- Posted March 28, 2012 by
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Life with autism: Share your story
The Invisibles: Autistic Adults
My name? Michael Buckholtz. I'm an Invisible. To add to the confusion, I have brown skin, became a multi-platinum record producer, started and head a music management corporation, founded a non-profit 501c3 to help the disenfranchised and authored a book. Yet, I'm an Invisible. Why is that?
I was diagnosed as autistic at age 43.This changed my life and perspective of what my brain was capable of. It was, also, powerful confirmation of why I experienced life in the way I had for so many years. However, nothing can truly prepare one for how to tell the difference between viewing things through the mind of someone that is autistic, or, someone who's not. Really, for me, I did not know I viewed things differently, until good friends, who'd known me ten years (as an adult), suggested I look into autism as the basis for why my behavior was a bit "outside the box".
Today, with my improved understanding of the widely varying autistic paradigm, I've decided that my understanding, being and living as an autistic person (challenges and all), has infinite value for those who wish to understand what many of us are going through. Yes, major news coverage is given to autistic people that are non-verbal and that's important. They have a "voice" worth hearing and understanding. What's NOT being mentioned is how many verbal autistic teens and adults, who have an autistic signature that makes them virtually undetectable (invisible) among their non-autistic peers, are often ignored by the media; their crushing challenges not seen as important enough to have the "squirrel" effect of "If it bleeds, it leads". Therefore, relegated to obscurity, these high-functioning autistic teens and adults rarely get the assistance needed because they fit somewhere 'in the middle'. Financially they are, most likely, doing poorly. Not because we're not intelligent. Often, we are intellectually characterized as geniuses. Problem is, some not so "normal" behaviors tend to scare people, creating fear that we are "other" and "strange". This characterization NEVER leads to anything good for us. It may even lead many of us to live on the streets, homeless. I did that.
I understand what it feels like to "not belong". I want to shed light on the fact that we autistic adults ARE out here. We are enduring, surviving and coping. We do it non-stop. It takes all of our energies to do it. It can get exhausting feeling like you're the "only" person that feels the way you do. We need for the general public to truly understand that. That's my goal: understanding.
Michael (TheBuckNation) Buckholtz
Aid for Autistic Children Foundation, Inc.