Welcome to the Autistic Odometer

After a long time of believing that I really had nothing to say, I am attempting one of my new year’s goals to start a blog. The theme of this blog has come to me many times in the past, inspired by pressing the “trip meter” of my car’s odometer.

“Unlike the odometer, a trip meter is reset at any point in a journey, making it possible to record the distance traveled in any particular journey or part of a journey.” Wikipedia, Odometer.

My son was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at age 8 following a “diagnosis” of Developmental Delay. I was diagnosed with Asperger’s in my late 30s after I recognized many of my son’s traits and struggles as similar to mine. While he and I both embrace “Aspie” as a term, it also sometimes can make others believe we are more high functioning than we really are. I realize that to use the term “autistic” can also be a loaded term, but I feel there is wiggle room for both. I feel our gender has also come to play in how our autistic minds grew: I was gregarious and excitable as a child, but became withdrawn and scared as I did not understand the complexities of my brain and why I was teased for my quirkiness. My son resorted to shoving people alway, literally, as a way to protect his overstimulated mind from the outside world.

When I received my diagnosis, I told my son and he hugged me tightly. We were now pals in this strange and wonderous journey; the journey of our intricate minds. I often hear that autistic parents of autistic children have a bond that can make neurotypical parents jealous, but I’m here to tell you this: that bond can be both something that is wonderful and incredible, but it can also sometimes keep the autistic parent from understanding how their autistic child is a separate person from them and is often having an entirely different journey than their own. I only say this because I have found myself declaring to others that I knew “exactly how he feels” but in hindsight, I only thought I knew. He is a completely wonderful individual, but he is an individual and not just a smaller version of me (regardless of how closely we resemble each other physically).

This is why I decided to subtitle this blog “Trip A, Trip B.” Because even though my son and I may share some of the same neuropathy, we are very different in many ways and I cannot assume to “know” him and all his thoughts simply because we share a diagnosis.

This blog is a record of the distance he and I make in the world, nearly 10 years apart in age. He is autistic in an age of the Internet, where more and more autistic people are letting their voices be heard every day. I grew up autistic in an age where the term “autism” had a single stereotype. There was seemingly no spectrum upon which I fit. I am fortunate that my son has opened up his life and his struggles to me. Even so, he keeps many of them secret and that is part of the reason why I choose anonymity, at least for now until such a point in time comes where he and I feel okay to be “out.” I hoping in time he will choose to voice his thoughts either via dictation or typing, but I leave it to him to choose to do so in his own time.

For now, I hope my thoughts will suffice for now. I look forward to sharing with you.

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