This is part 7 of a series. If you have not read part 1, I encourage you to do so, and but if not, everything in italics is carry over from that post in case you have not seen it. If you have, skip past that part and move forward to the new information.
As some of you know I am on the autism spectrum. I am what is known as a highly functional autistic. Do I accomplish things? Sure. Do I have many of the traits autistics have, absolutely. Do I wish I didn’t? Well, I’d be lying if I didn’t say there are days…but then there are days I think I’m just who I am.
My case is a little different than most. I didn’t know I was on the spectrum until I was older (in my 40s). How could that have happened? Well I can sum it up quickly.
About ten years ago I got married to a wonderful, very understanding woman. We have three kids. About the time number two came along we had kids to pediatricians as every parent does. We answered all the questions about a variety of subjects, well our second son is on the spectrum. Then, I called my mother (the child’s grandmother) with a “kid update” and the subject came up. Low and behold, my mother said something along the lines of you were diagnosed with that as a kid and we never told you.
First, how could you not tell someone. But that’s not the point here. If I had known that years prior it could have saved me from making some huge mistakes in life, or at least allowed me to arm myself appropriately. Am I still angry about this? Well, in some ways, but I can’t change the past, and I can’t change who I am so I’m moving on.
Why put all this on my website, especially when you can see at the top that I have written some books that I hope you read and enjoy? Well, I came across this blog on wordpress called askpergers (askpergers.wordpress.com) that is really well done. He deserves some thank you from me for helping me understand a few things.
The author had a post that deserves some attention. He listed out 7 different reasons for autistics being the targets of bullies, people who would take advantage of someone, or in general what I like to call assholes.
I will go into all 7 of his reasons and why I agree with him or can offer up some measure of personal example of how this happened and what might be possible to do to prevent it in the future.
Autistic people can struggle to ask for help with a problem because of communication skills.
As I understand it most people have trouble admitting there are things they don’t know. It took me until my 40s and a PhD in Physics, along with around 10 years at MIT to understand that there are a LOT of things I don’t understand. Asking for help is part of life.
Have I always asked for help?
Nope. Mostly it is because sometimes it takes me so long to explain to someone what the problem is it is faster for me to solve it myself. Is that my fault? Oh absolutely as I don’t communicate the way most people do.
When I explain something and I think my explanation is obvious, there are times people look at me like a dog with it’s head tilted. I think I’m doing a good job, I’m convinced they are just stupid (I used to think that) and now I get that it’s just me.
I work hard every single day on my communication skills and do now ask for help. I don’t always get it, but is it my fault for not explaining my needs well? Sometimes, because as it turns out the way I explain it the thing I’m asking about doesn’t seem like a big problem to most people. I need to explain not just the issue, but the impact that issue is having on something else, which is not what I am really good at (yet).
I can’t speak for all people on the spectrum, but I know over the years not asking for help has screwed me up more often than it has helped me. It has (and I can admit it) prevented my career from advancing as fast as it could have.
This concludes our seven part series. Will I write more on this subject? Well, who knows what tomorrow may bring, but in the mean time I am working on a few new book projects. Wrapping up another as we speak to be out before Christmas. There are more following that! Enjoy the blog, check out the books, and let’s hope that we can cross the finish line into a movie soon!