Twirling Naked In The Streets And No One Noticed – Growing Up With Undiagnosed Autism book is written by Jeannie Davide-Rivera. Though I have read books by Temple Grandin and other Aspie women, this book is truly the most honest and enlightning book and is a must read for anyone who wonders why women with Autism are seldom diagnosed with Autism in childhood and how differently Autism presents in women.
Jeannie was diagnosed as having Asperger’s syndrome when she was 38 years old. This book chronicles her life journey from three years of age till her diagnosis. Throughout the book, she constantly talks about how her autistic traits affected her life and she was repeatedly labeled as adamant, head strong, and as she grew in to an adult, she got diagnosis of depression, anxiety disorder and even – ‘it’s all in her head’ diagnosis from doctors, who never completely understood the gravity of her problems.
Her sensory issues of gagging and vomiting when forced to eat some foods, proprioception problems that often got her the title of being clumsy, executive functioning problems as she constantly got lost even in familiar places, her problems with perspective taking that became prominent during her adult life when she began dating. She talks about her inability to understand why her boyfriend wanted to spend time with his friends ( she wanted to stay with him all the time, everyday) and its heartbreaking to read about how she never realized that he wanted to break up with her. She could not catch the non verbal signals and was often caught unawares when the relationship broke.
I liked the part wherein she talks about her love for ballet and how was very good at it. She would perform gracefully for a long time without losing a step but fall down while getting down the steps! She explains the reason as her ability for intense focus while she is doing something she loves. She goes on to explain that maintaining that level of focus is extremely draining and as soon as she is done with ballet, she becomes her clumsy self who stumbles and falls frequently. Autism is truly enigmatic!!
She also talks in detail about how difficult it was for to pursue her academic life in spite of being brilliant. Her struggles with retaining a job as she was fired for always coming late or for not being a team player. After her diagnosis, she finally finds peace and acceptance as she sees her life through the lens of Autism and finally finds ‘her tribe’, others on the Autism spectrum – who offer her support and understanding.
You can purchase the book on Amazon India
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