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I sometimes forget that my world isn’t everyone’s. I was on a road trip. The radio was blasting. The air conditioning was blasting. The car was rumbling. The freeway was buzzing. The people were chatting. My body found the sensory sensation too painful and in order to protect me, put me to sleep. I woke up to a sensory overload. The pain was horrible. I was a crying mess. My Da and sister asked what they could do to help. They pulled the car over and my Da sat with me on the side of the road as I pulled myself together. He let me know I was going to be okay and that everyone was here for me. When I was ready, I got back in the car and we pulled up to the hotel. I curled up under my weighted blanket, with my service dog doing pressure. I waited out the sensory overload.

While this was all happening, my Da’s friend watched from the outside. He asked my Da what does he do when that happens? My Da answered with exactly what we did.

My Da has not always been that amazing with my meltdowns. I am grateful that now he is my rock and he can help me through those very painful moments. Having someone who understands and can explain when I can’t has been so lovely. My Da was patient with me when I couldn’t verbally tell him what I needed. From experience of past meltdowns, he was able to figure out how to help.

I want to share these stories because autism doesn’t go away as an adult. I have gotten better at knowing my body and taking care of myself before a meltdown happens. It isn’t always possible to stop meltdowns. They are painful and embarrassing, but they are part of my life. I forget from the outside how alien my life can look. So, here I am sharing another story to normalize and bring understanding to the word of autism.

Chloe Estelle

Chloe Estelle is the founder of OurTism, a writer, blogger, filmmaker, photographer, and Asperger’s specialist. She runs a weekly live stream called Starlight Talks where she discusses various topics related to autism. She is beginning a mentorship program through Chloe’s struggles growing up were invisible to those around her. She didn’t understand the structure of school or social interactions. Chloe was placed in slower classes. Assessments did not capture her true intellectual abilities. This pattern continued and worsened until her grades started dropping and she struggled until she was finally diagnosed at age 16. The diagnoses was a relief that there was a reason for so many of life’s struggles. It still took a while to find the right therapies and practices that would allow her to live a healthy life. Taking what she learned, she is now able to share her experience with the world and hopefully end the struggles of those on the spectrum earlier in their life.

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