My name is Rose Blackman. I’m a graduating senior at a university in Philly, studying entrepreneurship and business analytics. I’ve spent a majority of my life in the music community. I’ve played multiple instruments, including violin, piano, clarinet, and percussion. I’ve also performed in musicals and multiple dance concerts. Since my junior year of college, I’ve played Quidditch- a real life adaptation of the flying sport from Harry Potter. Some of my hobbies include upcycling, baking, cooking, and sewing. I could go on and on about what my favorite movies, books, and musical artists are, but this isn’t an online dating profile. Rather, I’m trying to show that there is a person writing these words. These are the thoughts of an individual on the spectrum. I’m not a representative of the whole community, but I haven’t met anyone quite like me-yet.
Both my brother and I are on the Autism Spectrum; I was diagnosed at the age of 21(Level 1), and my brother was diagnosed when he was two (middle functioning). Throughout our childhood, I became the older sibling. I looked after my brother, worried about his future, celebrated his accomplishments, and became frustrated when he went into my room without asking. When we lived together, my brother would rearrange my CDs when I wasn’t home. I don’t know what his organizational system is, but he definitely has one.
Because I’m a high-functioning autistic person, I was able to fake having social skills and a sense of social boundaries. Studies have shown that non-males on the spectrum are like chameleons-able to adapt to various social situations, however exhausting it is. I fit into that description perfectly. I received minimal social and academic support-not because I didn’t need it, but because I knew how it affected my social standing. Therefore, I was able to get out of it by faking progress.
The good news is that since my diagnosis, I’ve been able to look back at my life and figure out why I felt so different. The bad news is that there are few resources for high-functioning autistic adults. However, I’m very lucky-I have supportive friends and family, I can live on my own, and I can hold down a job. Multiple jobs, actually. I’ve been a production manager (I managed people!), a research assistant, a content creator, and a dishwasher (very glamorous). Overall, I want to give back to my local, national, and global community.