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Yellow-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Woodpecker

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Joined: 21 Aug 2010
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Posts: 63
Location: Oceanside, California

22 May 2015, 10:47 am

Hi, I am a retired senior aspie. I would love to talk about growing up aspie in 1950's and 60's with others.
I know we are out there! Even aspies grow older. Please respond. Thank you!


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Joined: 4 Feb 2014
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Location: Queens, NYC

22 May 2015, 7:47 pm

I'm 54, not a senior

But I remember growing up in the 1960s.

I had no speech until age 5 1/2. There were doctors who wanted to institutionalize me. I was diagnosed with autism. Then, when they thought I had something less "serious," they diagnosed me with "brain-damage/injury."

However, my mother had a more progressive attitude. She "saw something in me." She use cue cards. She found a good therapist.

After I started to speak at 5 1/2, I progressed to "normal" speech within a few months.

All in all, it wasn't great growing up an Aspie in the 1960s.

Even though Hans Asperger wrote about the Syndrome in the 1940, it didn't enter the general lexicon until at least the 1980s. I would go as far as to say it didn't become well-known until 1994, when the DSM IV came out.


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Joined: 24 Aug 2011
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Location: northeast US

22 May 2015, 7:50 pm

i'll soon be 59. feel free to PM me.


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Joined: 15 Dec 2012
Age: 58
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22 May 2015, 9:20 pm

I am 54. While I don't consider myself a senior, I did receive an offer to join the AARP. LOL.

I would be interested in joining a conversation that talks about growing up in the 1960s.


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Joined: 11 Apr 2007
Age: 68
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Location: Vancouver not BC, Washington not DC

26 May 2015, 2:32 pm

You might want to check out the Dino-Aspie Ex-Cafe. I'm sixty-three. There was no way to diagnose me as a child.

Emu Egg
Emu Egg

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Joined: 10 May 2015
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29 May 2015, 7:08 am

When I tried to grow up and learn, no one knew what to do with me, so mostly my uniqueness with ignored, like many I was told not to be myself, I was incorrect mostly, what's wrong with you etc.... I became a good actor, but the mask became to worn and cracks appeared as the me in me, knew I needed the me in me to be alright and slowly little by little I realized and understood it was alright to be neurologically different, it took far too long, but it all makes sense to me now, and at least I know me again, the person I was born as.


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Joined: 8 Jun 2013
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29 May 2015, 7:33 am

I'm not quite senior yet, more just middle aged at 53.

But yep, I was a child in the 1960s and nobody was aware of the full range of the autism spectrum, it seems looking back. As kraftie points out, even though Hans Asperger formed his observations as early as the 1940's, the general public and even the relevant professions were still unaware until well into the 90s -- myself included.

I had a childhood that is still shrouded in a certain degree of mystery for me, because my parents are both deceased now and there are some things I will never be able to "clear up" by asking them.

Basically, I don't even know if perhaps someone outside the family in a position to suggest anything (family doctor, a teacher, etc) did in fact alert my parents to the idea that something about me may need looking into, so to speak.

My parents were big on hiding things, keeping things from people if they thought it would only "upset" anyone or anything. I know that they did this to me a lot - exactly because I was "easily upset" due to what I now know to be my ASD.

So even if someone had told them they were noticing autism traits in me and I should be sent for evaluation, knowing what I know about how my parents were, they would have refused point blank, to "spare me" from the stress, and they would have also kept even this much from me, again to "spare me" the stress of even suspecting I wasn't "normal."

The ironic thing is -- I knew ALL my life I "wasn't normal"! And that stressed me out in itself, because I had no answers! And of course I had no answers because....I wasn't looked into.

Anyway, that's all my own speculation. I do, however, have vivid memories of my life and I do remember showing a lot more autism when young than I even show today. At that time, even professionals wouldn't have picked up on it, especially in a girl.

I feel that if you could send a specialist from today back in time to observe me as a child in the 1960s, they would have picked up on it outright.

But back then, it was still generally thought that "autism" was only of the more severe kind. People didn't see high functioning (but still challenged/impaired) individuals as possibly being on the autism spectrum also. They just called children like me other things instead.

My parents labeled me a number of things ranging from "painfully shy" to "demon child possessed" (because of meltdowns and sensory issues). My family pretty much alienated me and didn't find it easy to love me, particularly my siblings. They couldn't understand my flaws, challenges, why I got so stressed about things that didn't seem a problem to them. I was pretty much completely misunderstood by my own family, and consequently not loved, thought strange and difficult, and ultimately was ostracized.

I am now diagnosed eight months ago and because I've been long estranged from my surviving family, they have no idea. I suspect one person may have -- my sister married a clinical social worker and I have reason to believe he may have raised the autism (then Asperger's) subject concerning me, to others in the family, retrospectively, when it began to be more known.

Speculation again, but even if he did, I have no doubt they would have poo-poohed it. I can't really allow myself to care what they might think now. I'd go crazy with the sense of injustice.

Sometimes I do wish they could know about my diagnosis, because sometimes I feel like it would give me a sense of vindication because it would almost be a slap in their face -- "There ya go, you hated me for things that were genuine struggles for me and not just what you think it was all along (ie "weird, bad kid")."

