At a very young age, when most children learned how to communicate, I could not. While certain things didn’t bother them, they bothered me. While they were playing with each other, I was lost in my own world.
I was taken to several doctors, and the general consensus was autism or Aspergers. Things looked down for me then. One doctor even had the gall to say “Maybe if she’s lucky, she’ll get a job as a Wal-Mart greeter”.
My parents wanted the best for me, so they looked for places that could help. They found a speech school for me to go to and, with the combined help of several family members, they pulled the funds for me to attend. I was not only taught how to talk and listen, but also to read and write. It was a struggle throughout, but by the time I was six, I was able to attend public school.
Of course, the struggles would never really end.
Socialization was hard and I always needed help with schoolwork. I eventually went to private school and stayed until I had graduated. When I attended college, I showed my teachers a disability letter showing that I had autism. I wasn’t comfortable with eye contact, instructions need to be absolutely clear, and I wasn’t good at socializing with others, so group assignments would be more difficult for me. I would also get anxious over tests and grades, and fall into an anxiety attack/depression if I failed in anything. If I do fall into one of these states, I would either run away, cry, cloister myself in my head, or all of the above, most likely the latter. It was during those times that I fall to family phone calls and school counselor visits to help me through it all.
Needles to say, college was a [insert word that rhymes with “itch” here].
Overcoming and struggling through things is pretty much what my whole life is. There have been successes and failures, but it is in my successes that my potential shows. I graduated from college and, one year afterwards, I moved out on my own and got myself a job and a place to live. I still struggle when it comes to socializing with new people, but it’s not a problem once I get to know them. I am also learning how to live as an independent adult, day by day, month by month. Of course, I had family help the whole time, and I would not be here today without them.
So to any family reading this right now, I want to say: thank you.