Saturday, October 5, 2013

Interview with Gary-Autism Acceptance Day

I am interviewing Gary, who lives on Vancouver Island.
I am a middle age male of East Asian descent.  I live on Vancouver Island on the west coast of Canada with my cat and work in the printing industry. 
What is your life like as an Autistic person?
I often feel different from others, including my friends and relatives. It’s like being a square peg in a world of round holes.  A world I find overwhelming much of the time. I find it exhausting trying to pass as neural-typical in order to fit in. That is why it was a big relief to know that I am not the only one. It’s as if there is suddenly this big community of individuals who I share a common bond with. 
What is difficult for you about being Autistic?
For me the difficulties of being Autistic are being misunderstood by others and judged because of things I have difficulty controlling and that are hard to explain. Because I seem so “high functioning”, it’s hard for others to believe I have problems. It’s frustrating when there isn’t much in the way of support available for adults on the spectrum. Growing up I was a magnet for bullies, as well as constantly criticized by my parents for being dumb and stupid (as well as looking weird because of my stimming) because of their lack of understanding of Autism.
What are the positive and joyful aspects of autism for you?
On the other hand, there are many positive aspects of being Autistic. For example, I am not a slave to fads and fashion or trying to have as much material wealth as possible. I value honesty and find joy in the simplest things (patterns and textures in nature, things that move by themselves, reflections of light on shiny objects, SpongeBob).  I am knowledgeable in the subjects of my obsessive interests and have a desire to help others on the spectrum. 
How has the Autism Acceptance Day/Month effort over the past three years affected you personally? What meaning does it have for you?

To me, Autism Acceptance Day/Month means being proud of my differences despite what others might think. Also, it means joining with others to fight against stereotypes and negative portrayals in the media. To change attitudes in society and to try to make life easier for the younger generation of Autistics in a world not design with us in mind. 
What is one thing about acceptance that would make a difference in the world?
Acceptance would lead to real understanding and accommodations that allow Autistic individuals to function and thrive in society in all parts of the world.
Could you say something about Autistic children and parents?
I would like to add that because we live in a world unfriendly to Autistics, parents should give as much support and unconditional love to their Autistic children as possible. 
 Gary, thank you for taking the time to interview with the Autism Acceptance Day blog. It has been interesting to learn about your experiences and your forward-thinking ideas about where we will go with the Autism Acceptance movement.

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