A Walk in Our Shoes: Autism in Acadiana
What's Your Autism Story?
1/19/2014 1:54:18 PM
The purpose of this autism community blog is to help answer questions, address concerns, or simply be a sounding board when you need one. We aim to provide resources, support, education, and awareness for those whose lives are affected by autism.

Let me begin by introducing myself. My name is Sabrina LeBeouf and I am the newly appointed Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Autism Society Acadiana. My niche is marketing, web communications, graphics, etc. I am a writer/teacher/philosopher/
artist, among other things. I am also autistic.

Autism entered my life in 2009. My nephew, then 2 years old, was diagnosed with autism. Obsessive researcher that I am, I began harvesting information in support of my family because we knew nothing about the condition. I did not expect to find answers to my own personal questions in my research, but that is exactly what happened.

I then sought professional evaluation because I was desperate, as I’d always been, to understand what was so different about me. I wanted an answer(s). I always felt it, knew it, but a part of me held onto the possibility that I was wrong about being different. All my life, I was just being paranoid when the truth would surface that I was, in fact, normal. But that’s not what happened. I was diagnosed with Asperger’s just after my 30th birthday.

My diagnosis was bittersweet: an answer to the puzzle and affirmation that I was indeed not "normal” after all. In many ways, I am still coming to terms with my diagnosis. I often wonder if I would forgo diagnosis if I could choose to do it again. I wonder if it would be easier to continue living without knowing.

Who am I? I still ask myself everyday. But with more fear now than before. Because I know now that I may never know. I know I may never "get better.” I may always feel like everyone knows something I don’t, that even real connections (though rare) with others will always feel that something is missing, lacking. I may always be misunderstood. But there are certainly worse things than being misunderstood. I try to remember what Ralph Waldo Emerson said: "To be great is to be misunderstood.”

 

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