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Wednesday 22 Nov 2017

Autism Awareness Contest Entry: Erin’s Story


Erin is a young woman with autism who submitted this story to our contest. Her wish is to have everyone understand her and accept her for who she is. I hope everyone finds this story insightful and inspiring as I do.

If there is one thing I’d like you to know about me, it’s that I have Asperger’s Syndrome. I’m a 21 (soon to be 22) year-old woman, and life can be a struggle sometimes. I wasn’t diagnosed until I was in 11th grade. It took this long probably because I was a female, and I got good grades. However, school was very rough, especially since it seemed to me like not much was known about Asperger’s Syndrome at the time when I was there. I nearly had to drop out in 10th grade, due to overwhelming stress. But with the help of the tiny support group I had back then (Thank you Mom and Dad!), I was able to transfer to a school better fit for me, and even graduate. Unfortunately, college still isn’t much of an option, because there aren’t very many ways the school system can help me right now, and also because I’ve developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from my experience with school. But I’m going to try to find a job, and hopefully even move out into my own place! (Eventually) My true passion is with animals, especially dogs. To me, animals are ranked higher than people, because the animals have never let me down.

Asperger’s Syndrome makes life interesting, for sure. I am very hypersensitive to the world around me. I can hear every footstep in my house, or that high tone an old computer makes. I can smell cigarette smoke from a mile away (YUCK!), or a Sharpie marker on a piece of paper after its been sitting out for days. I can feel that one little stray hair tickling my shoulder, or that tag from my shirt. I can see the light reflecting off of ice-skates, and I can barely keep my eyes open sometimes when it’s sunny! I’ve also learned many ways to cope though. I have a sound soother that I listen to, to cancel out other sounds that could hurt my ears (like the vacuum cleaner!) I use my shirt to cover my nose when something smells bad, and put the air in my car on “recycle” so I don’t get distracted from cigarette smoke when I drive. I can cut my hair short, and cut off the tags, and try to find more comfortable things to wear. And when things get too overwhelming visually, I put on my sunglasses, and I feel much more comfortable in my own little visual space.

I want people to know that an Autism Spectrum Disorder is just another way of living life. I am like a puzzle piece: I may not fit in where you want me to, but in the end, I’m still important! Please try to accept that these sensations are real for me, and that I’m not over-reacting. I always try to be that person that I’d want for myself, and so often in life, I have needed that person. If I am ever rude, I apologize. I misunderstand things, but really, don’t we all?

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