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Title: Navigating the World of Autism: A Journey of Discovery and Acceptance

Author: Dan Holmes and ChatGPT and Podcast Transcripts

Today’s blog is based on a Just The Guys Podcast about a later in life diagnosis.

As someone who's walked the path of a later-in-life autism diagnosis, I wanted to share insights from a past podcast conversation I had with Mark, Perry, and Clay. Our discussion was not just about the diagnosis itself, but about the journey towards acceptance and understanding. It’s a path many of us have tread, each with unique footprints, but leading to a common destination – self-awareness and acceptance.

Mark’s Take: Open to New Realizations

Mark’s journey, similar to many, started with a disbelief. His past experience with an ADD diagnosis had initially been met with skepticism. However, this skepticism eventually transformed into openness when autism was mentioned. For Mark, accepting the characteristics of autism wasn’t just about understanding himself; it was about finding new ways to adapt and grow.

Perry’s Insight: Finding Himself in a Book

Perry’s story is one of self-reflection and seeking. He always felt different, a puzzle he continuously tried to solve. It was the book "The Journal of Best Practices" that echoed his thoughts and experiences, leading him to seek a formal diagnosis. Perry’s journey wasn’t just about labeling his experiences; it was about understanding his path and finding ways to bridge gaps in his interactions with the world.

My (Dan’s) Experience: A Shared Pattern

For me, the realization came through family. I always knew I was different, often tagged as 'weird'. The biggest clue came from my daughter, who is also on the spectrum. Our similar patterns of thinking and reacting to the world made me realize that I might fit the autism spectrum. For me, the diagnosis was a formality; I had accepted my unique perspective long before.

Clay’s Story: Midlife Catharsis

Clay, like many of us, faced challenges fitting in. Despite professional success, he grappled with anxiety and depression, leading him to seek answers. His epiphany came through a book, 'Human', which mirrored his life experiences. Clay’s diagnosis was more than just a label; it was an answer to lifelong questions and a beginning to understanding himself.

Acceptance Before Diagnosis

A common thread in our stories is the acceptance that generally preceded formal diagnosis. It seems acceptance is an integral part of the journey towards seeking a formal acknowledgment of being on the spectrum.

Dealing with Public Perception

The public’s reaction to our diagnoses varied. Mark noticed minimal change, whereas Perry experienced positive feedback, especially in professional settings. For me, sharing my autism diagnosis is similar to sharing any other personal attribute – it's part of who I am, but not something I openly advertise unless it’s relevant.

Advice for Others

For those hesitant about seeking a diagnosis or accepting their autism, our collective advice is to consider what holds you back. Understand that accepting a diagnosis is not just about labeling oneself; it’s about understanding and adapting to one's unique perspective of the world.

Family Dynamics and Autism

Our families played significant roles in our journey. From initial disbelief to eventual acceptance, the impact of our diagnoses on family dynamics was profound. It's a reminder that autism doesn’t just affect the individual; it's a wave that touches everyone close to them.

In Conclusion: Embracing Neurodiversity

Our discussion highlighted the importance of acceptance, both self and societal, in the journey of autism. The diagnosis is not the end but a new beginning, a lens through which the world becomes a place to navigate with newfound understanding. It’s about embracing neurodiversity and realizing that our unique perspectives bring richness and diversity to the human tapestry.

As we continue to share our stories and experiences, we hope to inspire and guide others on similar paths. Remember, autism is not just a diagnosis; it’s a different way of experiencing the world, one that is as unique as each person who walks this path.

To hear this podcast, you can click here:

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