to having a support system. I don’t live with my parents I was gladly kicked out. I do hope to overcome this & to one day find a family of my own who will love, support, & care for me how a family should be.
    Is this still revelant?
    • AngelLily

      If you need anyone to talk to you can talk to me.

    • Anonymous

      I appreciate the kind gesture

  • tiajoka
    For me its more just social anxiety, and anti-social behaviors as well as hyper sensative skin, inability to filter words/thoughts, and ADD.
    thanks for sharing your story too. its always nice to see how other girls experience their aspergers as its more uncommon for women.
    Is this still revelant?

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What Girls & Guys Said

222
  • Jonny_
    I've been vaguely diagnosed with autism, I went to therapy because I have a lot of social problems and apparently the spectrum is quite broad but I showed a lot of signs of myriads of different things. I struggle to make friends and emotionally I struggle to relate or understand normal conversational things, I tend to have to fake a lot of things. Socialising in general stresses me greatly, I hate to be alone but feel great anxiety not getting substantial alone time. In the past I struggle with depression and it's left me very self deprecating even though i've overcome depression itself. In more recent times i've relied on comfort eating, I had a high stress job and bad living situation so when I felt a little down I ate instead. Now i've moved and doing a different job but settling has been tough. Therapy was what I thought it would be like in a way, it hasn't changed me and i'm still very cynical even though it has let me look differently at things.

    I think one of the worst parts growing up is that my parents never seen it as a problem rather that it's just my personality, I will essentially know what it takes to be normal and simply not be capable of doing it because it emotionally exhausts me. Oddly I also had a large fascination with learning about relationships and sex, even from a pretty young age emotionally i'd have considered myself mature at that time but now that i'm nearly 30 it weirds me out a bit looking back.
    • Anonymous

      Thanks for sharing that, I'm sorry it was difficult for you, I'm really lucky to have had a good support system, especially my parents were always there for me.
      I hope you can cope with it better now ;)

    • Jonny_

      You too, I related quite a bit to your take, although I imagine it's tougher as a woman. The transition from boy to man honestly wasn't a tougher time in my life, I just had a squeaky voice that did what it wanted. I have a good family, they don't really understand but they support me no matter what. Ah, i'll cope i'm a stubborn and strong person. Hopefully you will be good too :)

  • This is amazing!! Thanks for posting it!!! It's very inspiring! You have came out of so much!! I wished I heard more stories like this!! I feel like I can relate to that picture. I have diagnosed, OCD and ADHD but I've also been told that I might have other things as well... This does make me curious if I have some level of this, I think I have been told. I have some level of ashbugers too...
    • Anonymous

      Thanks for your response. It's Asperger, derived from the Austrian physician Hans Asperger.

    • Yup it looked like the spelling as off... :(

    • And you are welcome

  • Sharknado88
    I've had Asperger's all my life but didn't know I had it until I was in college. I was mad at my parents for a bit when I found out but could understand why they kept it from me. On the other side of the coin, it explained many things that happened in my past.

    I always knew there was something different about me, biggest example was social cues. I found it strange how most people were naturals at keeping conversations going, but when I tried it, something was off and I knew it. I also struggled making eye contact, something about seeing someone looking me in the eye kind of freaked me out Because of this I tended to stay quiet, which made it hard to make friends and date. This has gotten better over the years but i still struggle with dating and making eye contact.

    I also noticed very quickly was the things I was interested in were rather particular and not things any of my friends were usually into. This made it a bit hard to relate to people. I also sometimes had these cycles where I get hooked on something and I obsess over it for a long time. I have found when I wasn't on one of these obsessive cycles I tended to get depressed and felt like my brain was bored. These still happen to this day but am much more aware of them and try to tone them down as much as I can.

    Lastly would be physical touch and sensory overload. When I was younger I had very sensitive hearing, to the point I had a great fear of balloons because of the loud noise they made when they popped. As for the physical touch I hated being touched due to it causing genuine pain at times. I also refrained from touching anyone myself. Probably the biggest issue i had was hugging, I had girls in school that wanted to hug me but I felt too uncomfortable to let them. To this day I still am not a touchy feely or a huggy person, but I do give hugs only on special occasions.

    I've become much more open about this over the years so if you have any questions I'll do my best to answer!
  • MasterLove
    If you have apsergers... then you might start to realise that you have that intellectual buzz to research things and understand In ways that the common do right...

    Which means that Asperger has the gift of intelectuality but the side effect of not understanding verbal cues...

