Jun 8, 2020
For All Abilities – The Podcast - Adult ADHD and Then Diagnosed with Autism with Sarah Worthy
In this episode, I interview Sarah Worthy. We discuss her life as a child with ADHD and then her diagnosis of autism in adulthood. She discusses how has navigated life and work with the diagnoses and her love of running and video games. To connect with Sarah, please follow her on LinkedIn (Sarah Worthy).
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Full Transcript from Otter.ai
Betsy Furler 0:04
Hi, everybody, welcome back to for all abilities the podcast. This podcast is meant to inform the world of the amazing things people with neuro diverse brains are doing for our world. This is Betsy Furler. I'm your host, and I'm so excited to have my friend Sarah worthy with me today.
Sarah Worthy 0:24
Hi, Sarah. How are you? I'm great, Betsy. Thanks for having me here today.
Betsy Furler 0:28
Yes. So Sarah is also a female entrepreneur. She's founded a SaaS software company, and she's going to tell you all about that. But first, Sara, tell us a little bit about yourself. Give us a little intro.
Sarah Worthy 0:45
It's always tough to do an intro for me. I have been had a really exciting career over the past 15 plus years. Most of its been working inside growth stage technology startups across telecommunications hardware software. You know, the internet is has come out. So I've really gotten a chance to see the inner workings of everything that makes you know today's world possible. You know, I guess that's the nutshell of what I am. I'm also a mom, and a runner, avid, and an avid ADHD spectrum person.
Betsy Furler 1:21
So, tell us a little bit about how you What were you like as a little girl,
Sarah Worthy 1:26
I was everything you would typically expect from somebody who is later diagnosed with ADHD. But nobody ever caught it back then. But I was I was also very smart and incredibly smart. I was in gifted and talented programs. From the time I was in fourth grade. And I guess even third grade I was in a small group in that classroom of two other kids. They did all the accelerated math and things like that. You know, I was also really hyper getting outside running around. I was out catching tadpoles in springs. You know, getting dirty and making mud pies was one of the funniest stories I like to tell from my childhood that kind of segues into how I became an entrepreneur. I was always trying to sell things on street corners, not just the lemonade stand like I did the lemonade stand once I was like, oh, but all the other kids are doing that. So I had been I had a toy sale a cop stopped by and said I couldn't sell toys on my curb without a permit so i'd shipped really nice about it. And so then I had an earthworm fish he said, You know cuz I watch cartoons. I don't know. I was like eight maybe at this time. And I thought well, there's there's people go fishing so and we have a bunch of earthworms in our yard. So I dug up a bunch of earthworms and was trying to sell them not one of them sold by the way. I did put them all back because I was grew up in San Antonio, Texas, and there's no place to go fishing and you don't use earthworms for bait I found out that's just in cartoons. But I was always doing little things like that, that I think were kind of interesting. I definitely had a non traditional childhood and now way. I also grew up with a computer, which you know, for most kids is something today, they're starting to have the, you know, you're not that much different from me. You know, growing up, the internet didn't exist, but I had computers, computer games, dial up modem, that kind of thing. So I was always out there getting into things, really curious about things and exploring them. And I offer all my memories of my childhood are kind of mixed because I also had a lot of trauma, that result that was there from my and not being diagnosed as a kid and I was called a tomboy. I was called a difficult child. As I became a teenager, the meltdown started, and I didn't get a lot of support and that end, but I had my running. I had I was really great at sports. I was really great at school, and I took solace in that and just just plugged away. And then I went off to college at 16 at a early, gifted, talented program up at the Texas Academy, math and science and moved out of the house and from there I Guess I just was an adult and college started. And so there I don't know, is that a good initial story of my childhood I get into?
Betsy Furler 4:07
Yeah. So when did you start running? So you so you know what, I'll just keep the listeners in that. And before we started recording, Sarah and I were talking about running because I've been a person who has literally never run and my wife and I decided that I need to start running now. Because I'm walking a lot during this COVID-19 stay at home and I realized as life becomes more normal, I'm probably not going to have enough time so I need to start running. And I really started walking so much because I was getting so restless being in the house and I do not have diagnoseable ADHD but I am a very active person as far as I love to get out and talk to people do things. I'm always multitasking and doing stuff. So anyway, so how old were you when you started running?
Sarah Worthy 4:56
So well as my mom would tell. It is Running before I was walking
Betsy Furler 5:03
you're one of those you just went straight to the running.
Sarah Worthy 5:05
Yeah. And I was doing that by like nine months of age and and I have some pretty early childhood memories. One of them I was maybe four, and they hit so this is what I was like they had to install these special locks on all the doors to the house that were really up high so that I couldn't leave the house I learned very quickly how to get a broomstick and pop them off. And so again, I was like four and and because I wasn't in preschool in preschool yet and so it's right before then, but I decided to take my dog for a walk to the grocery store one day and you know I grew up in San Antonio nice little area. It was maybe a mile from there wasn't a mile mile and a half. It wasn't that far. But But I walked with a dog I went into the store let the dog tied up outside. I got some gum and a binder I got a kite one of this disposable plastic kites and stuff. And I just walked out of the store I put all five pieces of this chewing gum in my mouth at once. Like I remember this clear as day and got the dog and I was walking away and a police officer in the parking lot stopped me. Because here's this little kid. I just did all this effort. I had no concept of any of that none of this was intentional. It was just
Betsy Furler 6:20
go to the store and you get stuff and then you leave.
