Monday, May 27, 2013

Interview with Ben-Autism Acceptance

Today I am interviewing Ben,  "painter and autistic, 43 and happily partnered."

Ben, what is your life like as an Autistic person? 
there's a pervasive noticing of difference, and of being exhausted from so often filling in the gaps between my experience and the general kinds of experiences that allistic people share. some aspects of this have been getting easier since my diagnosis at 38, some (possibly because I am noticing them more) feel more pronounced, maybe more difficult for me to accept. I enjoy some of my intellectual peculiarities, and some of my sensory sensitivities, like my intense response to smell (usually pleasant, though not always) and colour. finding clothing that doesn't bother my skin, and shoes that don't hurt my feet can get difficult.

What is the most difficult about being Autistic, for you?

socializing for pleasure or in a work environment. I want to share, and I want a few friends, but I find it difficult to keep friends and jobs. It's one of the reasons I prefer to work for myself.
What is the most joyful, fun, exciting thing about being Autistic?

learning things from others, in books or online or in person, and I LOVE figuring things out for myself. I also get a lot of joy from simple things like tastes, smells and colours. 
How has the Autism Acceptance Day/Month effort over the past three years affected you personally? If you were not aware of it until recently, what meaning does Autism Acceptance Day/Month have to you now? 

I don't pay a lot of attention to it, though I do have Facebook friends who post information and graphics to do with Autism Acceptance Month.
What is one thing about acceptance that would make a difference in the world?

meaningful, gainful employment
Do you have children or other family members who are Autistic?

I have a niece who has been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, though I'm not sure that's an informed diagnosis, since she seems to have had language and verbal delays in learning. My mother shares many of the unusual signs of AS/autism as well.
I had sent everyone a notice about not publishing pro-cure opinions here (even though I know that will keep some Autistics from wanting to interview with Autism Acceptance Day's site. Ben responded to that notice: 
NOTE: I WILL NOT PUBLISH ANYTHING ABOUT WANTING TO CURE AUTISM, or in support of cure-oriented organizations.

excellent, since I have nothing to cure ;-)

Thank you for joining us, Ben. I have that same love of figuring things out for myself. It really is fun!