- Samantha Antecayer, 22, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in April 2022.
- Looking back, she said she had early signs of autism that weren’t seen at the time.
- She said she hopes more people who don’t have stereotypical autistic behaviors will be diagnosed.
Samantha Antecayer, who goes by the name of Sam, said she had felt different since childhood.
“I had these worksheets with me every time I was in class and didn’t turn them off if I made a mistake on one and asked for a completely new worksheet,” she said.
Antekeier, now 22 and a psychobiology major at UCLA, was formally diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in April 2022. her and her doctor.
Autism spectrum disorders are developmental and neurological conditions that affect a person’s behavior, communication, and sensory experiences, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
Common signs of autism are usually cited as social interaction difficulties, repetitive behaviors, and communication problems, but most studies have been done in boys and men. Researchers believe they are overlooking And because autism is diagnosed on a spectrum, symptoms and their severity vary from person to person.
Antekeier told Insider about the difficulties of adolescence and early adulthood that he now understands to be a symptom of ASD.
Sign 1: Hard to keep friends, meltdowns
As a child, Antekheier said she always struggled to understand other people and their emotions. She found that she could make friends, but maintaining friendships was more difficult, she said.
She also experienced what she now understands as an autistic meltdown, where she spent hours screaming and crying. These meltdowns, she said, particularly frightened her parents, who took her to a psychiatrist when she was about 10 years old.
Antekeier says that since her diagnosis, her doctors have told her that social difficulties, meltdowns, and depression are all common in people with autism, but they were separate at the time. was regarded as the action of
Sign 2: ADHD-Like Behavior
Antekheier said that although he did well in school, he always had trouble concentrating. Growing up, she used to run around her house doing handstands and she spoke incredibly fast.
But she also said she had a keen interest in a particular subject that she could focus on for hours.
“I would know the names of all the gymnasts. I would have seen, I would have bought multiple leotards, but I’m not good at gymnastics, I was just into it,” Antekier said.
Lately, she said, she’s developed what she calls an obsession with genetics and medicine.
A psychiatrist diagnosed Antekier with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in middle school and suspected she also had autism. People with ADHD often show signs of ADHD.
Antekeier says the ADHD medication she takes has helped her tremendously in school and socializing, and now accepts it as part of her autism. In her bio on her TikTok, she posts her advocacy and information about her diagnosis, claiming she has “audhd.”
Sign 3: Masking Social Interactions
According to Antekier, the most difficult thing about identifying with autism was the introverted and shy image of people with ASD. Although she struggled with friendships, she was always an outgoing and outgoing person.
In retrospect, she believes much of that extraversion was learned behavior. Her parents suspected she had autism and took social skills classes in high school. She also said her ADHD medication gave her enough focus to create social interactions.
“I got really good at faking things. You can and don’t really have to now.Don’t think about social interaction anymore,” she said.
In the autism community, we call this masking. People with autism mimic social behaviors in an attempt to push away sensory discomfort.
Formal Diagnosis Opens Doors to Community and Stops Embarrassment
Although she identified as autistic for the past few years, Sam said her recent battle with depression drove her to be formally diagnosed. It can be incredibly frustrating at times, but the community she finds is incredibly fulfilling and helps her feel less embarrassed about who she is.
She said she hopes more people will seek an ASD diagnosis.
“You don’t necessarily have to fulfill all these checkboxes. You don’t have to play trains. You don’t have to be a boy. You don’t have to be super nerdy to be autistic. A lot of people, you know they do.” You see it in everyday life and you wouldn’t know anything,” she said.