Sarah Worthy 6:22
Yeah, and luckily I was really cute as a little girl so I could get away with murder practically I never have murdered anybody. But I could have probably gotten away with it how to try. But But he so he pulled me in the car. And it was so funny. Looking back on it now because I was really like was like, I was a little scared and intimidated, but not like super bright. I still didn't think I'd done anything wrong. I had no concept of that. But he said he's like asking me questions. But he said I'm going to give you a lie detector test and I'm going to know if you're lying and I guess he's used to kids like this or something. But looking back, I realized a few years later, a little older. All he was doing was doing this switchboard thing because he had coffee Cars if you've never seen me inside of them even back then they were all gadget ended up as he's just flipping a switch to this light that would turn red or turned off depending on what he thought I was doing. So he obviously does not lie. That's funny. Yeah, of course, I told him all the truth because I, what did I know better? And so he taught took me in my dog band at home and my parents at this point, were frantic. My grandmother and grandfather were raising me and my grandmother had gone to water the Golan or he was on the phone with I don't know what it happened when I slipped out. But these these things happen all the time for me. But besides always leaving the house running around, the energy had to be going somewhere. And I was very lucky. I lived in a neighborhood where you could go out and do these things. Our cross country team ran the neighborhoods after schools together for training. So I'd remember my childhood mostly being outside running around the neighborhoods and like you and I were talking about, I mean, sometimes I walk it's no big deal. Right? Right. I didn't learn to ride a bike until I was 12. And so, which was a little odd in my neighborhood, all my friends, kids had bicycles. And I actually never had one until one of my friends got a new bike for Christmas. And she sold me her old one for, like, $10. And then she taught she taught me how to ride my bike. And so Wow, so I've ridden a bike every now and then, but I never really became that comfortable with it. So you know, there's always trade offs, I guess, if you spend all your life running.
Betsy Furler 8:26
Yeah, yeah. So So you went off to college at a really early age. And what were you like in college? Were you a more academic time of college kid more social kind of college kids? Like what? What was the college experience like for you?
Sarah Worthy 8:42
Oh, so it was a little bit. So when I was with Tam's, it was a little different at first. So the first two years the Texas Academy math and science is a program that takes in high school juniors through their junior and senior year and you get college AP credit, while simultaneously getting high school credit for the same class. So like I would take biology, hp, with, you know, other college students, but I would get high school credit as well. And during that time you lived in the dorms but every once a month you had to go home to your parents and they had curfews and all of that. So I think it would have been probably a little bit more like boarding school might have been I never went to school, but a little bit like that. And it's really funny because I kept in touch and I've seen old yearbook photos. I was never really you know, I look back I've always felt I I consider myself an extrovert and I really like people. But I really, especially as a teenager was not comfortable with myself. I was dealing with an eating disorder at that time. And I had a boyfriend and I had a few friends but it was a small group of people where I felt accepted no matter what I did. And I was very lucky to have that group of people there because there were a lot of moments during my teenage years when I was suicidal. I never, I never attempted it. But I got really close a couple of times and And so, you know it again it goes. I think a lot of it comes back when I look back. I feel very lucky to have come through that, obviously. But it was certain people incidents like getting into tamps really helped when I was back in a regular school, I was bullied all the time by the kids at school. The teachers all adored me. So it was that I got the teacher's pet. But I didn't understand, especially the teacher, I had no clue about all of these things that apparently everybody else knows. And everybody just thought there was that I wasn't trying or that I was intentionally rebellious or something like that. And not I was like, I just never I felt like I went through that period in a fog. When I got off to regular college after I was an additional department was living on my own. I was actually one of those people. I went to my classes, but then I also had a full time job to pay for things. And so school was almost like my part time activity. You know,
Betsy Furler 10:57
like, Yeah, I was
Sarah Worthy 10:58
I was doing 15 days. Our course loads, but I was scheduling my classes, you know, as much as I could just, you know, two days or three days a week. So I wasn't on campus except for those times. And in the rest of time I was at work. And so at that point, I it, it was more, I think, if you were someone going back to school in your 30s or 40s, you probably have found that college experience, I wasn't drinking, I wasn't part of a fraternity. You know, like, I was going to a lot of therapy at that point to get my eating disorder issues resolved. I got married. So all of those kinds of things that are kind of a little bit different. And I don't regret it at all. I look at a lot of the damage that some of my friends have done in college to their bodies, and I'm like I lucked out.
