I have autism spectrum disorder. Some people still call it Aspergers, but that's okay. According to Mayo Clinic, ASD is a "condition related to brain development that impacts how a person perceives and socializes with others, causing problems in social interaction and communication." Living with it can be difficult in several ways.

As stated above, people with ASD have a hard time with social interaction. This includes poor eye contact, being unaware of other people's feelings, preferring to be alone, and having trouble initiating and maintain a conversation. Symptoms vary from person to person, of course.

This has been my biggest problem for as long as I can remember. I was extremely shy growing up and never wanted to play with other kids. I had a lot of anxiety trying to even talk to my classmates. My lack of social skills did not go unnoticed to the kids at school, and it was rare with someone asked me to play with them.

Another characteristic of ASD is developing specific routines. Even the slightest change in schedule can be overwhelming to people with ASD. I didn't realized this was an issue for me until after I tried moving away from home after graduating high school. Everything was different, and the shift in pace was horrible.

Then there are intense interests. Someone with ASD can be fixated on something that will be their main focus, and that focus can switch to something else in a heartbeat. When I was a kid, my interests changed several times. At one point, I was obsessed with Pokemon. Next was Full House. Then Spongebob. The list goes on.

Other characteristics include sensitivity to certain stimuli (sounds, touch, taste, etc.), clumsiness, repetitive movements, and difficulty recognizing nonverbal cues.

I wrote a poem expressing what it's like to have ASD. I titled it "See Me." I called it this because ASD can be hard to detect. I actually wasn't diagnosed until I was eighteen. Whenever I tell people I have ASD, they all say the same thing: "I never would've guessed you had that!" I understand though; not every disability is noticeable.


I am invisible.

The human eye cannot see me.

You have to tell someone I am there.

Or else I just do not exist.

I am a part of you.

I can give you relief, sometimes grief.

I make you unique, set you apart,

But you sometimes feel ashamed.

No one can see me.

I make it hard to make a new friend.

Eyes to the floor, tongue twisted, anxious.

I make it hard to work with groups.

Scared of sharing input, letting everyone else do the talking.

But I help you work alone.

Sometimes that's the best way to go.

No one can see me.

I create your passion, things that spark your interest.

From writing to drawing, from Star Wars to football.

I'm the reason why you get overwhelmed by stuff, like

Loud sounds, stinky smells, that tag on the back of your shirt.

I'm the reason why you prefer your "me time."

You feel safe, content, happy.

No one can see me.

Who am I, you are wondering?

My name is Autism Spectrum Disorder,

But my friends call me Asperger's.

No one can see me.