In the last few years, the buzz about autism is so great, yet it is so misunderstood. Seeing the rise in autism cases, we want to know what autism is, yet even the specialists in the world on autism still know very little about this condition.
Decades ago, when people were thinking autism, they were thinking of this Dustin Hoffman’s rainman character who was counting card at the casino with the character played by Tom Cruise. Now, the question of autism is on everyone’s lips, but with the great particularity that it is a concept so big and uniform that it’s difficult to categorize correctly.
I know what autism is like firsthand. I was diagnosed with autism in 2002, I was 13 at the time. In April 2002, when I was in Grade 7, all my life collided, I had a psychotic crisis and a big depression. This is when specialists have discovered that I have autism. It’s since that time that I take medication. In 2003, I was sectioned by my own will at the psychiatric wing of a Children’s hospital. I must say that I was (and am) still lucky, as I had incredible parents who did their a great job to help me as being an only child.
Even if I had some problems during my four years of high school especially with teasing and bullying from some other students, I did well in high school. University went well and I was able to graduate after 5 years with a Bachelor in International Development. Being trilingual, I have a great skill to analyze about politics, the economy and international relations. Having an encyclopedic knowledge helps, but also being able to analyse a situation is a great passion.
Today, I am working in a part time job for a large corporation in policy analysis, in a great work environment. However challenges remains high as I still don’t know if I can work one day without medication or if I am independent enough to live alone. The other problem is that Obsessive Compulsive Behavior is something common with my persona. I like doing repetitive things and I am obsessive for many things. I am a bibliophile, and when I buy (used) books, I buy them in chucks, just like I enjoy writing electoral statistics during my spare time. I still don’t know if this is something chemical, but if I don’t do these things, I feel bad. I feel is there is something missing in my life.
Telling my personal story is the easy part. The complex part is that each person with autism have a different story. Each individual also have different capacities. This question of difference is indeed, why I think why cases of autism always existed, but were badly or not diagnosed. The irony is that even if I have autism I am unable myself to cope with people with some forms of autism because they tend to shout and emit loud and unpredictable sounds. These are all reasons why giving help and support to people with autism (and especially when they become adults) is an arduous task.
But people with autism have great qualities. Whatever their particular condition, having a condition related to the autistic spectrum means being tenacious. You work harder for doing many things, but you grow stronger doing it at the same time. You think differently also for some things and in this day and age, thinking unlike other people even with some ideas which could be considered as »crazy » will get you further in today’s world.
Finding a way to help better having autism have a better life is better than a cure. Even if they have many challenges, many people would never want to be normal, because they see their autism as a sort of gift. Of course, many people who have autism have mental health or psychical issues and this is something very important to consider for getting any help with people with autism.
No doubt that in conclusion, it’s not surprising that many organisations are trying to recruit people with autism. We perhaps need less normal people and more people who think outside the box. People who speak with the heart like I am doing now, but who also think with their head.