Heather E. Sedlock is an autistic married mom with two sons on the spectrum and a niece she helped raise who also has special needs. Heather spends much of her time reading and writing about special needs kids. She’s busy these days setting up a new organization, AAFA (www.advocacyfraud.org) to help Advocates advocate for these special individuals.
She grew up knowing that she was definitely different than most of the other people around her. Her father and mother love telling the stories about her childhood which included needing thirty minutes to walk a five minute trip to her bus stop because she’d get “lost in her own world.” It wasn’t until Heather was an adult that a neuropsychologist labeled what was so unique about Heather: Asperger’s.
Even though I didn’t have the label for what was going on, we all knew something was there. But it wasn’t like it was a Bad Thing. In fact, my parents always made sure to tell me how much they loved that specialness about me. I knew they felt I was one of the smartest kids they knew. They didn’t treat me any differently than my brother or sisters, either. Just because I found something more challenging than the next person didn’t mean I didn’t have to still do it. No excuses.
However, life is more challenging for me than for some people and there are times where I have difficulty letting it show. I don’t want people to know that I have issues. I spent a good number of years trying to “pass” as normal. I have since learned that I didn’t fool anyone but myself! Parents of autistic females, and young autistic females themselves, would benefit greatly from being mentored by someone who knows what it is like to balance between being themselves and yet also trying to be “normal” as well.