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It’s hard to understand that socially I used to have a hard time getting along with others. But knowing this gives me the inspiration to know that there’s so much more out there for me to understand, and that understanding is where I needed to begin. Learning how to discover myself between my youth to my adulthood gave me some ideas on where I am now, and hopefully in sharing these ideas with the rest of the autism community, I can give you ideas on how to discover yourself too.
I remember during these years that I was more into haptics (understanding through touch) and motioning my hands more than actually speaking to others. I was more or less not the one to go out and play with my peers because I just didn’t want to express myself to them or to ask them for any assurance because of being embarrassed. So, these were the years that I slowly discovered that something was up with me, because I just didn’t want to go out and do anything unless I was sitting down in my “zone”. The few ways I would go to or travel was based on: if I went to a place long enough, my comfortability with the place, and visual influences.
So, around those times, my school had this one activity called “Community Training” where we would go to places and learn how to get used to the community. This was mainly around the center city region of Philadelphia along with occasional trips to supermarkets and bowling. At first, I didn’t know what in the world I was doing or the purpose of it, but it did make me see that I was on the verge of growing into adulthood. This was the startup of my transition to independence, and I used these trips to teach me different things.
Whatever I did at school, I did it exactly the same at home. This was one of the few motivating qualities that made me understand the value of going out with certain people. It’s just that when I do it with friends or family outside of what I did in the school setting, it often threw me off. So, I usually am pretty silent around those times.
This has also gone along with me in the transition of leaving one school to another. I think this is where the perspective of understanding growth really followed, because I felt pretty dependent in my middle school years. During these years (2008-2012) I did have some motivation to get better with exploring outside of my comfort zone in my spare time. Some of these involved:
I want to talk a bit about learning how to use public transportation and why I was so amped to do that. I had this personal goal to understand where to go without having to ask others and having time to just do whatever I want. If there were certain places I wanted to go or if there were people that I wanted to, then I didn’t have to ask, I could just go. I worked on it until I felt comfortable, then I could just remind someone that I am doing something and go off independently for the next activity.
Overall, going forward into adulthood my goal is just for me to understand the environment around me. Despite my successes on the little things I have accomplished, there’s much more that I would like to improve as I explore all parts of my life and eventually share with everyone via blogs.
So as of now, I am a self-advocate and feel more determined to move, motivate and impact the ASD community. I thought of the title “living in a puzzling world with infinite possibilities” because I thought it would be impactful to the rest of the people that I am advocating for as the autism community is transitioning from the puzzle piece to the infinity sign. I don’t mind either of the logos, but I do find it comforting that it’s been a rather interesting transition, much like my personal growth into going outside more. I hope that as a person on the spectrum, I can try my best to help others who have that goal to be more independent in their personal lives.
There’s so much to see, to do and to learn out there for people on the spectrum. I do find that my own growth is very challenging, so as we push to better goals, let us guide ourselves through this puzzling world and see the infinite things that are awaiting! Happy Autism Acceptance/Awareness Month to all!