Patreon members and YouTube channel members had access to this video on April 28, 2022. The video’s public release will be July 6, 2022.
Alrighty… welcome back Lyric here. I am a late discovered late diagnosed Autistic Person, some of you know this, but for those of you who are new, because there are a lot of new people here:
I didn’t find out I was Autistic until I was 29, and my ADHD wasn’t diagnosed until several years later, however, autism and ADHD are both lifelong neurodevelopmental differences.
This means I was Autistic and ADHD my entire life, growing up, as a child, and I will be Autistic ADHD, my brain will be the same, the day I die.
There were obvious manifestations of my brain difference as a child growing up, many of which were labeled as “behavioral problems” and dismissed, or I was constantly scolded for acting in a very Autistic ADHD way.
If you want to know some of the things I got in trouble for as a kid, please stay tuned.
It’s really strange looking back over your life, growing up, being Autistic, being ADHD, and not knowing this about myself, because so many of the things that I was scolded for, or getting in trouble for with other people, looking back, can tie into my NeuroDivergent brain.
Which really just goes to show how, even without a label… I didn’t have that autism or ADHD label, though I almost was diagnosed or assessed for learning disabilities in first or second grade. My parents chose to refuse, because of how much stigma was associated with that… and because the school said, “there’s something wrong with your child.”
Saying that to a family of undiagnosed NeuroDivergent People, who are a lot like me, who don’t see anything wrong with themselves, that was not the right way to approach it.
However, society does seem to see something wrong with people who are different, and don’t fit the mold, and don’t behave in the ways that are expected. So my entire life, I have been scolded for NeuroDivergent, Autistic, ADHD, coded behaviors, and I’m going to jump into those now.
I’ve got a list in front of me, and trying to decide which one to even dive into first, and there’s more than are even on the list. I just listed some I didn’t want to forget.
A lot of the air quotes “behaviors” that I was in trouble for growing up, were things I didn’t get in trouble for at home, but got in trouble for, especially in school.
I think school was one of the most traumatic experiences of my young life, as an undiagnosed NeuroDivergent young person.
For example, things that were not an issue at home, that were suddenly an issue at school: verbal stimming, something I still do a lot of, frequently, to this day, as a young person, and now.
I would talk to myself. I sing songs constantly on a loop. I make up songs about things I’m doing, as I narrate them. I’m constantly singing, and stimming, and making sounds with my mouth, which are disruptive and annoying to other people.
As a child this got me in trouble, a lot in school, because I couldn’t be quiet, and I was told I lacked self-control because of this.
As an adult, in the workplace, it makes things very difficult, because I constantly have a lot of pressure, if I am working in a physical office environment, with lots of other people working quietly, to not do this, something that is so natural to me, it is like breathing, or moving or rocking or any other kind of stim, the verbal stimming.
So it takes a lot of energy for me to not verbal stim, and as a child I didn’t have the ability to hold that in, when certain circumstances would arise. If I would get really excited about something, or I would be overwhelmed, the stimming, even now, if I’m really overwhelmed, I’m going to start stimming in ways, that I actually don’t have control of, always, or I may do the stim before I realize I’ve done it, and then I can stop myself, but initially the stim comes out, and it’s like, “Surprise!!! That was a stim! I wasn’t planning to do that. I didn’t do it on purpose.” whether it’s verbal or otherwise.
I got in trouble a lot for my stimming at school, not being able to sit still or stay in my seat, tapping on things, clicking pens, jumping out of my chair, and walking around.
Being constantly in motion is something I got in so much trouble for, and tapping my feet, drumming my knees under the desk apparently it was too loud or disruptive.
Teachers wanted me to pay attention in a way that was thought of as respectful to the teacher, regardless of my own individual learning needs.
Having to sit still upright in a chair, and not being allowed to get out of the chair, when I felt need to do so, is something I never would have been asked to do at home, before I entered school.
A lot of times at home, I would like to lay flat bellied on the floor, grounding with the floor, feeling the floor under me, laying down in a reclined position, with my feet drawing circles on the carpet behind me.
All of a sudden, when you put me in this upright chair, I was, I was in trouble for not sitting properly in my chair, and not sitting still, and being attentive in my chair, and not having good posture in my chair.
If you look at me right now, I do not, to this day, have good posture in my chair. I’m sitting criss-cross applesauce, with a Chiweenie in my lap, and I am slouched and leaning on a table. I do not hold myself upright in this position on the chair, and I couldn’t do it when I was a little kid either. It’s just this random thing that I got in trouble for.
The classroom was not set up for a sensory sensitive creature like me, and that meant that when I tried to protect myself, and regulate my own senses, and find a space where I could be comfortable, underneath my desk, away from the bright fluorescent lighting, in a little soft cave, when everyone in the classroom was feeling loud, and the sensory environment was just too much… I got in trouble for trying to regulate my senses, and going into a space. I felt more safe and secure in.
Because I wasn’t looking at the teacher, the teacher assumed I couldn’t, possibly, be listening to them, when in reality, I probably could have done better if the teacher would have let me sit and do my work under the desk, not looking at the teacher or anyone around.
