Living With Autism Part 5: Numbers!

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NOTE: I just recently finished the second draft of my novel At the End Of the Day and have handed the document over to a good friend who has agreed to proofread it for me.  Though I believe the book still needs a lot of work, I’m excited for it to see the light of day for the public.

One of the things that has been very stressful for me lately is my reckless spending habits.  After living with family friends for a year, I moved back in with my parents, and since then, my spending habits have gotten worse and worse.  I’ve grown more reckless in the ways I spend my money because of the sense of familiarity I have living with my family again and the fact that I feel safer being in the same environment as my family.  I feel like my spending habits won’t have as hefty an effect as they did while I was living independently.

Here’s the thing.  I couldn’t tell you a single thing about finances.  I know next to nothing about it.  My dad had me read two books on managing finances a few years ago, and when he quizzed me on the information in the books, I was barely able to give him any solid answers even though I had just finished them.  I don’t understand the real consequences of being low on money until I’m between a hundred and two hundred dollars and I think ‘uh, I don’t have a lot of money to pay for my college textbooks’, and I don’t understand the significance behind stocks.

I think that my inability to be very good with money is connected to the fact that I’m pretty terrible at math.  Numbers just isn’t a strength of mine.  I tend to love words.  I love reading them and I love writing them.  They give me a sense of purpose and it’s a powerful way of getting people to think.

Now, I’m sure you’re wondering how all of this may apply to autism.  Well, not every autistic person is like Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory.  Some autistic people are highly intelligent and can do math.  I used to live with a couple that has a nine-year old autistic boy that has extraordinary talent in complicated mathematics and can easily do hard math in his head without needing to write it down on paper.  That’s not the case with other people with autism.  I personally have serious issues with math.  I barely got through geometry in high school and didn’t even get to get started on Algebra II.  Again, I’m much more of a words person than a numbers person.  Autistic people tend to have their areas that they’re simply not cut out for, and while to a lot of other people it’s mostly seen as merely an inconvenience, autistic people see it as a serious obstacle and can get easily frustrated and angry that they can’t figure something out, and it’s made worse by the fact that they can’t seem to learn and understand it the same way that other people can.

I’m in the same boat.  I can’t learn certain things the same way others can and sometimes can’t bring myself to learn it at all.  Mix that with the lack of motivation people on the spectrum can have for things they struggle to care about despite the consequences they know are there, like failing grades if it’s a school issue, and what we have is something complex and hard to deal with.

To be honest, there really isn’t exactly a point except the fact that I’m explaining all this to raise awareness for people who are possibly unaware.  Having to deal with people on the spectrum can be frustrating for teachers and parents and just regular people alike, but think of an autistic person having his own set of weaknesses just like other people have their own.

My next semester at college starts next week and in the weeks leading up to that, I dropped out of one of the classes I signed up for, which was a math class.  After having failed to pass Math 080 last semester and then signing up for 081 for this semester, it became clear to me that that wasn’t a good idea.  I decided that for the time being, the biggest goal for me is to take classes that will help me start and further a writing career while trying to do everything I can to get some of my writing published in magazines this year and so forth.  Worse comes to worst, I won’t get a degree in the end, but I learned that you don’t need a degree to make a career out of writing, and a writing career is exactly what I want to have.

1 thought on “Living With Autism Part 5: Numbers!”

  1. Hope you realize some of us (most) of use excell or prefer things that we are better at then those we struggle with for someone like Me words can be difficult and basic math is easy. I guess that shows we excel in our areas of interest. Well done Forrest!!!!!!!!

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