Before we discovered we were multiple, one of the alters, I believe it was Ruby wrote this post from her perspective thinking she was just one person at the time. I thought it was really good and I’m deciding to share. It helped me learn some stuff about myself as a child and brought back memories I had forgotten about, but still feel really disconnected from these experiences. -ASHLEY-
I want to share some of my story about my struggle being on the spectrum in school and how I felt I wasn’t accommodated. This was also because when I was growing up they didn’t have very much information on what Autism actually was, especially when it came to females so I was never diagnosed. People have this idea that people who are Autistic are one specific way but we all have differences as well. Not all of us are male and enjoy things like Science and Math. Some of us are very much female and for me I’ve always done better with English. Before I even started school my Mom would take me to the library, and taught me the alphabet. She read some stories out loud for me but I picked up very quickly on a few basic words and was able to teach myself how to read. By the time I got to school I was already reading way beyond my level. Always had my nose in really thick books with language that the other kids hadn’t really picked up on yet. I would get these reading certificates for being the best reader in class. I also taught myself how to write, but my handwriting wasn’t always the best so my teachers would struggle with being able to read it. I wouldn’t put enough space in between the letters and words, my a’s looked like o’s, and they could never tell that my checkmarks were checkmarks which made it difficult to read. I still have sloppy handwriting at times to this day and even run off the lines so that’s why I prefer to type. My teachers would always try to teach me how to do it, but I couldn’t ever get it right, and I could tell they were frustrated with me, and just didn’t know how to approach the situation. I was in speech therapy for stuttering for the first two years of school. I started being able to speak better, at least enough for them to understand, but I still had trouble with certain words, and though they sounded as if they were spoken clearly, my teachers didn’t realize I had trouble processing these words before I would speak them. It took everything in me, taking away a lot of my energy that I had just to get some words out that I struggled with, but because it wasn’t visible to them, they never thought it to be a problem. For example, I was in the 2nd grade and I asked my teacher if I could use the “potty”, so I got in trouble for using that word and was told that it was inappropriate and I should use the word “restroom” instead. I remember how frustrated I got trying to say it, I tried to explain that it was difficult for me, but she just assumed I was being defiant, and forced me to say the word that was harder for me to process and get out. I feel as if I got in trouble for a lot of things my teachers didn’t understand. I truly did have difficulties with things and they thought that it meant I was being a bad kid. I had trouble with sleeping during nap time because of my sensory issues with all the other kids in the room, I would just lay there the entire time with my eyes open, and if they saw me awake, they would yell at me to go to sleep. I was always being called after class to discuss my behavior especially when it came to my disorganized desk and constantly forgetting things like my textbooks at home. I didn’t mean for me to be this way, I just didn’t think the same way as the other kids. I was constantly searching through my desk through wads of papers stuffed in there and could barely find anything. No one tried to teach me how to get organized, at least in a way I could understand, and so I was punished. Because of the constant sensory overload and social anxiety, I would do things like tilt the back legs of my chair back and forth because it was how I felt comfortable stimming. I was always told I needed to stop what I was doing because I was distracting the rest of the class, but I had no clue what else I could’ve been doing differently to help me focus better. I remember being in class for an exam one day and being allowed to chew on a candy necklace. It was the one day I felt like I was truly being accommodated for the way I was, occupying myself with the candy necklace made it so it was much easier to take the test. But of course, it never happened again. I loved writing on the inside of my desk which obviously had my teachers upset, and had to spend the entire class once scrubbing it off. I didn’t know that it was wrong, because it made me feel better to carve things into desks and draw in them, so I saw no problem with it. I tried wearing these leather gloves to class a few times but the teachers got furious once again because it was strange to them I guess and they didn’t understand that it actually helped me. I tried to do many things differently and felt very misunderstood because of it. I loved to vocally stim the most out of anything and that really made people think I was just being rude. I interrupted class a lot because I would get super anxious and start yelling out random words I liked, making sound effects, humming, and repeating things over and over again that made me feel good. This always caused the other kids to laugh of course, but they weren’t really laughing