*Note: This guest post is directly dictated. Including punctuation. He literally stood beside me and told me where to use BIG words and "one of those lines with the dot at the bottom." Enjoy his perspective.
Hi, I'm Elijah and I have High Functionality! (That's my name for High Functioning Autism. I like High Functionality better because it sounds like I'm highly functioning, like a robot!)
I like Minecraft and Legos! And other things. I move from thing to thing and sometimes I'm into magic things, sometimes I'm into Pokemon and sometimes I'm into dragons. To be “into something” means you're interested in it. For me, it means I get SUPER interested in it. It's all I want to think about and talk to other people about. Sometimes I'm not good at letting other people talk.
I am not good at sports. I feel like my body doesn't work right or something. It doesn't respond as quickly as most people. T-ball was the WORST YEARS OF MY LIFE!!! I can ride my bike really well, though! And I'm a great swimmer!
I'm 9 years old. I've always felt like I was different from other kids my age. I'd rather spy on other kids and not play. Sometimes I get sad because I want to play with kids at the playground, but I don't know how to. My brother just walks right up to a kid and asks them how old they are. Once he knows that, it's like they're instantly best friends!
I talk differently because I talk a lot and I use different words than most kids. One time a girl said, "Are you from England or something?" because she said she thought I talked weird. Even though I talk a lot, it's hard to talk to most people. I feel uncomfortable looking in people's eyes. I did learn a trick though. Did you know if you don't want to look someone in the eyes, you can stare at the spot right between them and they think you're looking in their eyes? It's important to look people in the eyes because it shows you're listening. I learned that from my high functionality book. I don't like to shake hands or give fives, but Daddy makes me. I'm getting better at it, but sometimes Daddy makes me even when I don't want to. He says it's important and that I shouldn't ignore people because it hurts their feelings. I don't understand why.
Sometimes things are too much for me to handle. Sometimes when I think, I just think of really frustrating things. I don't mean to think of frustrating things but my body just does. When someone is doing something I don't want or something is annoying me, inside my head feels angry. I don't know how to react to that and sometimes I have what my mommy calls a meltdown. I just get even more angry and I go to my bed and scream and cry. I can't think about things. I feel like once I start screaming and crying, it's my JOB to scream and cry. And so when my body gives me funny thoughts or thoughts that make me calm down, it makes me even more angry. Once I've stopped screaming and crying, I feel like, “Oh, I shouldn't have done that, should I?” It does help me feel better though. I feel really sleepy after. Another thing that makes me feel better is a BIG SQUEEZE. That's a REAAAALLY tight hug from mommy. I DO NOT like kisses!
This one time, I was doing math with Mommy and there were so many big numbers, I had a meltdown. I went up on my bed and numbers just were yelling really loudly at me their names. Like “ONE THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED AND FORTY EIGHT" and "EIGHT HUNDRED AND TWENTY SIX!!!" and it just really confused me and really scared me. It was like all the numbers were giant and yelling and running and bumping into eachother, all inside my head!
I like rules. I get really angry when other people don't follow the rules. I get angry when I think something isn't fair, even if it's following the rules. I like to know plans. When they change, I do NOT like it! I tell my brain the way things are going to happen and when they don't, I get disappointed. I hate it when Mommy changes her mind about something, like if she's going to give us a whole bag of Smarties and she changes her mind to giving us two packs instead. (*Note from Mommy: I have never offered to give them an entire bag of Smarties!) Mostly it's something that I want to happen and it doesn't.
I DO NOT like to be distracted when I'm doing something fun like Minecraft or playing Legos. I can handle it better when mommy says stuff like, “Ok, you have 10 more minutes.” I get really upset when I'm playing Minecraft with my brother and he says, “I don't want to play anymore.” I think I get upset because we're having fun and I don't want it to end. Sometimes I cry or scream. I think it's not fair.
I can hear and see things other people can't. I can't concentrate on school if there is a clock ticking or my brother is breathing too loud. I can be completely distracted by a scratch in my desk, and I can't think about anything else but that scratch, especially if I'm supposed to be thinking about math or spelling. I can feel things other people might not. I feel the lines in my socks and the lines in gloves and the scratchy parts in shirts. The tags bother me a lot, even on stuffed animals. I make Mommy cut tags off of everything. Sometimes I can feel sounds in my body too.
I can't sleep. I don't know why but my body won't let me. My brain just doesn't want me to sleep. I want to sleep. I try to think about things that would help me sleep. Sometimes my weighted blanket helps. It feels like a big hug, and that makes me feel nice and soft.
When I'm in a crowd of people, I think, “GET OUT!!!” Inside my head, it's just fainting. I can hear everybody talking at once and bags rustling and doors opening and shoes scraping. I especially do not like crowds at things like concerts. Last time, at my big brother's concert, I wore a little pair of earphones inside bigger headphones and that helped a little. I didn't care how silly I looked or what people thought. They probably thought I was just listening to music, which is silly because we were at a concert, People!
There are good parts to high functionality! I am really smart. I'm really good at math. I can remember all kinds of things, especially details. I love to read! I read A LOT and remember almost all of it. Some people might think high functionality is a bad thing, but I think it's awesome-fart! (I just made that word up). It's sort of like I'm a super hero with special powers, but my brain and body just don't like them.
God didn't make a mistake in making me have special abilities. And He made you too! I think I'm going to have a very special job when I grow up. I want to be a carpenter game designer. Also maybe a dragon tamer! Or maybe be a scientist! The last thing I want you to know is high functionality is not a bad thing. It's AWESOME-FART!