Before getting into the field of autism, I had some pretty clear expectations for what ‘autism’ was, based on my experiences with Jon. To me, autism was: Rewinding a movie to watch the same scene 20 times over? Check. Always getting to sit in the front seat no matter who calls ‘shotgun’? Check. Obsessed with pop? To this day, Check. Refusing to listen to me when I was his babysitter? A million times check.
Now that I’ve had many more experiences with individuals on the spectrum, I’ve come to realize that some of what I think of as ‘autistic traits’ is actually just Jon being Jon. Individuals (with autism) are so unique – they have their own strengths, interests, emotions, frustrations – none of which is limited or defined by their autism.
So how many parts autism, and how many parts individual? Does it really matter?
One of Jon’s personal traits is that he LOVES to retell stories from our childhood. As you know, Jon doesn’t have great communication skills – he can struggle to carry on a conversation, express his emotions, or ask other people questions – but he is awesomely verbal when recalling memories (see Walking the Turtle post).
And the best part about this trait? He cracks himself up when he talks about the ridiculous things he used to do or the crazy situations he would get us into. Even though many of these situations were, at the time, incredibly stressful (i.e. him driving the van into the side of our house when he was 6), Jon manages to find them hilarious now. He retells them in a way that has us all laughing. It’s a pretty endearing trait – 20/20 hindsight at its finest.
Hello my name is Rebecca and I’m 18 years old.
I’m a sister of 3 brothers and 3 sisters. 2 of my brothers has autism. Frederik is 17 years old and Nicolas is 11 years old. They have both autism, but you don’t see it.
What you write in your story looks familiar to me. Especially rewinding a movie to see the same scene over and over again. Formerly my brother Frederik could watch the movie Dombo 2 times without a break. He still does that with the movie Lord of the Rings.
Frederik is a silent guy. He finds it not necessary to have friends and he has difficulty with studying. Now he follows the study welder. I see my brother as a normal person with his own character. For me it’s like he hasn’t autism.
My other brother Nicolas is different then Frederik. He’s more noisy.
When he was a toddler, he always screamed for nothing. Every week we made a schedule with the daily tasks we have to do, for example sleeping or eating.
But now he’s 11 years old and we don’t have to make these schedules anymore.
He’s a very normal boy. He plays games, he has friends and he does it very well at school.
He’s a very social boy. He’s very different then when he was 5 or 6 years old.
I love my 2 brothers and I also don’t see the autistic traits in them. It’s just their personality.