About This

Jim JacobsonI live amongst humans. In many ways, on the surface at least, I am indistinguishable from them. And yet, I separate myself from them, to some extent, in some specific ways. Of course I’m human. But what interests me, and what I talk about here, are the ways in which I am different. The notion of being human or not is a categorization, a generalization, along with many others I use.

Categories are the stuff of language, a means to convey thoughts between minds. They are convenient, if blunt, instruments (see Boundary Issues). They are also, to me, a fascination. I apply categories. I examine them. I confront them, even. They abound in what I write, consciously so. I rarely take them for granted. Categories are both imprecise shorthand and deeply satisfying. I am drawn to them as helpful, messy tools to make sense of the universe.

One of those imprecise categories, that I use for myself, is autistic. It is common to speak of the autistic spectrum. That simplification assumes autism can be reduced to a single dimension, that each autistic individual has a single label that defines their condition. But autism is a landscape. It has length and breadth and height. There are multiple dimensions, multiple variations.

I represent the last lost generation—those that struggled for decades without diagnosis, without understanding, born into a world not yet woken up to the extent and breadth of autism. To me, that was expressed as a lost childhood and a fierce invisible battle throughout most of my adult life, a battle to find a way to survive amongst humans while being so different from them in many ways. It was a trial by fire, but I survived and learned. I learned how to cope and compensate, without words for what I was doing, nor purpose. Yet survival was sufficient, and when I finally understood the nature of my differences, I recognized the complex mechanisms I had constructed around myself to live, and even to succeed.

I claim no expertise. This is a subjective exposition. I have avoided exposure for decades. Writing here, to the extent that anyone will read it, is uncomfortable. It puts me out of my control. But I am drawn to it. Bear with me as I expose my brain for all to see, never to get it back (but see my unusual copyright notice). I hope it helps.

Speaking of help, and speaking of speaking, this is not the only way I have exposed myself. In the last few years I have spoken on a number of occasions to rooms full of people that, apparently, are interested in my story, my struggle and the ways I have mastered living amongst humans. If this interests you, or for any other reason, please feel free to contact me.

Jim Jacobson

2015-05-31 (last updated)

54 Responses to About This

  1. Es July 18, 2015 at 10:50 am #

    Hi, James. This is Esther. This site is really impressive! I miss you in my life. I don’t really use FB or other social media. So posting anything is a big deal… Am better at texts and at times email… Hope you are well. Please come visit when you are in the DC area. Stay well.

  2. Jen September 8, 2015 at 12:57 am #

    I too was diagnosed late in life… in my 60th year. My son was diagnosed when he was 26 and the Prof suggested I do the testing too. I guess he already knew 🙂 It has given me a new lease of life. Instead of trying to fit in, I can be myself and that’s just the way I like it. I also had an epiphany about my dad…. sooooo aspie I’m sure. I know see his struggle as clear as day and salute him for being the provider he was for his family. Against all odds. Shame I didn’t know when he was still alive.
    Thanks for living amongst humans and writing about it. Really helps.

    • Jim September 8, 2015 at 6:29 am #

      I can’t imagine any higher praise than that. Helping others is, through this writing, my greatest aspiration. It would be hubris to expect it, but I delight in hearing it. Thank you, Jen.

  3. Carmen November 5, 2015 at 6:27 pm #

    Jim, I was privileged to hear you speak at my school the other day, and I wanted to express my gratitude to have had the opportunity of hearing you speak. What you shared, your story, your life, and who you are has changed my entire way of viewing Autism, and I can not thank you enough. You have changed me in a very deep way. Having worked as a therapist with Autistic children for many years, I feel that after your talk, I will be able to actually help, and support the beautiful growth of the Autistic child. Thank you.

    • Jim November 7, 2015 at 5:23 pm #

      Carmen, there have been a lot of great comments on this site, but yours was at the very pinnacle. It moved me greatly to read that I had such a positive impact on you. As much satisfaction as I get from writing here and reading the comments, my greatest joy in all of this is meeting people in person and discussing the sometimes difficult, sometimes thrilling, always moving topics about autism, my life, the lives of others, etc.

      Thank you for making my day. Events like this are, I think, one of the reasons that humans decide to continue living.

  4. Anonymous July 14, 2016 at 2:13 am #

    wow !! super website. very helpful to parents. Thanks….

  5. Actually Autistic Blogs List April 29, 2017 at 2:46 pm #

    Your blog is currently included on our Actually Autistic Blogs List (anautismobserver.wordpress.com). Please personalize your blog’s description by selecting “About the list/How do you want your blog listed?” from the top menu on that site.
    Thank you.
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  6. An Autism Observer April 29, 2017 at 2:48 pm #

    Your blog is currently included on our Actually Autistic Blogs List (anautismobserver.wordpress.com). Please personalize your blog’s description by selecting “About the list/How do you want your blog listed?” from the top menu on that site.
    Thank you.
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