Thoughts, stories and ideas.

About Shaelynn Castle

Shaelynn has been recognized in her local community for advocacy in Autism Spectrum Disorder and Asperger's Syndrome, which represents a high level functionality form of autism. She graduated from University of Houston - Downtown with bachelor's in special education and works for a consulting company that specializes in transition to adulthood for individuals with disabilities.

Today, it is World Autism Awareness Day. According to a research study from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men are 4 times likely than women to get diagnosed with autism. It’s very rare for a woman to get diagnosed with Autism and it has been proven time and time again.

Different, not less. — Temple Grandin

People with autism are different that it does not mean that they are just like you in so many ways. I am a woman with autism that is my superpower, and I wouldn’t change it because God says I am perfect just the way who I am. I advocate for my people with autism and the community that I've built in my lifetime. I've met hundreds of individuals and children who similarly experience the same conditions as I do.

What is autism, really?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (or ASD, for short) is a neurological and developmental disorder that affects how people interact with me or anyone who has this condition. It can also affect my learning and behavior as I progress throughout my life. The condition can be diagnosed at any given age, but most symptoms of autism don't appear until the age of 2.

For instance, people with autism can have a wide variety of challenges that they may face throughout the course of their life (but not limited to):

  • Making no to very little eye contact when they look into another person (for example, me in this case)
  • Having a hard time to adapt different behaviors in social interactions
  • Having trouble understanding another person's point of view or being unable to predict or understand other people's actions.
  • Taking social situations very literal.

For me, as an autistic person, my sensory is very sensitive in each environment that I go through. I cannot stand loud environments in which that will result me to go into sensory overload and shut down. It makes me very emotional when it happens to me.

Autistic people don't generally have a good sense of feelings and cannot tell what is what. For example, I cannot tell if you are making a joke or not. Although that is difficult for me to distinguish, but I can understand some of it in a sense. Additionally, I was born with developmental delays that affect my learning and that will be stuck there with me for the rest of my life. It will just take me a little longer to process my thoughts and things that people have said to me.

Mood swings are very common among with children and adults with autism. I cry and get upset very easily when things get hard and difficult, but I am mostly happy overall. It would take me a long time to get back into my normal routine that I was before once I cooldown from panic attacks.

Earlier in my life during my school years, I was also diagnosed for ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and dyslexia, which impacts my ability to self-control, regulate my attention span, stillness and how I read certain words and interpret sounds. Adding autism into the mix brings interesting set of challenges for me. I would have to get someone read out to me what the word (that maybe hard to pronounce) is or even a simple question. Without proper medications for my ADHD, I can get out of hand and unexpected things can happen when I lose focus.

It is strongly recommended that if you or your loved ones are showing signs of autism, please consult with a medical professional for potential diagnosis.

Today, I do believe that autism makes me stronger than ever. It always has been my personality ever since I was diagnosed with the condition during my time in school many years ago. I am forever grateful that I have a great support system that I can rely on.

In addition to that, I made a YouTube video back in 2015 talking about my life with autism if you want to learn more about me here:

I'm hoping to have a follow-up update of this video soon.

If you like to donate for a charitable cause for Autism Awareness month, please consider donating to Autism Speaks or Organization for Autism Research.

Update 1 (4/3/2024 - 6:30pm) by Rodrigo Argumedo: Added some background about autism and its characteristics along with experience that Shaelynn sees on a day-to-day basis.

Update 2 (4/4/2024 - 8:16 pm) by Rodrigo Argumedo: Added additional statements to support the previous paragraphs.

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