My name is Michael Minnis. I’m a client of Megan Tafel and Totally Social ASD. I’m 52 years old, am on the autism spectrum, and write for publication while working the night shift full time.
I was diagnosed with ASD in 2015 more or less by chance; my stepbrother’s wife, an educator who works with autistic schoolchildren, noticed similar symptoms and behaviors in me. For a year prior I had suspected I might be autistic myself. But life was busy and like many things, the notion simmered on the back burner.
Once I had my (unofficial) diagnosis, my previous life began to make sense: the social awkwardness; the chronic disorganization; the difficulty with finding and maintaining employment; the need for routine and dislike for the unexpected; and the black and white thinking. All of it now explained itself. Beforehand, I knew how things had turned out. Now, I knew why.
Autism did not appear in the DSM until 1980. At the time I was a middle-schooler. My former obsessive interest in dinosaurs was fading, to be replaced by military history.
From the web: ‘Autism was first officially identified as a spectrum disorder in the DSM-IV published in 1994.’ By then I was 23 and already out of college. For around a decade I was in and out of work for various reasons. Usually, I was let go because I just wasn’t the right fit—sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
I’ve spoken to clients of Totally Social ASD and their parents on a few occasions, describing my experience and answering their questions. What I think I bring to the table is my life and history as an older autistic individual, a living, breathing example—something you can’t quite experience with any other media, print or visual.
And I will do my best to fill in the blanks for you.
Mike will be speaking to our parent group on Wednesday May, 18th 8pm - 9pm EST. If you are interested in joining, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org