My name is Jeff, I’m 24 years old, and I have high functioning autism. I was diagnosed
at the age of three and, therefore, had early intervention thanks to my mother. The
world that I live in is a challenging world, but it’s the cards that were dealt to me.
Among my challenges is my hypersensitivity especially to taste, sound, and touch. I am not able to eat fruits and vegetables among many other foods. Loud noises make my ears hurt. Silverware makes me cringe.
Social interaction has been a jungle of confusion. I struggle with maintaining eye contact, and I easily perseverate on a topic or an anxiety that I’m having in the moment. Focusing and concentrating on obligations, especially schoolwork and basic living tasks, has proven to be hard throughout my life.
In short, my life has its share of difficulties, but if you just stop there, you would be missing everything about me. There have been very key people in my life and amazing
opportunities that have been given to me that I would not have enjoyed without my
autism. My hypersensitivity has allowed me to enjoy the wonderful things of life so much more. Amazing imagery makes me glow with joy. Great food tastes so much better in my mouth as I experience the fullness of the flavors and textures that agree with my senses.
Music has been a lifesaver to me giving me both the chance to listen to and participate in music that I have to breathe heavily to handle because I can’t take it all in; it’s also helped me develop social skills. I was actually able to give comfort to parents of autistic children by volunteering my story and my time at any opportunity I can get. I’ve
also been asked to speak in college classes (through a professor friend of mine) about
my understanding of autism and tell my story to them, too.
All in all, I would not take back the life that has been given to me, so I hope that my story helps you understand people like me as it has helped many people who care about people like me.
Jeffrey, in his own words