Discovering Autism as an Adult – my personal story

by Timothy Imholt PhD

This week I will be short and to the point.

There are times when things come out of the blue and make you question everything you think you know about yourself. It sometimes takes a while to realize that you aren’t different, just your understanding of who you are has changed.

About two years ago we were having one of our kids tested for something (he is fine no worries). Around that same time I was talking with my mother who told me I was diagnosed with something when I was his age.

That something is autism. I am in my early 40s now and I never knew…no one ever told me. I didn’t believe it.  Who would?

So I went in and was screened. I was diagnosed as certainly on the Autism Spectrum. For those familiar with the spectrum I am either high end of Asperger’s or low end of HFA (High Functioning Autism). There is some question amongst experts if Asperger’s and HFA are different but let’s leave that discussion for another day.

Why put this on social media or mention it to anyone?

People who have kids with autism or who may have it themselves may think that persons with these diagnosis can’t do certain things. I am here to tell you that isn’t true. They are different than other people.  They may deal with people in ways you wouldn’t normally, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t capable.

I personally feel I have accomplished a great deal despite not knowing this about myself. I have a PhD in Physics, I have authored technical journals, and published books.  I am an Army veteran, father, and an entrepreneur.  I worked as an engineer and have been a co-inventor on 19 U.S. Patents (mostly in nanotechnology). If you think autistic people have nothing to offer you would be wrong. I may view the world differently than most people but perhaps that isn’t a bad thing.

Now that I know this about myself I can also work towards that other important part of life… the social side. As you go further in your career, how you deal with people is equally as important as anything else. That is the stage I am at and one huge reason I have been working on this diagnosis and ultimately improving how I cope with it. Once I can master that side, I will accomplish even more.

I appreciate everyone reading my post of the evening, and I assure you, this is not the last you will hear of Timothy James Imholt PhD, author, father, and concerned scientist.