In this series of posts, I will be writing tributes to a number of autistic people I have known throughout my life who have inspired me in some way.
The individual I’m writing about for this piece is one of the few women on the spectrum I have had the privilege of meeting: a very intelligent and inspiring lady.
We’ll call her Ellen. One of the hobbies I enjoy in my spare time includes communal camping which is how I met Ellen about four years ago. At that time Ellen had joined the group mainly because her partner was also a member.
To begin with, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of Ellen. My ability to recognize Aspergers is not as fine-tuned when it comes to females seeing as there are, on average, far more (known) cases of males being on the spectrum than females. As I previously stated, I have met maybe two to three diagnosed autistics in my life (thus far) who were female.
Nonetheless, once I put two and two together it became quite clear that Ellen was indeed autistic. Not knowing whether it was a subject she wanted to talk about, I kept quiet about Aspergers and never raised the topic with her until many years later, although I knew for certain (from what others had told me) that she was affected by the condition.
I slowly learned that Ellen had a number of special interests, one of which (her interest in the music of the band RUSH) I also shared.
It’s always taken me a long time to get know people, and consequently, it is only recently since I have started writing and speaking about Aspergers, that Ellen and I began to talk about our experiences. She was very excited to hear about the book I am planning and I hope that some of her insights will eventually feature within its pages.
Unfortunately, Ellen’s difference in the way she socializes has led to public confrontations in the past. Sometimes her words have caused offence where none was intended, due simply to her not picking up on another person’s tone of voice or conversational intent. In many cases, this greatly upset Ellen, who did not understand what she had done wrong and was not sure how to remedy matters. It is a fact that our lack of social skills as autistics can lead us towards the path of unforeseen and often unnecessary conflicts.
Since these events, Ellen and I have spoken about our shared experiences and she is in full support of what I do in regards to Autism Awareness. I will be showing her my book about Aspergers upon completion before it goes on general sale.