Vastasin tumplöössä niin moneen kysymykseen autismista, ja siihen kului niin paljon aikaa, että tahdon ne vastaukset tännekin talteen. Voin niitä sitten joskus miettiä vielä.
1: Did you discover that you are autistic early or later in life? How do you think it affected you?
- I had no idea. I didn’t know anything about actual autism, just stereotypes, and I only started suspecting something neurological in 2011 or so. Got diagnosed in 2015. I think it has made a big positive change in my life and how I see myself.
2: Which terms and words do you prefer when talking about autism?
- I personally don’t really care. I don’t know why some words are ableist and others are not. Of course it angers me when people jokingly use the word “autistic” as an insult these days. But other than that I don’t really understand anything.
3: Do you advocate for yourself and other autistic people?
- I sometimes try to, but I’m not a very good talker, and don’t know how to spread awareness. I usually just try to support other people and their work, by sharing and commenting.
4: How did you find out about autism?
- Can’t remember the first time I heard/read about it, but from what I knew (the stereotypes of course) I could never have imagined I am autistic myself. When I learned about asperger’s, I still only knew some vague stereotypes, and though nothing of it. Then years later I started to slowly realize there might be something neurological behind my struggles, first I thought it would be ADD but nope.
5: Do you have any autistic family members or autistic friends in real life?
- My dad is probably on the spectrum. I suspect his dad might have been too. And my oldest brother, who passed away years ago, me and my mum agree that he was very likely autistic too.
6: What, in your opinion is your best autism-related quality?
- I feel like I have this innocence and ability to get excited, that most adults lack, which is so sad and boring.
7: Which autistic trait gives you the most problems?
- I get tired so fast, that makes things complicated. But a lot of the actual problems come from my tendency to take words too literally. I get so damn offended and angry.
8: If you could get rid of one and only one autistic trait, would you do it and which would you choose?
- Hmmmm… It sounds appealing, but on the other hand all the traits are connected to each other, so it’s difficult to imagine one without other. I don’t really want to get rid of all the anxiety either. Maybe some of it.
9: Any autistic traits that you don’t have but wish you had?
- I don’t know how to explain this. I have my special interests but I feel like it’s not enough. I want something I can completely immerse myself into and forget everything else, I feel like a lot of other autistic people have that. Nope, I just can’t explain it. Ugh.
10: What do you think about support labels as an alternative to functioning labels?
- I don’t understand this question. English is not my first language, that’s probably why.
11: What, in you opinion, is the most ridiculous social protocol rule?
- Hmm… This is a hard one… I’m thinking about partying, social gatherings, and alcohol. Like, it’s not acceptable to party without alcohol, and it’s not acceptable to attend a party and be the only one who’s not drinking. The whole fucking alcohol culture basically. It’s disgusting in Finland. And it’s not only socially acceptable to be an alcoholic, it’s expected. Well, things are slowly moving to a better direction I guess. I don’t know if I answered the question at all.
12: What are your hypo- and hyper-sensitivities?
- My skin used to be super sensitive, but it’s gotten easier over the years. It gets bad whenever I’m sleep deprived though. I’m sensitive to some specific smells, and sounds. And I just can’t have any alcohol, caffeine or any kind of drugs.
13: What is/are your current special interest(s)?
- Dolls (specifically Bratz atm), plush toys, j-fashion
14: What is your daily routine like?
- I’m not really a routine person. I just like when some specific things stay the same. Like I got really anxious when my mom moved recently, I’m having a hard time getting used to her new apartment and location. I’m gonna have to move myself again soon too… But I don’t like this apartment so I guess it’s ok.
15: How do you stim?
- Mostly I chew my cheeks and lips. I’m doing it as I write this. They’re always sore, and the chew toy I bought didn’t work. But I also fiddle with my long nails, and there’s this thing I sometimes do with my hair and my scalp and I don’t know how to explain.
EDITG: I CANNOT believe I forgot to talk about my visual stims, which are the most important ones. I guess they're just such a normal thing for me, that it's hard to remember those are actually stims.
16: Is there any media with canon autistic character(s) you like and would recommend to other autistic people?
- Meh. Some are ok but I’m not really fond of anyone in particular.
17: Which characters do you headcanon as autistic and why?