with me like I thought at first, but rather laughing at me. That’s when the bullying really started. I would make these animal sounds in particular and would get completely animated and mimic these animals. The kids called me ugly, weird, stupid, etc. They made fun of the way I would walk. I was constantly struggling with keeping my shoes tied so I was always tripping over myself. I hated that I could never get the shoelaces tied just right so I started wearing high heels to school a few times because I was tired of being made fun of. I would end up being late to class because I would struggle getting up and down the stairs. I would literally have to take it step by step very slowly until I would get to the top. It wasn’t comfortable to say the least and it just ended up making it so I was made fun of even more. My Mom would pick out my clothes not realizing a lot of stuff she picked out didn’t match or would end up being see-through or something. I got teased a lot for the way I dressed. I accidently started a rumor about myself that I was a lesbian because I had kissed my friend and told another friend so word got around. I went along with it like it was funny at first, thinking guys liked lesbians based off of my friend said, and so that caused me to be tortured for years. They finally had something they could use to get under my skin and it was actually my fault that it happened out of being naive. I would stare down guys I liked and just people in general which had people constantly talking trash about me and making me feel as if I was some kind of sick person because I stared people down and couldn’t help it. I hated lining up at the door with all the other kids because of how close together we were. It sent my anxiety through the roof and I would always get this sense of relief whenever the line would start moving. From the very moment I first went to school, even at the orientation, I hated being in groups of kids. We sat down for story time, and I grew very uncomfortable sitting there, so I just broke down crying, begging my Mom to take me home, before school had even started yet, this was the orientation before kindergarten. Most of the kids didn’t want anything to do with me because I was so different. I would play on the playground by myself a lot and ended up getting physically hurt from doing really impulsive things like standing up on top of the pull-up bars and jumping off, smacking face first into the concrete. My favorite thing was the monkey bars, anything where I could dangle myself and use my upper body strength, feeling that pressure in my arms. The other kids would be on the slide and jump roping while I was hanging upside down on the pull-up bars. One of the guys I had a crush on used me in this tag game they made up. I was so excited to play with the kids, especially a guy I liked, and so I didn’t realize that they turned me into the big ugly scary monster that chased them around the playground. They would tell me how gross I was whenever I would come close, but at that age I had no clue that it was a bad thing what was happening. I truly thought they just liked to play with me at the time but I was very wrong. I’m pretty sure my grades started to drop due to the bullying most of all and the fact that nothing was ever done about it. It became much harder to concentrate having so much more anxiety than I already had. The sensory issues and problems with interacting socially caused me to get physically ill and I ended up in the school office a lot laying down, and waiting to get picked up to go home early. I did have a few times where I had faked it, but most of the time I was truly sick. I couldn’t ever handle being called on. I absolutely hated being surprised and caught off guard to give these quick responses. I didn’t mind if I knew the answer and raised my hand but my teachers constantly targeted me, putting me on the spot so I would have to answer and a lot of times I would just say “I don’t know” or nothing at all, even though I was a pretty intelligent student. I would tell my Mom I needed help with my homework, but she was always more concerned with my sister because the teachers stated she had ADD, so my Mom spent the entire time helping her, and told me I was smart enough to figure it out on my own, and able to focus easier. Little did she know I struggled with comprehension most of all and really understanding the text I was reading. It would take me a long time to figure out the answers, sometimes I would sit there for hours on one problem, and just eventually give up. Luckily a lot of homework assignments, were graded on completion instead of accuracy so that kept my grades up for awhile. I was always confused how I would get some answers eventually, I never knew how I was doing it, I would just do it. I did the whole pronoun reversal thing as well, always switching the point of view of the person while writing, and I still struggle to this day with it and have to go back and edit my work constantly. I continued to vocally stim in middle school when I first got there but because I was thrown out into the hallway so much and got lunch detentions, I stopped doing it for awhile. And began taking my pens and pencils and poking my arms over and over again to provide that stimulation that I needed. This is when I really started becoming more mute because I was always on guard with the other kids and I also wasn’t allowed to do the things I needed to in order to