Category Archives: adolescence

Letter to a Friend with Autism

Dear D.,

 I see that the trap of the sensory system gone awry in autism is making you sad. It is so totally understandable. When I was twelve I also felt the same way you do. In sixth grade I was really sad every day. I saw I was not easily getting better. I saw I was not having much improvement in my speech, or my hand control, or my mind body dialogue in spite of years of toil. I looked around in middle school and I saw that being different was the worst sin of all to our peers.

 Like it or not, our destiny is to be different. Now I have even embraced it in some ways because I saw that hating autism made me depressed. Accepting that I could make a meaningful life for myself with autism changed everything. Inside I still wish I could be more neuro-typical in behavior. I’d talk in an instant if I could figure out how, but I feel blessed that I can communicate even if I can’t speak.

You can communicate more too if you really take it in stride. I mean it is hard to allow yourself to communicate with others after years of stimming inside. In the journey to communication you must embrace the world outside of your obsessions. I see your sensory toys. It’s an incredible escape; still I see your mom wants to know you inside. Your thoughts matter to her. She misses hearing them because deep down inside you guard them so tightly. It is liberating to let go, to communicate, and to join in the world, in the regular ways of school or family. Don’t give in to sorrow because we can be free inside in spite of the hard challenges autism gives.

Your friend, Ido

Autism and Adolescence

Being a teenager is hard. Hormones cause mood swings and irritability. I guess it is worse in autism because our regulation of our emotions is weak. I often feel edgy and I know I am that way for nothing. It is the way I handle it though that makes a hormonal mood swing into a behavior problem. I believe I am feeling the same as all teens only I can’t control my actions as well as they do. Like them I am irritable and sort of moody and impulsive. Unlike them, I can’t cover it up so easily. I’m like a dog who snarls. They cuss and say rude things. I tense in my body. They bother others by teasing or bullying. It is a trying episode and I look forward to adulthood when I can feel calmer and more like a stable state than I do now. It is a thing we all get through so I guess I have a few more years of this.