- I don’t really do this. Maybe Adam from Untamed Heart? I like Christian Slater as an actor a lot. I don’t really know anything about him, heard he’s a douche in real life. I don’t care about actors, I just like their performances. Sorry I got distracted.
18: If you could make one accommodation universally available and 100% accepted, which would you choose?
- I don’t really understand this question either. Accommodation as in what for example? :/
19: What, in your opinion, is the most ridiculous autism myth or stereotype?
- I get the image of a young boy banging his head on the wall or banging a single piano key for hours and hours without stopping. Like a vegetable. With nothing going on in the head.
20: How would you describe autism to someone who knows nothing about it?
- Oh wow. I’d explain that it’s a neurological thing, not comparable to mental illness. But it can cause mental illness, like depression. And that a person is autistic since birth and it cannot be cured, and a cure should not be a goal. And that you shouldn’t believe the stereotypes, because there’s so many different kinds of autistic people. Some of them, like myself, can actually appear not autistic at all in social encounters, for short periods of time. It will still affect my everyday life and I will still have my struggles, so don’t be fooled by the first impression. If the person would like to know about how it actually affects my life after this monologue, I’d tell them.
21: Do you have any happy autistic childhood memories?
- Weird question. All my childhood memories are… autistic? Like? That’s me in the memories. Doing things. Not knowing I’m somehow different. Well I guess organizing the contents of my candy bag was somehow autistic, that’s one thing that came to mind. I was so happy to get candy, (we lived far away from the town and the nearest grocery store was 24 km away and I got candy once a week), I was so happy to organize them by colour and choose in which order to eat them and sometimes make pairs of flavours that go well together and save the best ones (licorice) for last. I still do this.
22: What, in your opinion, is the best thing about being autistic?
- I don’t know. I’m just me. I’m happy to collect dolls and spend most of my time alone and all that stuff.
23: Do you think autism influences your identity, like your gender, sexuality, religious and political views or personality?
- It probably has something to do with my asexuality. I don’t really take sides on politics usually, I don’t often have very strong opinions, I try to see things from everyone’s perspective. I’m thinking about a lot of stuff but I find it difficult to answer this question. I’m more or less a girly girl, does autism influence this? Who knows? I’m a feminist, what has my autism got to do with it? I sure as hell don’t know.
24: Are there any internalized ableist ideas that you struggle with?
- Yes, I haven’t even realized all of them yet. But there’s some I’m trying to get rid of. Like shame of being childish at my age. And I have never had a job and I feel like your career is the only thing that makes you an Actual Real Valuable Human Being in this world.
25: Do you think we will achieve autism acceptance soon?
- Not soon. But maybe eventually. I know how people see the different and disabled.
26: Are you a no eye contact autistic or excessive eye contact autistic?
- It depends. I’m leaning more towards no eye contact, but I have been working on it, and if I’m having a good day, no one will notice anything abnormal about my eye contact skills.
27: Are you a “no food touching” autistic or “mesh all food up” autistic?
- I don’t like it when the salad touches the warm food. Other than that it’s fine. For example I like to mash my potatoes into the sauce to make baby food.
28: Are you a pretty rock collection autistic or soft stuffed animals collection autistic?
- I just found a huge amethyst the other day, I’m still so excited about it! Couldn’t bring it with me though, too heavy, but I got two smaller pieces. I’ve never found amethyst before. So yeah, my rock collection grew lately. But I’d say that my plushie collection is more important. Say hi to my bunny who’s in my lap as I write this. My plushies comfort me and calm me, and I bring one everywhere I go. And I have more plushies than rocks! Just today I though about taking pics of my stuffed toy collection.
29: Are you a get along with kids autistic or slightly afraid of kids autistic?
- I’m both. I’m afraid but I get along. Well, I get along with kids that I know. If I don’t know them, I won’t talk to them at all. So sometimes people think that I hate kids. I’m just uncomfortable. I don’t like touching kids, they’re sticky. But I like to draw with them, or read to them, or build snow castles with them, and stuff like that.
30: Are you a soft, gentle touches autistic or a deep pressure autistic?
- I only have experience with softness I think. It calms me. But I’d like to try a weighed blanket sometime. My favourite thing is when my mom gently strokes my back, and I’m so happy that she still sometimes does it even though I’m supposed to be a grown up.
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