Meet Rose L.

Navigating life after adult diagnosis

Rose L.

Getting diagnosed helped me find a community and a place of understanding. Usually, I felt like an outsider knowing something was always different about me. Now I see it as my superpower.
Rose L. wearing a floral shirt and sitting outside smiling

Growing up, Rose always knew she was different. She looked different, acted different and was interested in different things than most of her peers and classmates. This feeling of being out of place was something that Rose struggled with for more than 30 years of her life.

It wasn’t until her long-time therapist suggested she meet with a behavioral specialist to be evaluated for autism that Rose finally began feeling like she belonged somewhere.  

“Initially, I started seeking services because I had experienced long periods of depression and being “shut down.” I always knew something was different with me and a lot of the time it felt like something was wrong with me. Therapy was my go-to for many years.” 

After several months of waiting to see a specialist that accepted her insurance, Rose and her family drove two and a half hours north of their home in Portland, Oregon for an appointment she hoped would finally provide her with answers to questions she has struggled with for most of her life. 

“Getting my diagnosis in my 30’s has helped in many ways, but mostly helped me realize there is nothing wrong with me. I just needed to learn self-care and navigating the world in a way that works for me.” 

After her diagnosis, Rose, says she had mixed emotions. On one hand she was relieved because she was finally on a path to better understanding herself, but she was also scared. She struggled with questions about her future, how she’d be labeled by her peers and how being open about her diagnosis would impact her ability to secure jobs as an actress.   

“The first few months after diagnosis I kind or just isolated myself. I started therapy a couple months ago with an awesome therapist that has familiarity with autism. I’ve had therapy sessions with horses, and I did a tour at the airport for people with hidden disabilities; I’ve really grown with autism as part of my life since my diagnosis.” 

If you or someone you know is looking for support before, during or after diagnosis during adulthood, Autism Speaks has got you covered.  

Learn more about Rose’s journey in this Q&A:

Rose L. on set while being filmed with a microphone above her head

When you were diagnosed or when you found out you were autistic, what were some of the thoughts that ran through your mind?                                      

So many things! I would think things from “I can’t be autistic” to “oh this makes so much sense”. I also thought “what if” about being diagnosed earlier in life.  

What are some of your biggest challenges?

Rose L. wearing a black shirt and blue pants with her hands on the sides of her head and short black hair in her face

Everything is a challenge HaHa! I struggle with executive functioning. [Higher-level cognitive skills you use to control and coordinate your other cognitive abilities and behaviors] 

What are some of your biggest strengths?

Being creative. Seeing things differently. 

What are you most proud of?

I’m proud that I go after what I want despite fear or uncertainty. 

What does being a fearless, strong, autistic woman mean to you?

It means being there: for anyone who needs reminding that they are enough. 

During March, International Women’s Month, what is the message you’d like to send to all of the other women out there? 

Girl, you’re perfect. 

How has Autism Speaks positively impacted your life since being diagnosed?

Autism Speaks has given me a platform to be heard. All I want is to inspire others, to help them and Autism Speaks has given me a chance to do that. I am newly diagnosed, so Autism Speaks has and will be a main resource of information for me along my journey. It would be nice to make friends on the spectrum, so I plan to reach out to the Autism Response Team about peer support groups in my area.  

What type of services and supports have you received since being diagnosed?

I have received a microgrant for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous People of Color) individuals on the spectrum, so I was able purchase an egg swing with for sensory purposes. I also have a great therapist that is familiar with working with people with autism.  

Why is it important to you to open about your story and share your diagnosis with the world?

I think awareness is important to facilitate understanding. Autism is still misunderstood. I receive input from people which doesn’t come from a place of malice, but is still uncomfortable to hear such as, “you don’t look autistic.” I’m a firm believer that representation is important from ethnicity to abilities and beyond. One voice is strong when it adds to others. So many autistic individuals want be heard and/or seen for what we bring to the world and not only as our diagnosis.  

The story shared above represents the experience, views and perspectives of the individual(s) highlighted. We aim to share stories across the spectrum and throughout the life span, but the information provided on our website is not a recommendation, referral or endorsement of any resource, therapeutic method, or service provider and does not replace the advice of medical, legal or educational professionals.