    What if I told you you could learn about verbal cues, and learn about how people work just by researching about social dynamics...

    Because you can learn more about the psychology of people..

    As you are reading this, wondering where this is heading, if you want to become better at love, it sadly will be hard but if you learn things like Body language and especially NLP, you will have the upper hand...
    You might want to search this up, search RSD, Mindfull attraction, NLP seduction...

    And even if you are Asperger which makes it hard to understand verbal cues like me, you can simply learn this to the point where you will succeed much better at love and socialising...

    I guarantee you that this will change your social and love life because it did to me but leaps and bounds
  • KevinClark45
    First of all, thank you for sharing. I hope you know that you are loved as a person by many. I find it hard to share with people about my asperger's because I wait to see if they will understand and accept it, but by then I forget because I'm so used to living with it. I can't entirely say just yet how it affects my dating life as I haven't had a relationship in a longtime. Does anyone have any advice?
    • Anonymous

      As I outlined in my post, in my experience, it's sometimes better to just not tell people you're autistic.
      It depends on how mild or strong your autism is and it's your choice.
      Dating with autism from a girl's perspective ↗ This is the link to the myTake I wrote on dating with autism.
      I truly believe that there is someone out there for everyone, and I hope that you will find a partner you can be yourself and happy with, because that's important.

  • MannySimms
    A woman I dated had an autistic grandson. Monotone speaker, no social skills. He did like television and she put the captions on. He taught himself to read, got through school and had a good job last I heard. You never know!
  • dragoblack
    Another horrible part of living with aspergers is dating. Those with aspergers don't always know how to say the right thing and people tend to steer clear of those with aspergers instinctually
    • Anonymous

      That’s what the other myTake I wrote was about! :)

    • AJC997

      Wait wait what do you mean instinctually? That concerns me

    • Anonymous

      @AJC997 I think he means that people avoid him and he's linking it to his Asperger's.
      I disagree with that but to each their own

    • Show All
  • Robertcw
    I have always strongly suspected autism in myself. I certainly display some traits as does my dad.

    Moreover, I do question much of what people seem to consider normal.
    • Robertcw

      I guess the likes are people agreeing with me. 🤷🏻‍♂️

  • NYCstreetPhotog
    I am once again amazed by your candor and eloquence in expressing yourself on a topic that I can only imagine can be quite difficult! (Just in case anyone is wondering, no, I am not patronizing you!) I've always been interested in mental development, AP Psych was a favorite class of mine in High School, and I'm always amazed by the mind's ability of greatness!

    I was wondering, if you could write a mytake based not on the struggles, but on the numerous benefits, I see you have included some of them in your mytakes, but I'd be very interested in reading one based solely on them.

    As most anyone that reads my opinions, they will see, I don't believe in equality, as there is none in nature. I believe in equity, and that is the true basis of one's worth. Having read your mytakes, I can clearly see your equity outshines many others!
    • Anonymous

      That's an excellent idea! I'll start on that right away, thank you!

    • Great! I can't wait to read it! :)

  • engel23
    Well to me you are as human as anybody can be. Life is what you make out of it. I have normal friends that do to over work or tiredness they act crazy and others. The most important is to try to understand ourselves and be patient with others. Don't worry about a boyfriend you will find one. Remember that dating and marriage are the hardest things in life
  • adolescentswede
    I socialized a lot with kids whom were outsiders. I had a suspicous to negative attitude to sex and romance. I read fiction and made edited video game maps at about 8. I started take interest in info books when i was 15
  • ALewis30
    I have Asperger's Syndrome as well. I had it all my life. I have very few "GOOD" friends, not much people understand me or like. I feel like I'm going to be alone in the world forever.
  • stonerboner
    I've always found it difficult to really connect. Never diagnosed though. But I recognize that other people seem to connect with others in a way that I don't. And sometimes it's lonely.
  • MackToday
    I've been suspected to have a touch of this. Makes sense when I look back over the past.
  • PastaAnimeboy
    Whoever are those kids that treat you like crap are extremely dumb for bullying you and that boy is totally an ungrateful pig for calling you "fat" just because you have a curvy body type (aka wide hips and large bust). Even those so-called teachers, especially that one who told them, are such selfish morons. I'm sorry to hear how awful it is. As someone who's also autistic, I can understand how it feels. I've been mistreated and I had done and said things that I regret and wished I didn't do. Please do part 2
  • Gatman34
    I don’t see where the autism is. Is it just the severe social anxiety?
    • Anonymous

      No, my brain is wired differently.
      It's hard to express in a single post, but I think in different ways, which sometimes leads to problems but can also be an advantage.
      Have you ever pondered over why people say "good morning" "hello" "good bye" and "see you" for several years? I still think it's highly unnecessary to greet someone and to say good bye, which has caused me problems in the past because I would refuse to say these things.
      This is a small example - it's not social anxiety. I enjoy being with others despite not having a lot of friends.