I could hear just fine under the desk, but me being under the desk, and being out of my chair, as with when I would jump out of my chair for stimming and other sensory seeking purposes, was something I got in trouble for, which often resulted in me either being sent out into the hallway, being sent to the principal’s office, or having my recess removed, which is horrible because I needed more movement.
I needed to be able to move more, and often my punishment for not having my needs met, and not getting all of the movement, that I needed during the day, as a young Autistic ADHD Person, who very hyperactive. I needed all of that movement, and they restricted my movement further, which actually made things much worse for me.
I feel like a lot of the things I was punished for, especially in school, come down to the fact that my attention doesn’t look like the attention of other people around me or that people, for some reason, assume that if you are not being still, and looking at someone directly, and giving that other person feedback, you’re not listening to that person.
But for me, as an Autistic Person, my personal experience, when I am doing all of that nodding, looking at someone as they’re talking, a lot of those things, that is performative. It is entirely performative.
It is something I do for the person on the other side, and, actually, decreases my ability to engage properly, because, instead of fully listening, I am devoting some of my attention to look like, I’m listening instead of just being present and listening. That’s because my entire life I’ve been scolded for not paying attention.
Sometimes I really couldn’t pay attention, because for example, in the classroom, with all of the busy-ness going on, the lights, the kids, the movement, all of that stuff, it was hard for me to actually pay attention.
So sometimes I really was unable to pay attention, but sometimes I was paying attention, but because my attention looked different from nonAutistic, non ADHD attention. I was not looking at people when they spoke to me. I was often looking away, looking down doodling, drawing, or doing something else in class while, while listening. It’s something I often got in trouble for.
My entire life, so many misunderstandings have gotten me into trouble. A lot of these misunderstandings come from other people assuming that I interpret the world, and experience the world the way they do, and applying their own filter onto me.
In addition to being Autistic and ADHD, I also have an anxiety disorder and I am an anxious human. And when you have anxiety, people who don’t have anxiety often will misinterpret your actions, because they don’t understand what it’s like to be driven by anxiety.
For example, in school, because I had an advanced reading level, and I tested well on reading, when I had anxiety about reading out loud in front of the other students, and experienced selective mutism, which is a terrible thing. There is nothing selective about it.
I just get anxious and it’s as if my brain forgets, I have a mouth and a tongue, and I can be screaming on the inside. I know exactly what I want to say, and I can’t make a single word come out of my mouth. There’s nothing selective about that.
I had so much anxiety, I couldn’t, physically, read in front of the other students in my class because the teachers knew I had a high reading level and vocabulary, it was assumed that this was a behavioral problem, refusing to preform.
So many times in my life being unable to perform was thought of, as me refusing to do something that I was unable to do. Because people around me could do the thing, it was expected that I do the things everyone else did.
I could do an entire video talking about how my anxiety has been misinterpreted as other things.
Meltdowns, another big thing that I was getting in trouble for, as a young person and shut downs, which I get in trouble for as an adult now, too. I get in trouble for meltdowns and shutdowns.
As a young person, having meltdowns, not knowing what they were, getting overwhelmed, getting triggered into that fight, flight, flee, thing that happens to some of us, saying things I didn’t mean when I was in the meltdown, saying things I would never say when I wasn’t in the middle of a meltdown, being overly emotional, getting really angry and really aggressive during a meltdown, despite not being angry and aggressive when I’m not having a meltdown, having people think my meltdowns were tantrums, and were a way to manipulate people, when I was really just a completely overwhelmed human. Those, those were real issues for me growing up.
Something else got me in trouble, as a young person, and occasionally gets me a little trouble even today, was interpreting things literally. Because I am a visual thinker, when people say words to me, it paints me pictures, so when you say “raining cats and dogs”, I see cats and dogs falling from the sky.
I actually really love these phrases and strange quotes. I kind of am a little bit obsessed with them, because as a child, they were so odd to me and didn’t make any sense. I was a young person, for example, when one of my guardians told me they were going to draw me a bath, I ran to the kitchen and got them a pencil and paper so that they could, literally, draw me a bath.
Things like this meant I was often called a “smart Alec” because it was thought that I was being a jokester, or making pranks, but I was just interpreting literally “draw me a bath”.
Okay. Let me grab you a pencil and paper so you can draw me a bath.
I could keep going on and on for an hour about all of the things I got in trouble for as a young person, that were actually NeuroDivergent related things. These are just a few, and I’m sure you listening to the sound of my voice or reading as transcript today, actually, probably could do your own video equally long.
I would love for you to share and drop in the comments below things that you got in trouble for growing up, that were actually just you being NeuroDivergent.
I have a feeling, unfortunately, there are a lot of them, which is why so many of us feel as if we have to conform, and assimilate into society, and make ourselves palatable for the benefit of other people, and often to our own detriment.
It is unfortunate that we are constantly being told that how we are, and who we are, naturally, isn’t good enough, and one day I hope this will stop.
All right, everyone. Thanks for hanging out with me this week.
If you can relate to, or got in trouble for any of these things that I got in trouble for growing up, drop me a note. Let me know. How many of these can you relate to?
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With gratitude, – Lyric