By Brigitte Shipman
In this week's insightful episode, I interview Dr. Natalie Engelbrecht about her experience of being diagnosed with autism at 48 and her perspective of living with autism.
Dr. Natalie is a late-diagnosed, registered psychotherapist practicing for over twenty-five years to help individuals with autism reach their potential.
She is also a founder and blogger at Embrace ASD which offers evidence-based articles on a variety of autism topics including the latest autism research, and resources to help individuals with autism.
She shares her experience of being diagnosed with autism at age 48 in 2017 and how her first reaction was joy because it gave her the much-needed understanding of who she was.
She tells how prior to being diagnosed, she felt a lot of shame and felt like she was always wrong and apologizing for who she was. It was difficult for her to maintain friendships and being in groups and she felt broken before the diagnosis. “I didn’t see myself as different. I saw myself as wrong,” Dr. Natalie says.
Once she understood that she had autism, everything started to change and things other people found peculiar in the past made sense to her.
She shares the beautiful and profound manifesto (which you can find on her website Embrace ASD) she wrote a few days after her diagnosis, in which she says she can choose to see herself as having superpowers and that she chooses to embrace ASD.
She also offers new insight into the empathic capacity of autistic people and talks about the double empathy problem to help us bridge the gap in communication between neurotypical individuals and autistic individuals.
In addition, she explains 3 reasons symptoms are different in girls and women.
Finally, she gives advice on how to best support our loved ones with autism and encourages us to always approach with curiosity.
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