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The #ActuallyAutistic Culture and Identity Project S42

Name, and/or twitter handle: @AmandaQuirky

Pronouns:

Parent/non-parent: Parent

Age when you selfdx/were diagnosed autistic:

1. Did you feel you were different from others as a child?

I didn't really care for other kids, greatly preferring to talk to adults/teenagers, from a very young age. Other kids seemed to understand each other in a way that I was always on the brink of grasping, but somehow, I always stayed a joke or comment behind the group. This contrasted with, say, my reading speed and comprehension, where I was the frontrunner. 2. Are your parents supportive of you as an autistic individual?

Yes. I had to explain some of the stereotypes and misconceptions around autism, but my mom in particular has fully embraced both my diagnosis, and the likelihood that her "OCD" is probably undiagnosed autism. (Especially since she was nearly institutionalised as a child, for speech delay and what her parents saw as "slowness" generally.) My dad buys into Autistic Savant stereotype a little too hard, and tends to think I'm a genius etc. 3. How did you determine your ethical system?

My parents instilled it in me, much like with anyone else, and I actually learned a lot from Star Trek, the Original Series. Some of the things on ST (alien doesn't mean bad, innocent until proven guilty, interracial romances, the idea that it's not necessarily bad to have multiple partners, the concept that the strong should defend the weak... these were concepts I didn't see often, in South GA). 4. In which way does your private self differ from your outward facing front?

Very little. Many people have commented on how odd I am. 5. Do you enjoy finding mistakes/errors in the production of films and television...continuity etc.?

No, not really. I once set out to try to guess the plot of a book I was reading (by Stephen King) based on having read dozens of his books, and I did so well I was even guessing the dialogue accurately. It happens with TV shows I watch, too--maybe I've missed a calling as a ghostwriter--but I actively try not to do it. I like to have an idea of where the story's headed, but not too much. 6. What are the top 3 traits you look for in a friend? Sincerity, aka someone who will tell me if they dis/like me; a slightly off-kilter sense of humour; Neurodivergence. 7. What are the top 3 traits you perceive as negative but are willing to overlook in a friend?

An obsession with popular culture; oversharing other people's private information by mistake; aggression caused by misunderstanding something. 8. What are the top traits you look for in a partner/traits your partner possesses?

Sincerity--my husband is usually honest about what he dis/likes; self-control, I've been abused too often to be okay around people who scream and slam doors etc; willingness to learn, e.g. if they learn I don't like a light, tickly touch, they won't do that. 9. What would you do with your life if you had unlimited funds? I'd buy a large outdoor/indoor centre, and turn it into a retreat for autistic families. It would have adult-friendly soft play, trampolines, swimming, horse riding, gardening, pottery, writing workshops, gaming rooms, cookery courses, etc, as well as indoor and outdoor quiet rooms. There would be overnight accommodation, self-catering facilities, and onsite access to therapy. I would also self-fund my own counselling PhD. 10. What does freedom mean to you. What does it entail? Being able to work from home, and having enough money to give my kids the lifestyle to which I wish they could become accustomed. The indoor/outdoor center I described above, as our home, would be nice. 11. What does success mean to you? The same thing as freedom, really, but I'd also like to get my PhD in counselling psychology, and write a book about the autistic experience. 12. Are you more stable/happier/productive within the structure of a relationship...partner/good friend/long-term roommate?

Yes, but I've never spent much time outside of a romantic relationship. Perhaps I'd learn to cope, especially if given adequate help from health and social care. 13. Do you find it stressful to be around other parents at school functions?

So much so, that I rarely attend school functions. 14. How often do you pretend to not see people you know if you don’t want to talk?

It's not pretending. I'm slightly face-blind, so if it seems like I'm ignoring someone, chances are, I really don't see them. 15. In which areas do you identify the most with other autistic people?

Social anxiety, and having people misinterpret my literal words based on my inflection, expression, or other criteria I can't control. 16. What are the most stressful aspects of parenting an autistic child as an autistic caregiver? Competing access needs. Sometimes I need music so I can clean, but my daughter needs silence. Sometimes my son needs deep pressure and physical interaction, but my chronic pain is flaring up. Sometimes we're all in meltdown at the same time. It can be a lot to manage. 17. What are the top 5 things you want your children to know about the world and why? 1) The world doesn't have to be a mean, ugly place. 2) If they find good, kind people, their world will improve. 3) They make the world better, just by being in it. 4) There is a place for everyone, in this world. 5) Anyone who says my kids don't belong is a bully, and we do not hear their words. 18. Does living off the grid appeal to you and why/why not? Not if I'd have to give up the Internet--it's the only real community I have, and I love video games, old movies, etc. 19. What is your favorite style of architecture and why?

I love this question, but I'm not sure I have a solid answer. Something like Gothic Cathedral meets Hobbiton: vaulted ceilings and stained glass upstairs, with quiet, low-beamed reading nooks downstairs/in the basement. If forced to choose, Hobbiton wins.

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