This is a story about a girl.
A girl who knew that there was something different about her.
Who wondered how her peers could stand wearing those socks! You know the ones - the seam goes RIGHT in FRONT of your toes - just sitting right in that space between the top of your toe and your toe nail. those socks.
But it wasn't just the socks, it was also the tags on her shirts, the edges of her underwear, the seams on the sleeves, and worst of all turtle necks. Just a big 'ol no for her - turtle neck shirts were off the table. You can imagine how difficult this all would have been for her single mom just trying to get clothes on her kid that wouldn't send her into full blown hysterics. Everyday.
It wasn't just clothes either - sounds were also troublesome though no one every really put it all together -she just seemed to not like staying for the whole parade or would get "bored" and "space out" when other kids were just having more fun. She was different, but not in a "bad" way.
Then there were the birthday parties. Oh the birthday parties. She didn't get invited to a lot of them and the ones she did go to always ended up going a little sideways. She would start crying, begging to go home, feeling sick - worse GETTING sick (those are fun stories!). She knew that she was supposed to be having fun - everyone kept telling her "isn't this fun?" and she knew she was supposed to be having fun - wanting more candy, and playing all the games, and getting dirty. What she really wanted was to find a quiet spot to gather herself. She would often manufacture reasons to be around the adults or a need to go to the bathroom over and over again.
Just ask her mom - she used to joke that her daughter knew where ALL the bathrooms were in the county...
How do I know so much about this little girl?
I am that little girl and I have been living on the Autism Spectrum all my life. It might come as a surprise to you that I didn't find out until I was 39 years old.
I was just minding my own business, scrolling through TikTok and a woman was talking about "finally taking" the self assessment tool RAADS-R and low and behold - she scored well within the scores that indicate that she is living on the autistic spectrum. So, me being the curious type I clicked on over to the link that she shared. And because I nerd out on research, before I took the assessment I read the clinical research using the assessment (as this helps to solidify the scores validity). Once I was satisfied that this was a real assessment and not just some nonsense that someone was using for click bait, I dove in and did my best to answer honestly and not how I "wish" I was or how I hope other people see me.
I went through all 80 questions and there was my score: 112. The "cut off" for neurotypicals is 64.
It was both a shock to my system (a gut punch) and a huge relief! Everything that I had been struggling with had a reason behind it! I had an answer!
I had a brief moment of joy, peace, and understanding. And then BAM! I had to question everything I'd ever known or believed all over again - I needed to know what was true (about me) and what wasn't. The result was a melting down of my belief in myself and the knowing that I was worthy of love, affection, appreciation, and acceptance.
While the jouney of self is on going, I find myself 5 weeks from my "discovery" and learning and growing in ways that I never thought would be possible! Through the grief of a life I had once envisioned rises a full, loving life with boundaries, joy, love, passion, and endless areas of growth.
"Barns burnt down. Now I can see the moon."
I have become the Phoenix.
I have burnt down my barn.
Now I can see ME.
Are you a parent that struggles with neurodiversity? Do you find it harder than ever to manage your reactions with your children? Do you long to be the very best parent you can and feel that it's just out of reach?
Join me in a collaborative group coaching, Divergent Parents: The Struggles on the Spectrum, and gain a deeper understanding of your own processes, how to form loving and safe boundaries with your family, and best of all lean fully into loving yourself just the way you are.