But then I put that aside because I have to just go on with my life and forget how much they've hurt me. They wouldn't believe it or understand it anyway, so I have to turn my thoughts away from looking back to my family situation. I've had to live my life knowing I'm not the same as most people, feeling bad and flawed about that, trying harder and still failing at a lot of my "self improvements" (though managing with others), and feeling like I have to mimic NTs in order to simply survive. It's been confusing and stressful. Even now that I have an answer, I'm not finding it easy to redesign my place in the world. I'm glad I now KNOW but it does come with a complicated set of feelings and reactions, for me. I wish I had known sooner in life, enough for me to realize I have to put into place different coping strategies for life than most people.

~ ~ ~

If you have a problem with something I post, something I believe, something I do or say, something in my sig, or something I am stupid enough to share that I'm struggling with and being caused pain by -- TELL ME TO MY FACE so that I can defend myself, instead of see you make a mockery of or a dig about it later.

On the other hand, friends will never need an explanation, and enemies bent on disliking me will never accept one.

ASD Level 1, PTSD. Plus anxiety with panic attacks, mild sub-clinical situational depression -- and a massive case of sheer freakin' BURNOUT.

~ ~ ~

Yellow-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Woodpecker

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Joined: 21 Aug 2010
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01 Jun 2015, 7:38 pm

I grew up in 1950's, which was a great time to be a kid. Lots of personal freedom! There were two worlds, the world
of adults, and our kids' world, and never the two did mix. TV was 3 channels, free, went off the air at 10 pm. No
"theme parks", just the county and state fair. Schools were much longer (8:30 to 4:30) and stricter than those today.
One did not act out, period. Talking got your mouth taped shut or a trip to principal and a swat with the paddle. But
we could play whatever we wanted at recess, schools were not fenced, believe it or not, and we sometimes played on
the playground after school or on weekends. There was also much hypocrisy in 50's, bigotry, prejudice, segregation,
and so forth. That was the downside. We would ride our bikes all over, no one knew where you were or what you
were doing, no one hovered or monitored every action. I could roller skate until dark, up and down the streets alone.
I could take my dogs to the woods for hours of solitary rambles. We could play in the barn, in the hayloft, sneak in
to the pasture and ride the horses, etc.

The 60's were a fab time to be young. Great music, great styles, (mini skirts!.) and tons of others our age. We young
were everywhere, it seemed. Transistor radios. Tape decks. Live jazz at the LIghthouse in Redondo Beach. Hitch
hiking up to the Sunset Strip or up to San Francisco on Spring Break. I hitched across the US and Canada in the
summer of '66, selling acid along the way. Terrific fun. No worries about money, too much sun exposure, sex,
etc. Easy time to make friends, all you had to do was smile. The whole world was our oyster, it seemed. One
strived to be real, authentic, to be creative, to explore the world and try other ways (ie, communes) of living. Turn
on, tune in, drop out. Downside in those days? We still had the draft, and Viet Nam was constant. You could not
tune that out. Then of course, the murders, JFK, MLK, Bobby, on and on, the young bright minds. Idealistic
times, that's the truth and the bottom line. I moved to a teepee up in the mts, we wanted a purer life than
malls and suburbs.

Today, I still have fun, wear wild colors and macrame, make a lot of my clothes and so on, give as much as
I can to preserve nature and help animals. Gave up having a car 30 years ago. Life goes on. Still love
jazz and PBS.


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08 Jun 2015, 7:36 am

I'm just now rounding the corner on 50, but I remember well growing up in the 60s.

One of my aunts seems pretty clearly on the spectrum, and my mom had a hard time growing up with her in the 40s and 50s. She was basically her caretaker all throughout childhood, making sure she was safe and taken care of. She's had to defend her many times in job disputes and other domestic issues. My mother is still taking care of my aunt, and she's actually done a great job.

As for me, my saving grace was my grandfather. He was a botany professor who had a love of the outdoors and learning, and he really revelled in my obsession with obscure scientific interests. He got an earful of my studies of mid-Atlantic Native American tribes, cross-cultural comparisons with Great Plains tribes, as well as my every expanding mental catalog of draft horse types.

Nobody else knew what to do with me, but he really enjoyed my uber-nerdishness, and he encouraged me, rather than discouraged.

Everyone else was a different story. I had tremendous difficulties communicating to others -- streams of information about what I was studying, yes. Social interaction, no.

That was easily dealt with, thanks to a full-featured internal world, a whole crowd of "imaginary" friends, and plenty of discussions with myself -- and only myself. I taught myself to converse by talking to myself, working on my pacing and my prosidy. I had to teach myself, because nobody else could figure it out. I was smart in some ways, and completely clueless in others. Most of my self-instruction happened out in the woods, where I spent hours and hours by myself, often climbing trees.

Anyway, thanks for opening this thread. I haven't thought about a lot of this in a number of years.



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Joined: 28 Feb 2015
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Location: Chester Britain

09 Jun 2015, 8:16 pm

58 and just dx'd, I can remember the world before the beatles

Telstar, beehive hairstyles, bubble cars - and everybody stood up in the cinema when the National Anthem was played.