A Day in the Life

Therapeutic theater of the mind…🤯🌶🤣‼

Psychologist during my extremely long and totally stressful autism assessment: “Do you have a hard time knowing when you should or shouldn’t speak, when you’re within a group?”

Me: “Nope! I basically only speak when someone speaks to me directly, or maybe when I have a useful or interesting piece of data related to their discussion, but sometimes I just randomly jump in when I know the people really, really, really well… Especially when someone says something that is factually incorrect.”

Psychologist scribbles on notepad.

Me: “Wait. Knowing when? To speak? Is there actually an appropriate time to speak within a group? Is there an inappropriate time to speak within a group?! Are there rules?! Everyone else just seems to talk, like, whenever. Should I just talk whenever too?! Is this talking rule true of all groups, or is this just a work-group thing?!”

Psychologist frowns, scribbles more onto her notepad.

Me: “Two or more people is group, right? Is this a group? Are you talking about now? Do other people somehow know exactly when to speak in a group environment? Wait, are they somehow actually taking turns? Is there a pattern? If so, am I supposed to know the pattern? I definitely don’t know the pattern. Wait… Can you please rephrase the question?”

Psychologist nods slowly, and scribbles again on her notepad.

Me: “Am I supposed to be talking in our group of two, right now?!”

Psychologist furiously scribbles on her notepad.

Me: “I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure that it’s your turn to talk.”

Psychologist looks up at me from her notepad, wide eyed.

Me: “Oh, wait! I think I might have misunderstood you… Did you ask me that question for your own benefit, because YOU aren’t sure when to speak in a group environment?!”

Psychologist definitely repressing a smile: “No.”


Anyway… My awesome hubby got me this adorable cap in beautiful Cancun, Mexico!

TRUE STORY: Autistic doesn’t mean “damaged” — it’s just another way of experiencing the world. The more we learn about the brain, the clearer it becomes that “neurodivergence” is an evolutionary adaptation, a naturally-occurring neurologic variation that many scientists feel has played a significant role in advancing humans from walking apes to intelligent beings capable of abstract reasoning and boundless creativity.

Unfortunately, autism frequently presents in children along with secondary conditions such as seizures and behavior issues that complicate their diagnosis, which unfairly colors how the public perceives (and stigmatizes) this condition that affects about one in every 44 children in the US.

Autism affects adults, too — about 1% of the world’s population overall. Generations of kids have grown up learning how to “mask” their special quirks and abilities in order to fit in with their peers. It’s never too late for self-discovery! Here are some hallmarks of autism in adults:

  • visual acuity; excellent in detecting patterns and tiny details
  • hyper focus on tasks
  • ability to experience synesthesia (eg “seeing” sounds or “tasting” images)
  • perfect pitch
  • encyclopedic memory
  • shutting down when overwhelmed
  • inability to read facial expressions and characteristics
  • unease with changes in schedules or routines
  • hyperacusis (when certain sounds create intolerable distress)

LEARN MORE at Embrace Autism, an empowering website that was founded by psychotherapists who were diagnosed with autism as adults, to help people better understand and appreciate what it means to be autistic. In addition to great information, you can also access a variety of widely-used, empirically-validated tests for assessing neurodivergence in adults (they’re also kinda fun to take).

About Lara B. Sharp 5 Articles
Lara B. Sharp is a middle aged, neurotic writer and a performer, originally from New York City. She has written for, and performed in, a number of national and international theatre productions, and is a regular participant of live storytelling events in New York, London, and Philadelphia. She is a Smith College graduate, menopausal, and a feminist. Lara is represented by the literary agency Chalberg & Sussman, for whom, between hot flashes, she is writing a memoir about her demented childhood. In her free time, she relaxes by sharing her humiliating life experiences on her Facebook page. In 2016, Lara, her two cats and her English husband, moved from Europe to Philadelphia, for the pretzels. (She relocated to the Falls in March 2018). Sometimes, she’s funny.

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