Autism - I am the same as you, but different

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(Co-written by Daxton Kingsley, age 10)


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Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a condition related to brain development that impacts how a person perceives and socializes with others. It can create challenges in the way the person lives and learns and it can also give them superpower strengths in other areas of life and learning.

If not for Dr. Leo Kanner in 1943 and Dr. Asperger in 1944, autism as a neurological and behavioral condition might still be an “unknown” disorder. Though their studies were published, much of society did not really have a clear picture on what ‘autism’ is per se and did not know how to distinguish those who are living in the spectrum from those with other diagnoses.

ASD is a neurological disorder that affects how the brain functions. The exact cause of ASD is not known. The term ‘spectrum’ refers to the wide range of symptoms, skills, and levels of disability in functioning that can occur in people with ASD. Some children and adults with ASD are fully able to perform all activities of daily living while others require support to perform basic activities.

ASD occurs in every racial and ethnic group, and across all socioeconomic levels. However, boys are significantly more likely to have ASD than girls. The latest analysis from the CDCP, estimates that 1 in 68 children has ASD.

The way ASD affects an individual can vary a lot from person to person. It depends on how many symptoms a person experiences and how severe each symptom is. A person with Autism or ASD may find it hard to connect with other people. They may have difficulty communicating, have difficulty with social situations, repeat certain patterns of behaviour, show interest in a limited number of activities and interests. This can affect the individual at home, school or work and can greatly affect everyday activities.


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Because no one person with ASD is the same, treatments and approaches are based on each person’s needs, strengths and challenges.

So, let me introduce you to my step-son Daxton Kingsley. Daxton will be 11 years old next month. He has a diagnosis of ASD Level 1 and he wants people to know that he is just the same as everyone else, but just a little different.

But aren’t we all just a little different? (And in my opinion, this is a good thing.)

Daxton’s visual perception (his ability to organize, interpret, and give meaning to information that he sees) is high-average to superior than other kids his age. He has a keen eye and sees interesting things to bring our awareness to all the time. He is smart and has an above average IQ. His vocabulary is above average, extensive and he loves to share stories with great detail especially about anything ‘Mario.’ He is creative and has written entire comic books in a journal and loves to color, build and create.

Daxton, his dad, and I sat down on the weekend and had a chat about Autism, what it is, what it felt like to Daxton and what he wants to do when he grows up. We agreed that doing an interview and column for awareness (in which Daxton wanted equal author recognition) would be a good idea.

Kelly: How do you think Autism affects you?

Daxton: My mind is really busy sometimes. Like there is so much information at once. It’s hard to slow it down. I can get emotional. Sometimes it’s scary for me. I can’t understand why it’s so intense. Sometimes it feels out of control.


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Kelly: I read for some people it’s like having 10 tabs open on your laptop at once and trying to read them all.

Daxton: (smiling) That’s a good one.

Kelly: Does it ever feel lonely?

Daxton: Kind of. I feel different sometimes. I feel more different lately. I feel the stress monster is bigger now.

Kelly: Do you feel like you stress different than others?

Daxton: Ya. Some times my stress monster feels so big. I feel bad afterward. Sometimes I try to be funny when I am overwhelmed and sometimes I get in trouble for it because it disrupts the class.

Kelly: When do you feel the most frustrated/stressed?

Daxton: It feels kind of random, like it just happens. It just comes out of nowhere.

Kelly: Do you think if you started to learn more about when it happens that it would be helpful, like what causes it?

Daxton: Ya.

Kelly: Sometimes, I know you have trouble listening. Did you know that your auditory working memory or having difficulty with hearing verbal commands can be affected by Autism?

Daxton: No. And sometimes the thoughts I am having are kind of louder than the other person’s voice.

Kelly: In what ways do you feel you are very talented?

Daxton: I feel really good when I am drawing and creating anything like Legos figures or cartoons. I recently made a Pac Mac arcade cabinet from an old box and some markers.

Kelly: When do you feel at your best?

Daxton: When I am doing something that I like to do.

Kelly: When I say that you stress differently than others, how does that make you feel?


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Daxton: Like you understand me.

Kelly: Do you feel like people understanding and you understanding that you have autism that there is a relief, like people can help you with this now?

Daxton: (smiling) YES!

Kelly: What do you feel are your three biggest challenges?

Daxton: Controlling my emotions, not listening and getting in trouble and told to act a certain way when it seems hard to.

Kelly: What are the three best things about you?

Daxton: My creativity, my personality and that I love my family.

Kelly: Did you know Albert Einstein is believed to have had an Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Daxton: (smiling) Ya, he’s a genius.

Kelly: If you could do anything when you are older, what would you do?

Daxton: I want to be a book writer and a cartoonist.

Kelly: Is there anything else you want to say?

Daxton: Nope.

Kelly: What should we call this column?

Daxton: I am the same as everyone else, but different.

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