I am Autistic

I guess I should start with some manner of introduction, though it feels stiff and formal to me.  However, I think it might be useful to let the future reader know a little bit about where I’m coming from and why I’m blogging in the first place.

Hi, I’m Rebecca.  I’m autistic.  I think my formal diagnosis is Aspergers Syndrome, back when Asperger’s Syndrome was still a diagnostic category.  I prefer to be referred to as autistic, though, or as being on the autism spectrum.  I dislike person first terminology when referring to autism, but I won’t get too upset if you call me a person with autism.  I chose to call myself autistic because I see autism as an inseparable part of who I am.

“I am autistic” is also an affirmation.  It means that I value myself just the way I am (most of the time – there are times where being autistic is hard and exhausting and really uncomfortable).  I am autistic.  This is how I experience the world.  It offers an explanation when I am overwhelmed with sensory overload or struggle to find the right words to connect with others.  Sometimes it’s a reminder that I might have to try harder than a neurotypical might.  Or it’s a statement of gratitude for my differences.  It also explains my position in writing this blog.  I think it’s important for autism to be represented mainly by autistic people.

There’s a lot to being autistic.  Mostly I want to focus on how it articulates with my nascent career as a cultural anthropologist.  What is it like to be a social scientist and autistic?  How does it effect my fieldwork and ethnography?  Am I perhaps inclined to approach anthropological projects in different ways?  What can I offer?  Those are all topics to explore.  Some of my blog posts will be more personal in nature.  Think of those as field notes of an autistic experience.  Other times I’ll be connecting my experience to that of other writers.  And occasionally, I’ll want to use this blog as a platform to react to events related to autism awareness, acceptance, and advocacy.  A clearer vision might emerge in the future, but for now my main intention is to create a space where I share bits of my story and experiences with anyone with interest in autism or anthropology.

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