Patreon members and YouTube channel members had access to this video on July 23, 2021. The video’s public release will be August 25, 2021.
Alrighty. Hey, Humans, Lyric here, the NeuroDivergent Rebel. I didn’t know I was Autistic for the first 29 years of my life. I’ve always been Autistic, it was just a late discovery.
This week, I’m going to give you a list of things I didn’t know were related to being Autistic when I was growing up.
If you’re curious to know about some of the things that I didn’t know were related to the fact that I was Autistic growing up, please do stay tuned.
Quickly, before I dive into this list, I would like to say that this is my own personal list, and that means these things are not going to be true for each and every single Autistic Person. These are true for me. Each and every Autistic Person is an individual, and we are all very different and unique, and have vastly different experiences.
You may relate to some of the things on my list if you are Autistic. You may also not relate to some of the things on my list, because we’re all unique individuals.
If you’re a, neuro-typical watching this video, please do not think of this video as a definitive list and that all Autistic experiences are going to mirror my Autistic experience.
With that in mind, we can now dive in.
When I learned I was Autistic, I realized all of my struggles in school are because of my undiscovered Autism and ADHD growing up – without a doubt.
The school systems are set up for one particular neuro-typical learning style, and my Autistic thinking, and my ADHD, made the classroom experience a nightmare for me, and explain why the classroom gave me sensory overload, which is another thing we’ll get to in a minute.
In addition to struggling with the education part of school, I also struggled to make new friends in school, and often would only have one friend at a time, and put all of my energy into that one friend, which was never good.
When that friend would leave, or something would happen, I would lose that one friend and then I had no friends.
That was another school trouble, that extended outside of school too. When I did socialize and go out and “people”, I would have social hangovers, and then there’s Autistic Burnout, and my love, and need, for solitude.
I’ve seen memes online that say, “for every one hour of human interaction as introverts need three days of downtime to recover”, which I think is kind of funny.
That might be a bit of an exaggeration, but I feel like I do need a lot of recovery time from social things, especially with people I don’t know very well, like that’s really exhausting.
That’s why I tend to only have a very few close friends at a time that are, actually, close friends to me because I can learn too understand someone more over time. Whereas new people are a mystery and I struggle a lot more to read new people than I do people I’ve known for awhile.
Even with my own partner, that I’ve known for many, many, many, many years, I know a lot of the faces that are more obvious facial expressions, but every now and then there’ll be more neutral facial expression- I would just be like, “I don’t know what that face means. What, what, what can you explain what your face is this face you’re doing? Please tell me what that face means. I don’t understand it.”
Now that I know I’m Autistic I am really conscious of the fact that facial expressions mean something, because I didn’t use to think to look for any information. It just didn’t occur to me.
Before I realized I was Autistic, I just didn’t. I wasn’t looking for information in body language or facial expression.
I was like, “oh, that’s a thing… Interesting… fascinating!”
It’s actually something I’m really interested in now, now that I know it’s a thing, but I didn’t figure that out until I was 29. Oh!
A very big thing that is related to being Autistic that I didn’t know wasn’t related to being Autistic is my love, and need, for routines and also why I would freak out and get so upset with people, and with changes of plans, and when things would be sprung on me last minute, and surprises and things like that.
That was a big eye opener, because I would feel myself getting so upset about something and I would, I would feel like people, other people don’t get this upset about a little change to something, even if it was like a change that I actually might be excited about, I would struggle to deal with it, because the plan had changed, I had my mind set on doing one thing.
It was like my whole world would fall apart, and I would have sometimes these explosive meltdowns, in relation to these changes, and this unexpected coming to me.
Finding out I’m Autistic, and then looking at my life has been a lot of, “oh, that makes sense. Oh, that makes sense. Oh no, that makes sense.”
Everything makes a lot more sense all of the sudden, thinking about those meltdowns, and getting so upset over these changes, or just in general, why I would have such explosive outbursts and meltdowns, or overloads, and shut downs, and sensory overloads. These events were finally explained, but it wasn’t just bad things.
It was my natural ability to be a great acrobat, because my body was super flexible. I naturally could do backbends, because my back shoulders we’re super flexible.
It’s actually called hypermobility and, if you don’t have enough muscle around these super flexible joints, you can dislocate things, and hyperextend, and hurt yourself.
I have a lot of old injuries from this, but I have some really cool photos to show for it. Checkout, the NeurodivergentRebel Instagram page, if you would like to see more of that, cause a little pain, but no regrets.
Something else I didn’t understand was related to being Autistic was my complete dependence on visual schedules, prompting, and visual reminders, and lists to get things done.
Another big thing I had no idea it was related to being Autistic, was how much my body moves – stimming rocking, echolalia, verbal stimming.
All of these things, that my body seems to kind of have a mind of its own sometimes for, are related to being Autistic, and how my Autistic body regulates energy. Also the sensory seeking.
Sensory seeking: really loving, glitter, and twinkly things, and sad and cutting, and wanting to be in the water all of the time, and needing to feel hot sun on my skin, and being avoidant to cold.
All of that sensory stuff is related to being Autistic. Also being gaslit by people, and being told that I was being wimpy or complaining too much about sensory stuff my entire life. It’s related to being Autistic.
Another great thing about being Autistic is my ability to hyper-focus. That is related to being Autistic.
Also, something that’s great about being Autistic is the level of passion I have for the hobbies I take on and the things that do catch my interest.
When I was a kid, I could tell you each and every single dog breed and my mom would say, “what kind of dog is that?” I would guess, “this breed mixed with this breed.”
