I’m Alison, the author of this blog. I’m an autistic, (biracial) African American woman from South Dakota. I was adopted when three days old by a Caucasian family that already had one child through adoption, and seven from previous marriages. A year later, my family included another African American infant girl, bringing the sibling total to 10. In addition to this, my parents provided foster care to over 100 children during the span of my childhood. Most of the foster siblings were severely developmentally disabled. Many were from indigenous reservations in South Dakota.
Having a large family helped me develop social skills that seemed convincing at first. However, a lot of holes quickly became apparent when I began service in the US Army at 17. All the quirks and behaviors overlooked by my family led eventually to the evaluation and the diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome. (This is a form of autism sometimes referred to as high-functioning autism.)
After spending a decade serving on active duty in the military, I got out and continued pursuing my education, eventually earning my Ph.D. in Software Engineering. I married a fellow soldier when 19, but after 25 years we divorced. I’ve since become committed life partners with M. (We decided not to involve the government in our relationship.)
I have a lovely 7-year-old tuxedo cat named Amelia Bedelia, and a 3-year-old dog (mid-sized mutt) named Tallulah. My primary focus has been AI development since I was a pre-teen. I also spend lots of time playing drums, guitar, bass, and synthesizers. I’ve been a violinist since I was four.
I use this blog to connect with others and think out loud. I write to help myself with intense emotions, over-excitement, and to have a voice, in case others can relate. I see my life as a journey full of learning, relationships, experiences, and contemplation. I collect moments of joy and replay them in my mind often. I think it’s why I’m happy more often than not.
Autism is as much a part of me as my skin. When diagnosed at 18, I went through stages of denial (and irritation.) I didn’t understand how finding out as an adult could be beneficial. (It may have been helpful information back when I was the isolated weird kid who dreamed of having a best friend.) Over time, I’ve discovered it’s better to comprehend why my brain operates differently than is considered normal. Now, I focus on creating strategies to overcome challenges and limitations.
I’m most fascinated by people. (I’m rooting for the singularity to occur just so I have time to get to know as many as possible.) I hope in reading my words, we’re able to connect on some level. (Writing is my most natural means of communicating.) Please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts at the bottom of any post. Comments will show up only after I’ve had a chance to approve them, (spam makes it necessary.) Thanks for reading. 💜