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  • Writer's pictureCory Morrison

Where Do I Fall on the Autism Spectrum?

Updated: Sep 15, 2023

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Autism has a wide spectrum. Where do I fall on it? What is my story with it? Because it is a spectrum, my functioning in various areas has been rather all over the place through the years.

The Four Original Autism Spectrum Disorders: Where Was I At?

According to MedicalNewsToday, prior to 2013, there were four types of autism instead of one spectrum disorder. Professionals used the terms Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Asperger's Syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorder- Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS).

When I was three, I had developed some language, but it was limited. I had professionals from one of my local disability organizations visit my house to note that I had delays in numerous areas. In addition, these people made sure I had supports in preschool prior to getting diagnosed with an ASD several months later in January 1997.

As my language and skill development deficits were somewhat mild, I received a diagnosis of PDD-NOS. Doctors told my parents that I would probably never speak properly and that I would have to go into a group home for adults with autism. With the proper supports in place, I proved the doctors wrong.

Preschool picture
My preschool picture in late 1996

After I took Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) therapy for a few years, which helped me with the areas my parents were concerned about, I received an Asperger's syndrome diagnosis in early 2001. That diagnosis is still a mystery to me because I had a speech delay when I was younger.

According to Autism Society, the difference between Asperger's and other forms of autism was that Asperger's individuals must have no speech delay to receive the diagnosis.

The New Autism Criteria: Where Do I Fall?

MedicalNewsToday says that all four of the previous diagnoses are now a single diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). There are three ways to know where a person falls in the spectrum. MedicalNewsToday lists them as Level 1: Requiring support, Level 2: Requiring substantial support and Level 3: Requiring very substantial support.

The levels measure a person's social and speech skills, such as how a person can initiate interactions, respond to others, how flexible their behaviour is, how functional their speech is and how they developed verbal and non-verbal communications skills.

In my toddler and preschool years, I was more in the Level 3 or Level 2 category. Throughout my elementary and high school years, I was closer to a Level 1, although perhaps a Level 2 at times. I am closer to a Level 1 (maybe 2 in some cases) today, as my ASD symptoms are still present but do not interfere with my daily life as much as they did in my earlier years.

I still have numerous struggles today, but I try to stay positive and work on improving myself to my best ability.

You may also like: Exploring Autistic Burnout

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