Then my mom would go and we’d ask the owner, “what breed of dog is this?” And I’d always be right. It was like this cool trick. It was just because I was really into dogs. I had to know everything about all of the dogs I needed to have all of the knowledge.
When I was a kid, it was a neat trick, wasn’t a particularly useful skill, but eventually, that did evolve into more fun. It became dog training, and then animal behavior, and animal training. Then I got really into behaviorism for awhile.
Now I care more about cross species communication and communicating with animals, that can’t necessarily, use words to speak back with you, and building a relationship with animals.
That could actually be an entire video altogether. So I’m going to pause, because I will go on a tangent otherwise, because I’ll get really interested in it, and can tell you all of this geeky stuff. That’s because I’m Autistic.
Fewer things make me happier than being left alone with my passions, and to study and engage in one of my passions or hobbies or “special interests”, as they’re sometimes called with Autistic People.
If I like you enough that I want to leave my passion to hang out with you, and come out of my-my happy place, and hang out with you, you really, really, really special to me. There are a few people that are that special in my life.
Another thing I didn’t know, it was related to being Autistic would be selective muteism.
There’s nothing selective about it. The name is ivery deceptive that is losing the ability to speak when anxious or overwhelmed, even if I know exactly what it is, I want to say. It’s like my mouth forgets how to make the words.
The most recent time this happened to me, I had a panic attack. Then for 20 minutes I sat in the car, after the panic attack, completely able to think clearly, knowing exactly what I wanted to say, not being able to move my mouth and just screaming on the inside, watching the clock for 20 minutes, going “I wonder when my mouth is going to start working again.”
Before, that I remember one of the early times this happened to me was in elementary school, nervousness about speaking in front of other children in the class, not being able to read what was on the paper in front of me, knowing the words, seeing the words, but my mouth not being able to move, to make the words come out, despite knowing exactly what words I wanted to say.
Another one I’m clumsy. I’m always walking into walls, and doors, and smacking my head on things, and busting my butt on things, and falling on myself, and I’m also, I struggle with driving.
All of this is related to sensory processing and, believe it or not, people see my roller skating videos and they’re like, “you’re not clumsy, no way” or the hula hula hoop dancing videos.
That is because those things I have put in hours and hours and hours and hours of practice to get to that skill level. Probably more hours of practice then it took a lot of the other people, who were practicing some of these skills, to get to that proficiency.
It takes me longer to learn things, a lot of times, especially bodily movement kinds of things. I tend to be very awkward, very clumsy and off balance, but eventually things like that. It’s called muscle memory, and your muscles do take over. Then I get out of my head, and I’m not thinking about the bodily movements anymore, and I get into a state of flow, and then it’s smooth movement.
It takes me longer to learn the flow for a lot of things, because I seem to have a bit of disconnection between my mind and body, especially my feet.
They’re really far away from my head. I think it takes a while to get the signal down.
I’m joking, but the skates, I’m not so clumsy on the skates, but I have put in hundreds and hundreds, hundreds of hours when I was a rollerskating car hop, in my teens in high school, that is because I put in a lot of hours on those skates.
My audio processing difficulties, not hearing words word for word and people sounding like the teacher from Charlie brown is related to sensory processing and me being Autistic as well.
Being hyperlexic, and teaching myself to read at age one and a half, and having an advanced vocabulary, and reading at college level in elementary school, was related to being Autistic.
Also, I should mention, when we’re talking about hyperlexia and having advanced reading ability, being related to being Autistic, Autistic People are also likely to be Dyslexic, or have Discalcula, or Dyspraxia, or other learning differences in it as well, so not all of us are advanced readers. Some of us actually do struggle with reading. It depends on how we process communication and information.
Being Autistic impacts the way we process information and communication, so my particular set is struggling with auditory processing, but being very good with visual and written processing and words written, typed words, specifically.
Not written handwritten words. I Actually kind of have a hard time reading handwriting.
My handwriting is also atrocious. That’s something else related to being Autistic.
Another thing related to being Autistic, that I didn’t realize until more recently, is my ADHD. Because Autistic People are more likely to have other NeuroDivergencies going on, in addition to being Autistic, one of the most common co-occurring conditions, in addition to being Autistic is ADHD. I am ADHD combined one and two, in addition to being Autistic.
Let me know if you would like for me to do another one of these videos about things I didn’t realize were related to me being ADHD. Cause I can do that too.
Pop pop that like button puppet, pop the little like button to let me know if you would like for me to do video about ADHD, or drop it in the comments or drop video suggestions in the comments below.
All right, humans. Thanks for hanging out with me this week. If you found this list helpful, or if you related to items on this list, let me know.
Actually, if you did not relate, and you are Autistic, and you have things that are different than what’s on this list, I’d really love to know, because we, as Autistic People are all different. My experience is not going to be each and every Autistic experience. Some of these things we may have in common, but some of them, we may not.
So if you don’t relate to a few of the things on my list, or more than a few of the things on my list, please don’t worry. It doesn’t mean you are not Autistic, or your autistic experience is any less valid.
As always, a huge thank you to the Patreon subscribers, Facebook supporters, and YouTube channel members who do the little monetary subscription to help support the channel and make this content possible. Couldn’t do it without the viewers like you.
Thanks to everyone who’s here. Whether you are giving video suggestions, commenting, sharing, interacting with the videos, you’re all extremely important and I’m so grateful for each and every one of you. Thank you all. I will see you next week on Wednesday, same time and place bye humans.
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With gratitude, Lyric