Most stories about people begin with them being born. For me the being born part is kind of boring.
All you need to know is that I had low muscle tone as a baby, as well as poor eyesight. Those are the reasons why I received Early Intervention services: because I “combat crawled” and didn’t walk without holding on to something until I was about three. I eventually did learn to crawl normally, along with learning to jump and hop. As for my vision, I had cataract surgery on both eyes when I was four. I’m still very flexible with my legs and now wear glasses.
My story really didn’t start until I was seven.
That was when I went to my friend Stacy’s birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. I was so excited. I had been seeing the commercials for Chuck E’s on TV for months and it looked like so much fun. Arcade games. Skee Ball. And of course pizza. What could be better?
The party started out well. But I soon became overwhelmed. There were three other birthday parties going on at the same time. And the animatronics were SO LOUD! Not to mention creepy-looking. With all the noise and over-stimulation going on, I completely lost it when the place erupted in a major sing-along of “Happy Birthday”.
My parents tried to console me but it was no use. I was trembling and crying at the same time. I know Stacy didn’t understand. My parents didn’t understand. I didn’t even understand. All I knew was that I wanted to get out of Chuck E. Cheese as soon as possible, never go back and never, ever wanted to hear or sing “Happy Birthday” again. Ever.
I think that was when my parents began suspecting I had Asperger’s.
Or maybe they suspected long before Chuck E. Cheese.