I’ve been asked the question many times. Would it have been easier to have been diagnosed with autism as a child?
The answer to that question is not so simple. In fact, I always ask myself this question. When I was little, I was diagnosed only with a specific phobia, anxiety and a learning disability. Walking into school was mostly a hindrance in my mind. Granted, I did have fun at times. However, the aspect of learning, making friends, pleasing teachers and bringing work home was overwhelmingly exhausting. I would always walk into the classroom with my stomach in knots.
I am from the United States, where the school system is more than flawed due to government policies and regulations. I remember second grade (early elementary) clearly as it was the most memorable era of my childhood and not with good reason. As this was the point where mathematics, science, reading and other subjects left me in the dust. You might ask the question “I thought that all autistic people were supposed to be booksmart”? My answer to that is that everyone is different. I understand there is a belief by many that, “All people on the spectrum are supposed to be geniuses.” This is NOT true. In fact, a learning disability can often occur with autism. All individuals are different. In my case, a learning disability is linked to my autism. For example, mathematics was especially difficult for me when we started multiplication assignments. I remember everyone else grasping the numbers while I just sat there lost. The light bulb never came on for me.