Autistics Speaking Day 2011!

"Autistics Speaking Day"

“Autistics Speaking Day”

In honor of Autistics Speaking Day, I would like to share with the public a few of my experiences as an individual on the Autistic Spectrum.

I first was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in 2006, when I was 26 years old. Before this, the only professional explanations for my differences were “severe social phobia” and “selective mutism.”

Being on the spectrum, I have some sensory issues. They have been with me all of my life, and have created many challenges for me. Typically, bright lights and strong perfumes irritate me, and I often suffer from headaches due to them. I feel very uncomfortably self-aware of my skin, and sometimes feel trapped in my body. Because of this, I unwittingly engage in certain stereotypies – often pacing, shaking my leg in place, flapping my hands, swinging my arms, and rocking back and forth, without even realizing it. I am unable to withstand most fabrics, and almost always wear cotton, avoiding anything frilly or lacy. Tight-fitting shoes and pants are completely unbearable, along with bras with seams in the cups, and cheap socks with seams that pucker at the edges. I’m intolerant of many flavors and textures, and typically eating the same few foods over and over, for weeks, months or years at a time, with little deviation.

As an Autistic individual, socialization does not come naturally for me. I am typically stiff and ackward in new social settings. I have difficulty maintaining eye-contact and engaging in small-talk with others. I also have trouble starting and ending conversations, and am very literal at times. I am unable to create a “social mask,” and don’t have a good understanding of what is “appropriate” in conversation, so I often divulge too much personal information about myself. I often communicate thoughts that are considered offensive to others, and display emotions that are considered “inappropriate.”

Like many on the Autistic spectrum, I also have many talents due to my condition. I am hyperlexic, and also have a very good memory. Besides this, I also also hold strong technical skills with absolutely no formal training. I am self-taught in the following: computer building and repair, website design and mastering, digital illustration and design, music production, engineering and recording, and even some HTML/CSS coding! As long as I am interested, I can learn ANYTHING that I put my mind to!

As an Aspergian, I am a proponent of SELF-ADVOCACY, and strongly embrace NEURODIVERSITY.  I know that my condition isn’t a “disease,” nor a “disorder,” but a functional, natural and necessary difference, worthy of celebration, and respect! I believe that those of us on the Autistic spectrum must learn to advocate for ourselves, as well as each other, because neurotypical individuals simply cannot voice our thoughts and concerns as well as we can! With all of this in mind, I founded “Aspergian Women United,” a non-profit organization created with the intention of developing a strong network of Aspergian women, so that we may encourage each other’s unique gifts and talents, while also supporting one another through the individual challenges of living as Aspergians within a neurotypical world!

Creative Commons License     Fair Use     Public Domain

(All original portions of this work, by Rayn Kleipe, are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, while all redistributed links, images, sounds, videos, and writings are protected under 17 U.S.C. § 107: Fair Use, or under Public Domain)

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9 Responses to Autistics Speaking Day 2011!

  1. itsmedamion says:

    I love it! So open and honest that it totally gives others an unspoken encouragement to do the same!

  2. I love it! So open and honest that it totally gives others an unspoken encouragement to do the same!

  3. Pingback: Rayn’s Post Included in Annual “Autistic Speaking Day” Flash-Blogging Event (2011) -

  4. Great post – arrived here from the AS Day blog and glad to have discovered your site and your music!

    • Franmy says:

      With regards to the cure issue when I had not yet come to terms with my aitusm it was something I thought I wanted too. When Star Trek The Next Generation was on I felt a kinship to Data and his quest to be more human. Much of what baffled him baffled (and still does baffle me). I thought overcoming my aitusm would be much like him outgrowing his programming. When I became more active on the net (initially mainly on IRC) I found that my insiders perspective of aitusm actually did have value to some parents who were willing to listen. I found others of my kind as well. I did some writing on a site that is now defunct and heard from people all over the world that is had been useful and slowly I came to terms with my autsm. That it could actually be of benefit to people was a new idea but one I needed. I like to be useful and altering the perspectives of a portion of people about what it means to be autistic seemed useful for both their parents and those viewed as the next generation of aitusm. I came to realize that since aitusm is pervasive technically there is no non-autistic me. More than pretty well any condition aitusm shapes pretty well everything about how you experience the world which shapes you and your world view. I don’t believe in cure. I certainly am not anti treatment. That I can speak at all has certainly been a help to leading the life I live now. I hated speech therapy back when I had it but without it I would have even a slimmer chance of passing for normal those times that it is desirable than I do now.I suspect I have little chance as it is. I came out to my rabbi relatively early in our relationship and he just laughed and asked if I thought that would be news to him. I kind of thought it might be as up to then he had mainly seen me in a fairly structured environment. He was kind about it but it made me wonder if I was deluding myself about ever passing.There are times I still wish I had the options open to the neurologically typical for some things. It’s not quite the same thing as wishing for a cure though but the occasional twinge of envy for people who can undergo stress and still be verbal, or actually stay in a noisy Emergency Room for long enough to get treated doesn’t seem likely to completely fade.

  5. Orlando Dillon says:

    Hi Acidrayn,

    It was very exciting that we got a chance to connect yesterday. I would love to interview you and get my listener to learn more about you.

    I am very impressed by your bio and your story. I really was hoping to have you on this week, as I’m interviewing a lady who is an advocate

  6. Pingback: Autistics Speaking Day 2012! «

  7. Xiao says:

    , I think that hearing from other austits and getting this awareness generated is such an awesome thing! I will be honest, when Brett was little and first diagnosed, it was very hard to see older severly autistic people because there were so many unknowns and mysteries we were facing with this tiny toddler. I had to deal with the present and looking forward toward his future was something that was daunting back then. As Brett has grown and his personality emerges, I seek meeting and talking to austits who can give me such insight on being autistic and what that means for them. To see how brilliant and wonderful these individuals are gives me such hope to now eagerly look forward to Brett’s future and all the ways he will continue to grow. As Gareeth states though, I am not anti treatment. There are aspects of Brett’s autism that I feel he needs help with ..he has been very anxious lately and that is getting in the way some times of him doing things I KNOW he really enjoys or things I know he would enjoy if he could just get past the fear .it sometimes paralyzes him and I think no one should live in that much fear. I also continue to find ways to help him communicate because life would just be so much easier for him .that doesn’t mean I struggle every day until he physically says the words. I dream of him just being able to type it out or write it out..however it comes just so that some day it does. I would be lying if I said I never wanted to know what thoughts were inside of Brett’s head .It’s a part of him I can’t wait to get to know even more! Now if someone offered me a surgery and said we will put this brain in your son and he will be normal ..I would pass. In the early years, I may not have. I see now that Brett is Brett and HE is who I love dearly. To greatly alter that would mean he wasn’t him ..I will always strive to help him feel comfortable and help him in the areas he really struggles with but would not want him to be someone else ..I hope something out of this ramble makes sense. To cure or not to cure is a very hot topic .we are all aware of that. I agree that the cure could mean so many things to so many people. I appreciate the thought provoking essay here Ariane as your blog always inspires me to grow!! Blessings~

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