    • Social anxiety can make me not even think about saying good bye or hi. But if I've been drinking im smooth and say it all. Its annoying to know I've got it all there but im a little coy about it. Its gotten easier as I've gotten older though.

    • And im only saying this because sometimes i dont know what i have hahaha

  • Autism comes from Out-ism, playing out-of-rules.
    I don't suffer it - playing beyond boundaries is my first name.
  • Shamalien
    if I was born a couple of years later than I was I'd be diagnosed with so much shit lol, I have a lot of the symptoms of aspergers and adhd
  • ubobio
    I think I might be on the spectrum
  • rygod
    That's so mean
  • MoscowMitch
    I can relate. 10-14 years is the worst.
  • Anonymous
    it bothers me a lot when people say "theres no point in debating who has it worse with autism", that pisses me off a lot
    • Anonymous

      Why?

    • Anonymous

      because guys, men, get less sympathy than women do when it comes to struggling socially

  • Anonymous
    I was diagnosed with aspergers syndrome and social anxiety disorder at age 21. School was tough. The first 10 years from age 5-15 I was bullied. I was very quiet and that wasn't accepted. Nobody understood me. My teacher that I had at age ~11 realized that I had some difficulties socially and was the only one who ever tried to help me albeit the wrong way. He gave the task to one of my CLASSMATES to practice small talk exercises with me, that didn't go on for long. From age 12 to 15 I was constantly told by my teacher that in order for others to be nicer to me I had to change, and teachers even tried to force me to the school counselor. They would not tell me why, they just said i'm too quiet and no one gets me. Then from age 16 to 19 it was a new school and during the summer holiday before going there I changed myself a lot because I knew that something was wrong with me and I had to be more normal. I gave myself a makeover and tried to be more social, the social bit didn't last long. I made friends but ended up isolating myself from them in a fear that they'd start bullying me when I realized that I couldn't keep up with how social everyone else was and that I couldn't talk in groups because I got too stressed out and anxious. I wasn't bullied by anyone though, in fact most people liked me and thought I was nice and had a cool sense of style etc. I even met my first boyfriend there, a miracle to me as he was somewhat popular but unfortunately emotionally abusive. His abuse led me to therapy after I got out of that relationship, I was incredibly damaged as he was the love of my life and I couldn't cope with the fact that someone I gave so much love to could be that way. That was very lucky though as it was my therapist who helped me with the whole process of contacting a psychatrist as I already at that point suspected I might have aspergers as one of my close friends have it and well i'd known since I was 14 that social situations made me extremely anxious. Things are going rather well for me in life now, i'm dating and working and I have a few close friends but I still struggle internally. Those scars from years of bullying are still there, I never trust anyone and I always struggle with seeing good qualities I have. And of course the constant suspicion that people secretly hate me and the fear of bullying and abuse. Everything is a constant fight which people cannot see or understand.
  • Anonymous
    I've never officially been diagnosed but have always wanted to at least know if I have some type of autism. I've always had extremely hard at socializing with other people and been the "weird kid" who is too straight forward. I can't focus if there's too much sound or if the light in the room I'm in is "annoying" (usually very yellowish color). I hate when people touch me without my consent because it feels like it's burning my skin and I want to hit someone when that happens.

    I could go on about all things but no one here could diagnose me. I asked my parents if I could get help because people kept telling me I was autistic or had ADD and as someone who needed help in my everyday life with things others could do without, I really wanted to know what was wrong with me. My parents wouldn't ever let me get diagnosed because according to them my issue was only that I was "lazy". I had one teacher who said she respected if I had issues and even let me sit in a different room from the others if something was bothering me (I really liked her), but most just told me to stop complaining.

    It wasn't until recently I found out that asperger's runs in my family, so there is a possibility that I could have it but at my age it is no longer free to get diagnosed, and I don't have the money to go see a therapist.
    • Anonymous

      It wasn't free to get diagnosed here either. Where do you live if I may ask?

    • Anonymous

      Sweden

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