I’m going to start by saying this is just my personal opinion based on what I have observed so far. I am a late diagnosed person on account of the fact that myself and my personality were quite developed by the time I got my diagnosis at 17. An early diagnosis I classify as you got it very early on in your life so you’ve always been autistic. There was never a time that you can remember being an undiagnosed autistic.
The reason I decided to make this distinction is that it shapes your personality. There is the debate about whether you are an autistic person or a person with autism. This is more than the simple language debate it would seem. I know a lot of people would think what is the difference but it’s there. It depends how much you think autism is a part of you and your life. Does your autism define you in the way that a footballer is sometimes only thought of a footballer and when they stop playing they have lost their identity? For me my autism is a big part of me as it’s always been present whether recognised or not but it’s not all that I am. I am interested in a great many things in this world. Yes I can be obsessive, literal and single minded but I can also be social, warm and affectionate.
I think my late diagnosis helped me as I learnt the habits that I need to survive. I don’t have the strange eating habits of only eating chicken and chips or other similarly limited diets. I may say inappropriate things occasionally but I’m generally polite. I’m a fairly well rounded person who luckily escaped something much more debilitating like Down’s syndrome or Tourette’s but even here people are making strides towards acceptance. They are being welcomed into the community.
I think an early diagnosis is akin to helping a butterfly out of its chrysalis. You damage it in ways it can’t know until later on. I was hurt by others and by not knowing myself but now I think I’m being reborn like the butterfly and I’m flying free due to having gained the strength from my earlier struggles. One of the things my mother always said to me was “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” I’m not quite sure whether she was joking, being sarcastic or truly meant it as it differed when she said it but it’s true. Also “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” Or “Cry and you cry alone, laugh and the whole world laughs with you.” These were epithets delivered on how to make friends and the mood you should be in to attract other people.
People are what make life more interesting but you have to be in the right place to be able to accept them into your life. If you have more drama and issues stored inside of you than the average soap opera; your not going to be in a fit state to be anybody’s friend. It is up to you to make the most of your life as you only get one. Your not a cat I’m afraid.