April 21, 2009

Autism: An Adult Perspective.

I have been very fortunate to have met some pretty amazing people on Twitter.  There is one person who I’ve only recently had contact with that I find extremely fascinating.  His name is Michael Riedel, and he is an adult living on the Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Michael contacted me via my book site, and we’ve been communicating almost daily ever since.  He is 25, gainfully employed, and has many interests.

I asked Michael if I could interview him openly on my blog, and he graciously accepted.

Here’s what Michael has to say about living with autism.


How old were you when you were diagnosed?

I was diagnosed at Age 22, with Aspergers, however I probably had it when I was younger.

What steps or course of action did your parents take after they received the diagnosis? Did you receive early intervention? Did they try “traditional” modalities to ease your autism “symptoms”, or did they opt for alternative methods (i.e. homeopathics, biomeds, etc.)?

My Parents supported me when they found out I had Aspergers. When I was younger I liked the color Green since my Mom had a bright green shirt and liked anything with the color Nine. I took Special Education K-8 and some in High School and got special services at CPCC Community College. When I was younger sometimes when I got upset my Parents would spank me since they did not know why I got upset. I think it made me a better person even though at the time it sucked to have my Butt hit. I had few friends until the 12th Grade and have had few since I finished CPCC April of 2007.

I take a pill for Depression because I sometimes get Upset if something does not go my way, however since 2006 I have been depressed much less.

What are your thoughts on some of the more controversial issues that surround our community (i.e. vaccines, cure, recovery, etc.)?

I think that Autism does not need a cure. Medicine to help I think is ok. I believe God placed for me to have Aspergers so that there would be topics I would know a lot about.

Do you see yourself as being “broken” or “in need of repair”?  Do you want to be “cured”?

I do not think that I need to be cured because with knowing about Aspergers I would never know why I had selective interests.

What do you see as being the “cause” for your autism?

I think the “cause” of my Autism is that I focus allot on certain topics and have trouble talking about other people’s passions.

Autism Awareness Month is an everyday occurrence when you’re living with it. What do you do to raise awareness? How do you educate people?

When I read a book on Autism/Aspergers I share some details to my family and friends. My Parents run last Fall for a Autism fundraiser. I can not because of my legs, but think that and any cause for Autism/Aspergers is helpful.

As an adult on the spectrum, what are your views on the accessibility of resources (i.e. support groups, state programs, therapies, etc.)? With so much emphasis on children, do you feel your needs are being met by your state officials?

I think my needs are being met by North Carolina Standards. I get help from my psychology doctor, job Coach, and come early this coming Summer from a lady that will help me with things around the House and going places like Shopping.

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