Challenges of Friending Within the Spectrum

Anyone with an intellectual disability knows the struggle of trying to blend in to society. Lets face it, as much as you want to be yourself you know that some of your habits and rituals and even obsessions don’t belong in public for the sake of keeping friends and acquaintances. Now while there are high functioning people that are fully aware of what’s socially acceptable and what’s not, there are those who don’t not do they even try to correct their quirks. Whether no one pointed out their quirks or if they just flat out don’t give a shit is beyond me. The reason I bring this up is because though connecting with neurotypicals (a big ass word meaning those not on the spectrum) can be a challenge, connecting with those on the spectrum can be even trickier. I bet ya everyone is completely flabbergasted and wondering why such a thing can be do difficult. Allow me to go back to the snowflake analogy for the umpteenth time, people on the spectrum are like snow flakes, everyone on the spectrum is different. Now we’re not even just talking about differences in function, we’re talking differences in rituals, interests, and personalities. Those who have worked with people on the spectrum know very well how radically different the personalities can be due to the complex wiring which 90% of the time can look like the back of our entertainment centers. It looks like a jungle to others and only you know how it works and where everything works and that’s all that matters. This difference in personality can make it very tricky for me to be friends with those on the spectrum cause when we have a clash of opinions it happens in the worse way possible, you’d think a blood bath was about to ensue with the way we were arguing. Now there’s another obstacle that makes connections difficult for me but in order for you guys to understand I’ll have to go back to the early years of my life in order to explain an issue that every person with a high functioning form of a learning disability has had to deal with.

Now being on the higher functioning end of the spectrum means being far more aware of everything that goes on even though you’ve yet to understand yourself, you know enough to know that your bus is a little too short or that the font on your assignments are two sizes too big or that you’re being babied or that you’re in a group of people of many functions yet the function level tends to be much lower than yours. It was annoying going to school everyday knowing that I wasn’t being challenged to the best of my ability. I also hated the consistent routine I had to follow, to this day I still hate routines, I understand why they’re needed in certain places but I never want my own life to be one consistent routine. Anyways, during my times separated from the rest of the class I got really annoyed with the fact that I was always with the “special kids”. I just wanted to be with everyone else and at that age I never identified with that group, I just wanted to be and feel like everyone else. As I got older I got more mainstreamed (essentially you’re out of the frying pan and into the fire) and got integrated into the larger group thought this is where my social troubles began but I’ve already explained all of those issues in previous post. During my time in school I seemed to lean more towards neurotypical kids cause I felt like I identified with that group more than I did with those on the spectrum. I got really annoyed every time I was forced to play and interact with kids on the spectrum because honestly I just didn’t click well with them, I know it sounds wrong but I felt like I was too smart to associate myself with someone on the spectrum back then. Little did I know at the time, we were all victims in the same struggle with the only difference being that everyone else in that group was happy with just slaying tiny imps while I wanted to slay the dragon and couldn’t give shit if I only had a stick and my wits. I always had great ambitions from the very beginning and I felt as if nuerotypicals were the only ones who I could relate to in those ambitions. The final issue which will bring us back to the present is their ability to “blend in” with the rest of the neurotypicals.

Now people who meet me for the first time would never guess for a second that I was on the Autism Spectrum and honestly I wouldn’t want it any other way. I do everything I humanly possibly can to ensure that I never stick out in a way that would attract the wrong kind of attention. I recognize most social cues, I try to make sure a conversation goes both ways and that I give others a chance to talk, I’m a table manners nazi and use a fork and knife for a decent amount of finger foods, I make sure I’m not talking too loud, I force myself to make eye contact even when I don’t want to, I NEVER STIM IN PUBLIC. The problem however is that there are some higher functioning adults who don’t try to correct these either because no one pointed it out or because once again don’t care and thus they stick out in the worse way possible. It becomes that really awkward situation of trying really hard not to stare. I don’t ever deny who I am as a person and where I came from but at the same time I’m all about moving forward and striving to be my best in every way possible. A bulk of my friends are neurotypicals and I’ve been able to fit in just fine, there are very rare cases where I find someone on the spectrum that’s down to earth and is just as approachable as I am but there are just days where I meet someone on the spectrum and I’m unable to tolerate their personality and socially the just don’t get certain boundaries. Ive had people Call, text, or fb chat with me more than they should. Socially I get it for the most part so when someone socially doesn’t get it it can be a major turnoff. I do the best I can but there becomes a point where certain lines get crossed and I have to back away before I snap. I don’t point things like that out to people until I’m much closer to them because honestly it’s not my place.

I know some of this may come off as me disliking others on the spectrum or me having some kind of superiority complex but I promise it’s not. I love everyone on the spectrum equally but at the same time like any human I have a patience threshold that can only tolerate so much. It’s hard to find people on the higher functioning end of the spectrum that truly understand their struggles and can communicate them as well as I do. It’s also harder to find people who though they try to be themselves, they’re willing to correct any quirks that push others away. Well that’s all for tonight and once again, stay classy.

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