Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Interview with Kiley Quinn-Autism Acceptance

I am interviewing Kiley Quinn, from Oregon.
My name is Kiley Quinn. I am thirty-two years old and am active in a number of autism groups in the Portland, Oregon area and a few international online groups.

What is your life like as an Autistic person?

My life has changed considerably since diagnosis. In the past I was quite anxious and kept to myself. Since diagnosis, I've learned to listen to my body and use sunglasses and ear plugs when necessary and have gained considerable self-confidence. I've even been able to do public speaking, which made me physically ill when I was younger. I find that the more odd in appearance I am (i.e. not trying to “pass”) the less likely I am to fall into the “uncanny valley” of behavior that is just NT enough to be off putting to people.

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

People are so unpredictable. I can accept the randomness of things like sensory environments and the weather and prepare for them, but the randomness of people's moods continues to surprise me. The good thing about this randomness is that people are also unexpectedly kind.

What is the most joyful, fun, exciting thing about being Autistic? 

Each special interest is as wonderful and exciting as falling in love.  I am currently passionate about drawing, playing string instruments, and my favorite TV shows.

How has the Autism Acceptance Day/Month effort over the past three years affected you personally?

Autism Acceptance Month is bittersweet to me. I feel some resentment for the way things used to be in the world when I was growing up. I feel happy about the improved awareness, and I feel highly motivated to work hard to increase acceptance, particularly when I come across the (thankfully decreasing) percentage of parents and educators who are resentful about autistic children and the challenges they face.

What is one thing about acceptance that would make a difference in the world?

 I would most like to see more respect for different communication styles, verbal or computer augmented, and awareness that there are many different types of intelligence and skills that are not visible at first glance. Even the most severely impaired person is special in some way and can find something to be passionate about with a little help from others.

Do you have children or other family members who are Autistic?

We are all autistic in my household. I long suspected my husband was autistic before I realized I was. He is quite blunt with flat affect and has a classic engineer personality type. The official diagnosis cycle began with my oldest daughter, followed by myself and my younger daughter. The beginning of my parenting experience was rocky, with health problems and a lot of dysregulation on my part. I have challenged myself considerably to meet my children's needs. The more I learn about my girls, the more I learn about myself, and I hope to use what I've learned to help others.

Kiley blogs at Check back for her posts since her blog is relatively new. 

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, Kiley. :)

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