Growing Out Of Autism

Tomorrow marks the beginning of Autism Awareness Month.

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Many people seem to make this argument that somehow Aspies and others on the Autistic Spectrum (or who were diagnosed as being on the Autistic Spectrum … still can’t make heads or tails out of the DSM-5 thing … ) somehow “outgrow” their symptoms and gradually become somewhat “less Autistic.” I submit that some of those on the spectrum, if anything, do not grow *out of* but rather, *grow into* their symptoms.

I can think of two examples that spotlight this. One is restlessness. As a kid, I was restless and hyper. This was mainly because I couldn’t control the thought cloud. Yet, as an adult, I am still restless, but I play the Wii, write many blogs, respond to articles on LinkedIn and Facebook, listen to music, watch a movie, and watch or listen to news on a daily basis — and that’s just in one day — and sometimes, all at once! This is how I have *grown into* my symptoms.

Another example is the oft-cited kids running out of the house for no explicable reason scenario (sometimes referred to as “bolting“).  I had episodes like that when I was a kid (usually caused by frustration and the need to escape), and still do feel the need to escape. But, as an adult, I *grew into* these symptoms because now I can walk anywhere I want (usually to Starbucks) for no other reason at all, other than I feel like leaving my house.

I submit to you that these are two examples, not only of what some call “maturing” (in a sense), but also being able to do the same things as an adult that you did as a kid–the only difference being that, as an adult, it is somehow somewhat more “appropriate” — thus, you grow INTO a symptom, and not OUT OF it.

GREG TRUTNER

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