How do I know I have autism?

I know I have autism from a document that says that I have Landau-Kleffner syndrome, but lists other possible diagnoses to what I have. Amongst that list, autism is on the list. My life has been a reflection of autistic qualities.

I was a late speaker. Verbal autistics tend to be late speakers. My sister is two years younger than me, but she learned to speak before I did. She was my translator. I went through speech therapy to improve my speech so I could be better understood, although I could not properly pronounce my Rs.

My family has known that I have an ear for music, or sound, since I was a child. When my mother let me play on the pots and pans, my mother says I did not just bang on them like any other child. I listened to the sound each one made, then I banged on them. While visiting a family friend in Bishop, California, my father’s friend could hear the piano being played, and said he could hear someone playing the piano. My father said it was his son and that it was nothing; I did not know what I was doing. My father’s friend corrected him saying, “He is playing chords.” I had an ear that translated into a vocal ability to bark like a dog. After my family got a silver and black tabby, the cat turned out to be a talker. I would meow back to this cat until I mastered meowing exactly like a cat.

I could not empathize or understand why other people felt a certain way until I got help with that.

I had a stint where I went from a regular education to a special education school. I did not stay there because I ended up starting music lessons at the time. Music made such a turnaround in my academic performance that I was returned to my elementary school. While I was at that special education school, my parents were told that it is likely that I am a high functioning autistic.

I did not find out about my autism until I was going to a four year college at University of California, Riverside when I was not able to finish this one test. The professor told me to find out if I qualify for extra time, which I did. While I was talking with the people in the disability department, they were talking to me about how special I am to make it all this way without any assistance. From that moment on, I started learning more about my autism.

As a high functioning autistic, I learned that high functioning autistics are either gifted at math or music, or both. I got both. Ever since my elementary class started working on multiplication, my classmates knew I am a math wizard. When the mathematical curriculum was not keeping up with how fast I was digesting the material, I moved myself to the back of the classroom. When we covered math, I would open up my math text book deeper into the book than we would in the class because I had already picked up what was being done in the class for that week. I remember venturing deeper into my math textbook at home even after I was done with my homework because math was so much fun for me to learn. I just wanted more. Math has always been my strong suit.

I started playing instruments early as a child. I had a harmonica put into my hands around 4-5 years old. I started taking piano lessons during the 2nd grade. During 6th grade, I was gifted a drum set for Christmas. I am a natural percussionist, and my parents got a set of congas by high school. During my sophomore year of high school, I started learning how to play the bass guitar. I was getting lessons for both the drums and bass guitar. I’ll describe my musical journey in another post.

I learned how autistics are capable of hyper focusing. The video games I played I became exceptional at because of my ability to hyper focus. Hyper focus also translates into obsession. My ability to obsess is another feature of my autism that I wish I could be able to stop, but I translate my obsessions into problem solving so I can stop obsessing.

I did get help for my autism that has made a world of a difference to my life. Through the help I got and understanding my own autism, I do want to help others people with their autism (see my contact on my website to reach me). In combination with getting the education and developing my English, it is about time I started my own autism blog so I can help understand autism from inside the mind of an autistic. I will mention the help I got for my autism in another blog post.

I know I have autism because I was a late speaker. I am hyper sensitive to sound with my ear for music and ability to mimic animals. I was an apathetic person. I am gifted at both math and music. I have the ability to hyper focus and obsess. I will have more to share as I dive into what my life has been like with autism.

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