Here at TPGA, we're featuring "Slice of Life" conversations with Autistics of all ages -- kids through adults -- throughout April's Autism Acceptance Month. Today we're talking with Monkey, who happens to be the son of TPGA Contributor Mir Kamin.
What is your name and age?
My mom calls me Monkey on her blog, and I'm 12 years old.
Do you have a website?
What would a one-sentence description of yourself sound like?
This is a hard question. One sentence that describes me is that I am unable to answer this question because there are too many choices!
Do you have any autistic superpowers? What are they?
I am really good at math. I am also good with animals. Autism enhances my concentration and memory, I think, which helps with math. Animals don't notice if I say the wrong thing or act funny, they can just tell I love them.
What are some situations that make you happy, or satisfied?
When my sister is happy, that makes me happy. I am very satisfied when I'm eating chocolate! When I'm doing a fun activity like playing outside with my friends at school and not having any problems, that's a really good day.
What are some situations that make you sad, or anxious?
When there's a lot of negative energy around me -- like if someone I love is unhappy -- that can make me feel sad, too. When I have to make a tough choice, or try to talk about my feelings, that can make me anxious. I also don't like big crowds, or being surrounded by people I don't know.
Are there specific topics you find particularly compelling?
Math! I also love reading, especially Manga and science fiction. Right now I'm really into Yu-Gi-Oh and Minecraft.
What are your preferred ways to be social?
It's easier for me to only play with one friend at a time, and if we want to do the same things. Inside, I like doing card battles or playing Minecraft together, and outside I like to go caterpillar hunting or catch lizards. I'm starting to ride my bike more, too.
What traits do you prize in a friend, or companion?
One of my friends is very agreeable, and that's great because sometimes I get stuck on an idea and he'll go along with it when other kids might argue. He's also very forgiving, which is good because I often say the wrong thing at the wrong time or am rude by accident. He doesn't hold it against me. Another one of my friends is just as goofy as I am, and we make up crazy stories together all the time.
Are there parts of your life you wish were easier?
Yes, I don't like having to work through problems so much, because I don't like being told that I'm wrong, but when it comes to social stuff, I guess I am a lot of the time. I'm getting better but I still get defensive when I mess up. I wish that was easier for me.
What's the next big goal you have for yourself?
To get through an entire school year without any problems in the classroom. That would mean I have enough self-control not to overreact or retaliate when I think someone else has done something mean to me.
What does bliss feel like to you?
I don't know if I've ever felt complete and utter happiness. There are always problems in life, and stuff to work through. Talking about feelings like this makes me kind of anxious. But I think when I'm happy it feels like everything is calm and good.