Life On the Autism Spectrum

Pascale at the CLV desk

by Pascale Kastelein, Part-Time Office Administrator and Full-Time Student

Understanding Autism

I was officially diagnosed with autism when I was 9 years old, however my parents always knew that beforehand. I was displaying most of the typical signs of autism such as

  • reaching developmental milestones later,
  • walking on my tippy toes,
  • stimming,
  • difficulties in understanding body language and the subtleties of social interaction,
  • weak fine motor skills,
  • etc…

My parents were determined to help me in any way they could because despite my developmental disability, they saw potential in me. We’d practice social skills by preparing key words in a conversation, learning emotions and body language. We worked on minimizing my tics by learning calming strategies and so much more. Something else that helped me was knowing I was on the spectrum because I could learn about myself and other people like me and the resources they used. Also, the fact that I had a lot of people to support me was helpful.

Embracing My Autism

These days I am very accepting of the fact that I am autistic and I’m not afraid to disclose the information because I see it as a part of my identity. Even though it comes with many challenges, it comes with lots of strengths too.

  • I am a very detail-oriented person but I have trouble grasping the big picture.
  • I have encyclopedic knowledge on subjects that I am obsessed with, but I might have difficulty motivating myself to study topics that aren’t related to my special interest.
  • Processing information takes time.
  • I hate a change in the routine.
  • I am sensitive to touch, light, and sound.
  • Sometimes I’m unsure of how to react to certain situations and might not know what to say.

I am able to face these challenges with some patient accommodations.

Autism Awareness in My Community

In today’s world autism is much more accepted, but a lot of people still don’t know it very well and there is some stigma that surrounds it. Because of this, I try my best to bring awareness to the subject by telling people what it is and sharing my point of view. I think there is a lot of stigma around what autistic people can and can’t do. One advice I would like to give is to let us shine! Help us out with guidance and acceptance. Help us to build up our strength and improve our weaknesses but let us shine! We are capable of so much more than you realize.

You can find out more about autism on the Autism Canada website or by searching for an organization in your own community.

If you would like to know more about me and my life as an autistic young adult, feel free to follow me on Instagram @pasqualy327.