Having unusually sensitive senses such as taste, touch, hearing, etc. Being unable to recognize sarcasm years after most people have picked up on it, and taking people totally literally at an age when most people know better than to do that, and not being able to pick up on hidden meaning behind people's words like "I love you" coming from a friend meaning "I appreciate you doing this for me" is not being just quirky.
Having motor skills issues that cause you to suck at sports even if you practice them as much as other people do or were even made to participate in them by your parents isn't just quirky. Eye contact being so super uncomfortable that you have NO CHOICE but to look away in order to be able to concentrate on what the other person is saying because looking people in the eye makes it hard to concentrate on the conversation isn't just being quirky. I was unable to talk when I was 3. I was able to read when I was 4. I was called both "genius" and "retard" as a kid, not understanding the why behind either word.
All the other kids seemed to instinctively pick up on the social cues that I couldn't, while I was manipulated and tricked into doing things to make the other kids laugh at me.
Value and encourage their unique 'out of the box' thinking. Ethan Hirschberg is a teenager with high functioning Autism. We learned that Joshua enjoys Christian music, and had it playing as he walked in to make sure he was somewhere he felt comfortable and welcome. I have struggled all my life with significant sensory processing issues, motor coordination problems, and social communication impediments. We attracted curious stares everywhere we went: Lenny wanted only to perch on adult shoulders or run off at dazzling speed, Daisy needed a specialist pushchair, and Rosie dressed bizarrely and would often appear to be in her own imaginary world.
I didn't get what made me different, and I didn't connect my social skills problems, or other issues such as my inappropriate laughter triggered by stress I used to cover my face with my hands in order to try to stop that horrible laughter that would get me in trouble , or the fact that my voice sounded a little "off", with the same condition that rendered me unable to talk when I was a toddler.
Read the life experiences of autistic adults.
Check out the responses people are giving on Quora to questions about autism. See if that's "just quirky" or not.
Because there's quirky I even knew a woman who was falsely diagnosed as autistic, but doesn't have the actual symptoms like unusual sensitivity to light or sound, having to "script" conversations in order to look "natural", eye contact causing her to not be able to focus, etc. Also, try watching Atypical sometime. That show has the main character actually explain what he's thinking, which helps a lot. See if that guy is "just quirky", or if he truly comes across as disabled once you realize what he's experiencing.
I have both of those "symptoms". They really aren't a big deal. I don't go to rock concerts because they are too loud. I take migraine medication. Life goes on. None of this is comparable to any sort of real disability, like losing a leg, or not being able to see. I don't think it's fair to equate mild social awkwardness or discomfort with that. Congratulations on being one of the least disabled and discriminated against autistic people around, while still technically fitting into the definition of autistic.
I've had people be creeped out by me just walking down the street. I can't make my walk completely "normal". I can't look people in the eye too long or I have to look away. But if I make either too much eye contact or not enough or do it the "wrong" way, people notice. It's a problem.
There have been a lot of studies showing that autistics are very often unemployed, and the reasons are usually because they can't socially fit into the workplace environment, or they can't fake "normal" enough to even get past the job interview or fit into the workplace once they're in , NOT because of job performance.
The suicide rate for autistics is high. Going by the largest estimates, the entire spectrum includes 2. Autistics very often can't keep friends, and have a hard time making them. Your form of autism may barely affect you, while fitting into the definition of autism. Or it's possible that you're actually BAP broader autism phenotype - having many of the genes associated with autism and a mild form of some symptoms but not enough to "qualify" for being "officially" autistic.
But many of us have it worse.
And many of us do face major discrimination. Look up what kinds of questions and answers are given about autism and Quora - it might be illuminating how bad many of us have it compared to you. You and your form of autism may not be disabling. But it sure is more a great many, or most, autistics. Chris, I really appreciated your post! I guess some people use the word 'quirky' to minimize something some others feel should be 'diagnosable,' and others use it in the opposite manner to describe a personality that definitely is NOT a disorder.
How do you think about it? Can it be both in the same person , sometimes? As far as I am concerned, the sensory difficulties are in another 'circle' of a Venn diagram from 'quirky'--meaning some people who others might be called 'quirky' may or may not have sensory signs or commonly, were an issue mostly when younger, but not held back by them as much as adults If you can 'compensate' is it still a symptom? Do you still have a 'disorder? Thank you for your thoughtful words!!
Here's the problem: More and more kids and adults are being diagnosed with autism, with little differentiation in the name of the disease now regardless of impact. My son and then consequently, myself was diagnosed at age 9, followed by myself later. He is currently in college doing great getting a computer degree.
He was never non verbal or even slow, although he has a slight stutter. He did have the occasional meltdown. He has friends and is in a relationship. Similarly, I have been married for well over a decade to the same person, have a degree, many long term friends, never was non verbal, and so on. We do both have some traits that I can recognize as being "on the spectrum", but it seems almost laughable to say we are "disabled" - I have a 25 year work history and people may say I'm kind of weird but that is about it.
How can we possibly be put into the same category with someone who is legitimately profoundly disabled, cannot walk, speak, is incontinent, and has severe behavioral problems? People here rudely say we are "lacking empathy" when we are actually fighting for the right to define ourselves after being given a label that makes people think we are half a step from being institutionalized and for many of us that label is practically meaningless. This is not meant to look down on people who have legitimate severe problems, as is often claimed by those who wish to denigrate us, but to lend some logic to the debate.
I've come across this post a year after it was written.
The reason why I've arrived here is that our daughter has recently been 'diagnosed' as autistic and I'm, as is to be expected I guess, researching on the net to find out a little more. I really like this post and the subsequent comments have totally hit a note of familiarity with me.
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Sound control: The latest draft of an international diagnostic manual includes no mention of the sensory issues many autistic people have. Last week I went to a coffee shop where I often work, only to discover that it was closed for refurbishment. I stood on the opposite side of the road staring at the closed shop for so long that passersby began to look at me as if I was a bit strange. I sometimes go for months without a haircut because there is only one hairdresser who is allowed to touch my hair. The thought of going somewhere new terrifies me, so I live with straggly split ends and just hope that the Beetlejuice look will come back into fashion.
People often assume that because I often talk publicly to large groups of people, I must find socialising easy. But one person sitting across a table?