Autism: Too Much Information

10 Nov

People who know me now would often say I am smart… I guess that is the word.

That wasn’t the case when I was a child, as I was so quiet, and rarely revealed my understanding to those who judged. Also, I was so anxious about my schoolwork, that I often failed to hand it in. They thought I was slow, yet never held me back a grade, or referred me to specialists.

Since I have been an adult, however, my grades (at college) have been at the top of my class, and the work I have done outside of school (for our adoption, for seeing the psychiatrist, for Bible studies and such) has been far above what “anyone else has done,” so I am told.

So they think my intelligence is high.

People – teachers included – respond to me as if things that are a challenge for others are easy for me.

Yet I would argue that fact. There is so much I don’t understand.

It is true that I put all of myself into my projects – to the point that I overwhelm those in charge. I have also learned over the years how to study in a way that I memorize the facts well, so I nearly always get exceptionally good grades on tests, and am able to talk about my interests as a specialist.

I am not, however, smart.

I struggle with even the most basic of understanding when I am required to read a lot of details. How to manuals go way over my head. I get frustrated in reading anything with “too much information.” I go into meltdown if there are too many steps to follow.

So often I get things wrong, and people challenge me as if I made the mistake on purpose. I should have been able to see that another choice was better – only I can’t see it.

I can’t read the books of Leviticus or Deuteronomy in the Bible; there are too many rules. I do read them… it is just that I can’t understand. There is just too much there.

I really struggled in trying to find out how to change my home page on my blog, or how to separate my blog posts into categories on separate pages. These were so frustrating, and I ended up breaking down in tears, and asking a friend for help – and still struggled to understand.

While I love drawing simplified floor plans, actually reading detailed blueprints has proven to be a struggle to me. I can stare at the page, and think I understand, but so often get it wrong.

I struggle with slight variations in words, so that multiple choice tests have become an issue for me. Some questions look identical, and yet the answer for each is different.

Today I tried reading through the rules and regulations for getting provincial disability – but there was so much information there, that I could not understand it.

There are so many things I struggle with, and so when people tell me I am ‘smart,’ I cringe. They will be disappointed. They will get upset at me for things beyond my understanding.

At the same time, these same people tend to dismiss me when I talk about my interests, such as when I had my children, and tried to discuss their disabilities – or when I was being tested for my own. They are so certain that they know best, or that I am being negative, when in fact, I am very rarely wrong in these things.

It is difficult to express to others how I can understand so well in some situations, and know so much in terms of my interest, when a simple list of directions can put me in meltdown.

It all depends on how the information is presented, I guess.

I had hoped to have a psycho-educational assessment done as part of my Autism Assessment, however, as an adult, that is not available to me. I suppose I will have to try to figure out on my own why some things are so hard – and to try to explain to others that in some things I just can’t.

However, for those things that I know I would really like them to believe me.

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Posted by on November 10, 2015 in Autism: Reality


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