Pretending to be normal so I don’t get sympathy.

Lisaba Holt is Autistic, and the author of a series for high functioning autistic teens called ‘The Autistic Guides to High School’.

1971; Lisaba was born, high functioning autism was unknown. 1992 she married her soul mate and fellow struggler, 1993 the first of their four autistic daughters arrived, and diagnosis of high functioning autism was still in its infancy. Lisaba and her husband are still together, living with their now adult daughters, Lisaba’s mother and as many pets as Lisaba can get into the house.

Lisaba’s father struggled with undiagnosed or at least incorrectly diagnosed mental health issues. Lisaba’s issues were noticed early but so little was known then.

Identified as ‘gifted” but with anxiety and psychosomatic problems from a young age, Lisaba showed tremendous potential but struggled. Lisaba’s mother, an intelligent and compassionate teacher, and wonderful stepfather tirelessly sought answers and support; keeping her safe, an incredible accomplishment for parents with an autistic child in the 1970 and 80’s.

Myriad misdiagnoses already behind her Lisaba started university courses in Psychology, Anthropology, Linguistics, Archaeology, Education and Religion.  Anxiety always won out, leaving her with no formal qualifications. Autistic obsession fuelled relentless study, Lisaba’s obsession moved from Animal Behaviour to Human Behaviour finally landing on Parenting and Autism.

After years of seclusion in 2015 Lisaba was diagnosed with Autism. Armed with this insight Lisaba tried join the world. To support her daughters she joined groups; Parents and Citizens, School Boards, Riding for the Disabled and eventually a Writing group. Opportunities to attend conferences and PD days alongside therapists and teachers added to her academic understanding, both of Autism and also of the systems that were supposed to help.

Lisaba struggled as a member of all these groups, often triggered by her disability. She watched her husband, daughters, friends and others struggle with the same issues, despite tremendous effort on all sides.

2016, Lisaba started a new form of therapy; Neurofeedback. Three sessions later, with no warning, Lisaba could write. The words that had always danced through her head so fast she never had time to write them down, slowed down, just enough for her to trap them on a page.

Lisaba Holt; student and amateur researcher learned the science of Autism. Lisaba; child of a patient and a carer, patient, student, partner, parent, friend and listener, has a multi-faceted perspective. As a member of groups; therapy, carer support, school and community volunteer, Lisaba learned even more.

This neurotypical world has many challenges for any autistic person. Things are getting better but we need to keep moving forward. So, Autistics, that can, need to find their voice, speak up, and keep talking. Lisaba’s own experiences as a high schooler, mum and school volunteer showed her that adolescence was one of the biggest make-or-break times for high functioning autistics, and how little appropriate help was available

In this spirit Lisaba Holt writes; for Neurodiversity, for the future, and to avoid her kids. Four kidults in one house, she needs the break.

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