Autistic Adults Picture Project
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Name: Adam Sanford. I usually go by "Griff," which is my middle name.
Interests, hobbies, obsessions, perseverations etc: Music; art (I'm a cartoonist) and abstract art especially!; science fiction; medieval history; heraldry; any "ology" where the study of how human beings operate socially is the subject, but especially sociology; GLBT issues; disability and minority rights; sign language; constructed languages. There are probably others I don't remember right now.
Year of birth: 1971
Profession, area of study, etc: Majoring in sociology with an eye towards getting a BA and then my Master's in Library Science.
Where you live in the world: California
Marital status, # of kids etc.: I'm soon to be divorced, with two children from that marriage. I live with my life partner.
I was misdiagnosed over and over again: depression, ADHD, bipolar disorder, borderline disorder... nothing ever "fit" until I found out about NVLD, which led me to a diagnosis of PDD-NOS through the testing at my college plus my therapist's evaluation of that testing.

Finally, here's a place I fit. I'm autistic. Makes perfect sense.

I was a toe walker as a child. My first word was not "mama" or "dada" or even "no!" (a popular first word) but "whazzat?" (What's that?) Over and over and around and around, everything was "whazzat, whazzat, whazzat?" I loved watching fans and the sprinklers (the old-style ones that flap around) and could spend hours doing that. I don't remember learning how to read, but by kindergarten I was reading at a fifth-grade reading level. My parents used to say that I was four, going on forty. I understood the anecdotes in Reader's Digest when I was seven. I had a meltdown in school when I was told I'd have to read a different book than the one I'd fallen in love with. I was always on the outside looking in, socially. I never figured out why the other kids were so different from me. I looked the same, wore the same clothes, and (thought) I had the same interests.

Perseverations? Me? Well, unless you count me acting out scenes from television shows and other stories with my dolls but never doing anything "creative" on my own, nah. I wasn't perseverative, really. (Read this all with a healthy dose of sarcasm.) I identify heavily with Charlie in "Flowers for Algernon" and Raymond in "Rain Man."

My ex was always frustrated with me because I'd get obsessively interested in one thing for about two years and then just as suddenly drop it and go on to something else, for another two years or so. It drove him crazy.

I've always had trouble keeping jobs because of the "teamwork" and "social" aspects. I dislike having to be chummy with people I wouldn't choose to be around outside a work situation, and it shows.

I'm so happy to know that I'm autistic. It took a great weight off my shoulders when I was finally able to understand WHY I am the way I am.

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