For this weeks blog post I had the pleasure of interviewing Kylie from @ Life on the Spectrum, I hope you enjoy this interview!
- Can you tell us a little about yourself? (At what age did you get your Autism diagnosis? What was the process like for you, and what difference did it make?)
A: My name is Kylie Andrade. I am 29 years old, soon to be thirty at the beginning of June and was first diagnosed as a child in public school during grades 3 and 4. I know that my parents sought out a diagnosis so that I could get support while at school to learn successfully and not struggle in tough subjects like Math, or English. Being young as a kid it made a great difference at school, growing up knowing I had the support and resources around me help me through academically and struggle less. I can also confidently say if it weren’t for the support I received then, I wouldn’t the writer/blogger I am today. As far as accepting my diagnosis it really came later in life, shortly after starting college, during as Asperger group I was a part of, I found myself inspired through a discussion with a friend of mine to refocus my attention on my strengths as an Autistic individual rather than weaknesses and truly begin the journey of self-acceptance and this is where the true difference for me personally has been in starting to embrace being Autistic. It’s also here that became comfortable with the term Aspergers (as was known then) and even more Autistic.
2. I noticed you run a blog called Life on the Spectrum, can you tell us about your blog?
A: I started Life on the Spectrum; which I lovingly refer to as my corner of the Internet, as a way to embrace my own journey as an Autistic individual and blogger; as the creation of it also came at a time when I was going through an interesting transition myself and was looking for a way to share more honestly my experiences, learn to really own my journey and move from blogging anonymously as with my previous blog to claiming my ideas and insights as my own. It’s been a brave and crazy journey, but one I am grateful for as it’s introduced me to some other awesome bloggers, allowed me to participate in some wonderful speaking engagements from it and given my writing a new meaningful sense of purpose. So, you could say it’s changed my life in allowing me to connect with others, and others to connect with me as I’ve continued to share my story and experiences and over-all feel less alone in this journey as an Autistic blogger.
3. How would you describe your blog in three words?
A: I would describe my blog as insightful, authentic, and heartfelt. As these are the sort of words I use and keep in the back of my mind as I write each blogpost and weigh whether a particular post feels right to send out into the cybersphere or if it needs to be reflected on further and truly resonates with my own experience in a honest, and insightful way.
4. How have you found being part of the Autistic community and has this helped you in any way?
A: I’ve found that being a part of the Autistic community wonderful and encouraging. It’s been amazing to connect with others a part of the community to share experiences, advice, learn from them as examples and inspiration. I’ve also formed some amazing online connections in the community, and gotten to do some awesome collaborations that connected me even more to their collaborators. As well on tough or discouraging days, it’s been following what others are doing and reading how authentic their work is that’s inspired me to keep sharing mine, so I am eternally grateful to be a part of this community.
5. As a blogger, are there any blogs in particular which you enjoy or that have helped you?
A: There’s a few that I feel particularly inspiring and first introduced me to the community and advocates alike; like Neurodivergent Rebel by Christa Holmans, Rebekah Gillian, Autistically Alex, and of course yours Actually Aspling. I have also enjoyed connecting with The Neurodiverse Woman over on Facebook
6. Do you have any special interests and could you tell us about them?
A: My special interests have often varied depending on what has interested me, but I know that most recently I’ve discovered that a special interest of mine is literature and learning. As I always find myself interested to know more and understand as many different human experiences as possible, so things like memoirs, documentaries, and shows like Survivor hold a big fascination for me in that I find myself learning a lot about other’s experiences and relationships through it. I also enjoy creating in a few different ways, but one of my favourites knitting. I find it highly meditative and when I find myself stuck creatively knitting helps me work through the flow of ideas or any that I may be stuck on. It’s also helped me calm down and become present, when feeling overwhelmed or stressed.
7. You also use social media to promote your blog, when did you set up your accounts and what impact has this had on your life?
A: The process of using social media has been a gradual one, that I first started using personally, pre-blog and then when first launching Life on the Spectrum, my strategy changed and I found it a great way to connect with my audience, fellow bloggers and get the word out there that I have a blog. I believe that the Life on the Spectrum facebook page was created shortly after the blog went live in the fall of 2017, and as far as the other platforms they followed suit as well, as their name changed uniformity into @aspergirl. Embracing social media as a way to help the blog has been an interesting experience, it’s impact on my life has on the one hand helped me connect with so many wonderful Autistic bloggers and advocates, on the other hand at times it’s a bit of a learning curve in which I’ve learned how to use it strategically and be mindful of what I post and interact on it, but over-all it’s been a good experience.
8. Would you say that you’ve had mostly positive reactions/feedback to your posts?
A: As far as I can tell from the feedback of friends and others I’ve connected with online, my blogs had great positive feedback, even if it doesn’t always show or isn’t always known, most comments I’ve got shown how much my perspective and support is appreciated, over-all within the community and through the blog. It’s also this support that helps me continue to write when feeling discouraged.
9. What do you hope to achieve with your blog?
A: I hope that it becomes a space to help others on the Autistic spectrum know that they are not alone in their experiences, even though they may be different, I’ve had challenges too and for others to understand more what it is like in an accessible way so that someone who may not be familiar with the terminology or experiences can read a blogpost and perhaps in some way relate to it or relate to their own experiences through it, for as the slogans goes it’s about “reflections on everyday experiences with an Autistic twist”, so when planning and scheduling blogposts that’s what I am for and hope comes across in my writing. I also hope it adds to the collective female perspective out there and that we each have unique challenges and experiences. *Aspergirl power unite*
10. Finally, can you describe yourself in three words?
A: The three words I would use to describe myself are creative, insightful and curious, as I’m always interested in learning more about the topics that interest me, and consider myself a lifelong learner.