This is why I see myself as a “person first” because autism is not the sum and total of my being and I do not see as the totality of my existence, this isn’t because I am ashamed it is because I don’t faceblindness as “me”, simultagnosia as “me”, semantic agnosia as “me”, aphasia as “me”, alexithymia as “me” and all the other pieces of my autism “fruit salad” as the totality of “me”.
I have personality traits mercurial, idiosyncratic, self-sacrificing and serious which impacts and interacts with environmental and identity development and mental health co-conditions that come part of the “package”.
My experience is not an “autistic” experience (you cannot define that anyway) it is a collective experience as a person who happens to have a stacking of pre-existing conditions high enough for it be called “autism”
If I wasn’t a person first then what would I be?
Paul Isaacs 2016