My Journey to Accepting My Autism
By Robyn Caple | Published on August 24, 2020 | 3 Minute Read
Hello, I am Robyn Caple, I am in my early twenties and live in the United Kingdom. I was diagnosed at a young age of having speech and language difficulties and mild Aspergers (now known as high functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder).
During my time at Primary School (aged five to ten), I had a speech therapist who helped me with how to form sentences and the use of descriptive words. Despite this, I was not aware that I was autistic until I was seventeen years old, when my grades were slipping, and I could not understand why. But as I was so focused on trying to get into university, I never delved into trying to understand my autistic traits.
Now, here I am, six years later, as a university graduate, finally accepting myself and the fact that I am autistic. Being made redundant and being lockdown, due to the Coronavirus, has given me time to reflect on myself. Learning about my autism started when my younger sibling recommended that I follow their friend, who is an autism advocate, on Instagram. My sibling has watched me grow up, saw how I interacted with others and is extremely aware of how I act. They said that following their friend would benefit me more as I may find it relatable.
I started to watch the live videos and posts that my sibling’s friend was putting up on Instagram. The more I was exposed to it, the more I began to connect and relate to the content that was in front of me. And from that point onwards it had a sudden, unravelling effect. I expanded the number of advocates for autism that I followed on Instagram, YouTube, and Podcasts. Exposing me to more relatable content, issues that they faced daily and interacting with the online autism community. You could say that it pushed me to want to learn more about being on the spectrum as I could finally relate to others and feel a little more understood. Since then I have purchased numerous books to expand my knowledge and I find that they give a good in-depth explanation on why those on the spectrum act a certain way to situations.
"But as I was so focused on trying to get into university, I never delved into trying to understand my autistic traits. Now, here I am, six years later, as a university graduate, finally accepting myself and the fact that I am autistic."
One of the best things I have done so far was buy a ticket for Milestones National Autism Conference, which this year was luckily online (as it is normally held over in the USA). People who work with or for those on the spectrum gave talks about up-to-date research, teaching and techniques surrounding Autism Spectrum Disorder. Some of the speakers were on the spectrum themselves and talked about their life experiences on the topics they were discussing. It really broadened the knowledge I had gained through books and advocates. I found that I was able to discover other sides of me that I did not know existed through many of the talks. Despite not being a citizen of the USA I still felt that everything is still developing and that I need to keep an eye out for research that may help me in the future.
So now after a few months I feel as though I have a better understanding of my autism and the traits that I have. Regardless of this I still do not know everything, it is almost impossible to, so I am still progressing and learning new things all the time whether that be through advocates, books, and research papers. I even created an Instagram page (@myecoautismsteps) to share my journey with autism alongside my other journey with becoming more sustainable. It’s not so much an advocacy page; it is more of a platform for me to be active with my learning, share tips that may be useful for others to take on and a place for me to grow to accept myself more.
I would recommend to anyone who has not jumped at the opportunity to either follow or watch videos of autism advocates online. Especially if you have had a recent diagnosis or have not had the chance to understand your autism and are trying to comprehend why you are the way you are. The online autism community is an amazing place of comfort for those on the spectrum and they are extremely supportive. It is a good resource to tap into, to get advice and it is completely free. Note that not one person is the same on the spectrum so do not cut yourself like I did and be open to learning about yourself.
About the Author:
Robyn Caple is an inspiring wildlife conservationist who also runs @myecoautismsteps on Instagram. As someone who is always keen to learn new things she has managed to develop an interest about her own autism and the autism online community. She sees everyday as a new opportunity to learn something different about the world and the people within it.