Meet Verna L., 56
My name is Verna, and I have Asperger’s syndrome. I was diagnosed with autism when I was one and a half years old. As a result, I’ve encountered social challenges and have had trouble communicating throughout my life. I was in special education classes until the 8th grade and endured bullying, misunderstandings and many hardships as I transitioned into adulthood.
When I was in school, life was difficult. I didn’t know how to cope while being bullied and taken advantage in both friendships and relationships. When I have social challenges it’s often because of lack of eye contact, which leads to me being misunderstood and not understanding what others are trying to say. I get frustrated and upset during many social situations.
I went to college and studied computer science. It was a difficult road, but I had credits to finish so did whatever it took graduate. When I went into the workforce, I faced different struggles. I sometimes have a hard time concentrating because lack of attention span, but I always try my best. I also have a very good memory, so this helps me with many tasks.
Today, I am 56 years old. I play the keyboard at church and I have worked in various library systems, including the local public library and the Library of Congress. My hobbies are music, computers, watching television and art.
Learn more about my autism journey in the Q&A below:
What are some of the challenging/unique behaviors you’ve struggled with throughout your life?
Crying, screaming and carrying on when I was younger. As an adult, I have a quick temper and inappropriate attitude at times. I do things like interrupting conversations while talking, not paying attention to important details, lack of attention span and troubles with social interaction.
Please explain how you worked to modify those behaviors.
I am working out some situations such as coping, socializing with people more frequently and listening to important details during conversations. It’s a work in progress. I go to individual psychotherapy to discuss about the personal issues in my life. They give me some advice to overcome difficult situations. It has helped me through the years.
My family is also my support system. I’ve lived with my family for all my life. Living with them helps me to cope and solve my personal problems, especially related to my autism.
Please share any advice you have for other people with autism in similar situations.
Share important information and talk to people such as family and friends. However, think before speaking and take the feelings of others into account.