cope. I switched middle schools halfway through my 8th grade year and I began vocally stimming again in class, but this time I wasn’t really interested in learning anymore. I was purposely trying to turn it into a joke because it made me feel good, and I just didn’t care about anything else. I would mostly shout out random words, I believe my favorite one was “Cookie”. I do the same thing now with the word “Butts” where I just repeat a certain word I like over and over again. My grades started dropping more drastically where I had failed a couple of classes for the first time but still managed to pass enough to get to highschool. I became disruptive because it was either I suffered in silence filled with all my anxiety and sensory sensitivity. Or people thought I was a complete weirdo shouting and making noises. My teachers always saw me as a problem instead of trying to figure out solutions to help me. I think that’s the biggest issue with the way these educators treat the students in general. They automatically assume the child is acting this way as a way to act out, but they’re just doing what they need to do to survive the day. They learn differently and think differently, but the system only seems to want to help those who have more obvious disabilities that they can more easily deal with. They had no clue what was going on with me and neither did I. I believed what they thought about me which made things really depressing because I looked at myself in a negative light instead of seeing myself for who I really am. I could never figure out why I was doing everything so wrong so now I feel a lot more at peace since I’ve discovered that I’m neurodivergent. I absolutely dreaded presentations and they tried to get me to do quite a bit of them. It was easier for me to do as a small child but the older I got, the worse it got. I even backed out of a presentation and took the zero knowing that if I didn’t do well on the midterm, I wouldn’t have graduated high school. I was so scared, that everything I had worked for, meant absolutely nothing to me. I skipped a lot of highschool but still managed to get by. I ended up dropping classes immediately in college where they tried to get me to do presentations. I also had this one teacher who purposely saw i was the most quiet in the class, so he called on me over and over again, and even used me as an example for sexual harassment which caused me to be very uncomfortable considering all the sexual abuse I had to endure in my life. I felt like I was always singled out because I tried to fade out in the background and not be noticed. I would’ve much rather just got my work done on my own, than be constantly concerned with whether or not my teacher was going to call me out in front of the other students. I ended up skipping a lot of college as well and would get picked up by friends as soon as I would get dropped off. But a lot of times I didn’t have a ride and I would just walk around the school while class was going on. I would sit out in the hallway and read. I also would sit in the bathroom when things started feeling weird with me being out in the open, I was always paranoid I was going to be caught, or someone in my class was going to see me there and realize I was skipping class. Little did I know that no one in college really cared or took notice to me because I barely said a word. I ended up not going back to class when I would get let out for bathroom breaks. My teacher even called it out one day, and said that we weren’t going to get those short breaks, if people didn’t stop leaving for the day. He also tried to make it so we would have to take tests after the bathroom break just so people like me would actually come back to class. I would memorize the review sheets right before taking the quizzes but forgot all the information afterwards. I didn’t learn much of anything, it was just memorize, take the test, repeat. I feel being in school didn’t utilize any of my strengths especially with the fact that I’m such an abstract thinker. I need to be able to think outside of the box and do things in my own little way so I can actually do well. They don’t know how to provide the right tools in order to have people like me function better in a classroom setting. I never knew how to cope. I was never taught, and I was never given any guidance. It also didn’t help that no one was really informed of my Autism or anything else for that matter. They turned a blind eye to me and I suffered greatly for it, thinking I was stupid for many years because I couldn’t do things the same as everyone else. I did things with my intuition and from the heart rather than using a more logical approach which made things even more difficult for me. I usually eventually figured out the answers but it would take a very long time to get there, and I had to do it all on my own. Our voices need to be heard, we need to recognized for who we are, instead of them trying to mold us into this one way of thinking. I think differently as an Autistic woman and I learn differently so therefore that should be accommodated. I feel we definitely need to put an end to all this stigma around kids who seem as if they are being disruptive when they actually need help. It’s also another reason I’m so afraid to ask for help, because I never got it. We all deserve the same kind of treatment any other kid gets. And that’s why I will continue to fight so this doesn’t ever happen to anyone else ever again.