Betsy Furler 11:44
Yeah, when I was in college, I was hanging out with my three or 400 closest friends and my my best friend from college just found her old calendar from college the other day and it's like she was like Betsy, we went to a lot of parties because so On this calendar, she wrote down like, you know, this party on this day and, you know this party on Monday. Well, now we had our sorority meeting on Monday. So, Tuesday, this party Wednesday, that party Thursday, this party, Friday, that party Saturday, another party Sunday study for whatever tests that and I went to a real academic, academically focused college and obviously, I did attend classes too. But, um, yeah, we, we spent a lot of time like I say, with our closest three to 400 friends, and it's so it's so interesting to me when I hear about other people's college experiences. And, you know, it's another way where people are so different and can kind of still, like, get to the same end point through a really, really different experience. Yeah, well,
Sarah Worthy 12:52
it's funny you say that, I mean, the first, the first year and a half or so after Tam's. I was pre med and just work in school was everything I was focused on, I don't think I went to a single party of any kind during that time. And that was also around the time my grandfather passed away. So it was a really hard time. And I really, I don't think I have any friends from that time in school. And then when I changed my major to philosophy, and in fact, part of like, when I took an intro to philosophy class, which was required for my degree, I just fell in love. And I just I was, like I said, I'm changing my major, I got a business major as well, because I knew with a philosophy degree, I'd never get a job. I was like, I will get a job with this. And so I've got to be practical as well. So I got the business degree as well. But the philosophy classes that was probably one of the best parts of my college years was being in those classes, and debating with other people. And philosophical debate is not like a political debate, and a lot of people don't know right, and I wish they did. I really wish they did. Because a lot of times they think that when I'm, I'm talking about an issue and it becomes You know what, I think As a bloodless philosophical debate, they start to feel like oh, it's conflict or something. But in those classes again, I felt like I was with a group of people that they enjoyed talking about really deep subjects. They enjoyed that back and forth. We were there to learn if you made them if you weren't correct, if the other person had a better argument or made a good point, it was actually very validating to me to be in that environment, because it helped me be challenged and to grow my business classes. Meanwhile, like my economics classes, one of my professors put all of this old tests in the library. So I just went and looked at it. I never I went to none of my classes that semester, just for tests. And I got, like, 100 kids in the class, but I ended up he because he had an attendance policy. I was like, I'll take a B because my time right, you're not ever elsewhere. Right? Because it was it wasn't challenging to me, and I really needed to be in so like with Tam's with philosophy. Like I have always had to be in environments like that where they push me to be better all the time, or I just get bored and I give up and I just, I find something else to do. I played a lot of video games in college, I still do. And a lot of people think of that as a frivolous thing. For me, I've really been able to utilize a lot of my experiences, from video games to make better user experiences in my software, which is something I think we sorely need today in business. It's something that's fun to use, not just, you know, a spreadsheet.
It's not a waste of my time, I guess. I don't know.
Betsy Furler 15:28
So back to the philosophy classes and all of that, and then I want to talk about gaming. And so my small private liberal arts college, all of our classes were pretty much like that. So we would have I mean, I had classes with six people. And, and we would, we would discuss all sorts of issues and very controversial issues at times and I took a lot of religion classes and, and I would say, Well, you know, like to some people in the class very well. rageous statements about religion because I, I believe God loves us all. And so and you know, there be like a kid who grew up Southern Baptist too has a different opinion on that and, and but it was so amazing to be able to sit in those classes and for me to listen to their opinion and then to listen to my opinion, and, and not have a feeling at all if I've got to change you, um, but just kind of learning from each other and taking in all of those different worldviews on all sorts of different topics. And I think it's something that, you know, you and I and other people who had that experience in college or earlier in life can now really take to this climate that we're in now and be able to take in information, synthesize that ourselves and make up our own opinion, and you know, come up with our own opinion on what's happening, but also be able to understand that just because somebody doesn't agree with us It's okay. It's, you know, oh yeah, that that happens in the world.
Sarah Worthy 17:04
And you actually went to the same college my mom and my stepdad went to because you went to Stephen F. Austin, right?
Betsy Furler 17:11
No, I went to Austin college and Sherman.
Sarah Worthy 17:13
Yeah, that's one. Sorry. I used to think I didn't go there. My parents did. But But yeah, no, I didn't know that when Way up north of in the North Texas, right. Yeah. Yeah, that's, that's where they went to. I visited their campus once because my mom was taking me up to Tam's, which is in Denton, Texas. And she was like, I want to go visit so we drove up there as part of it. And that was my first trip to Oklahoma. We cross the border at some river lake or something. Yeah, yeah. So I I'm sure that that's partly where I get some of this because I was raised at home. And there was a lot of fighting between my mom and stepdad but my grandparents, not at all. But my mom was very open minded, very liberal, very much willing to sit down and have that kind of discussion with you on something thing is she always called herself a Christian Buddhist kind of, you know, so yeah, I just I just want to throw that in. I think that that's one of the reasons why you and I get each other. So it is exactly what we need today. You're You're very much correct there. I think too much of today's political environment is being right. And in your opinion, rather than understanding reality, and this is why I love philosophy, philosophy is something that allows you to see that there are, there's one reality that we all share and connect to it. And we perceive it differently from one another. And it is in learning about the bigger picture and my my favorite parable in the world is the story of the blind men and the elephant. I don't know if you're familiar with that. You can do blind men and the elephant and there's like a Wikipedia page and all that. But it's this ancient parable and there's slight variations of it. But effectively this elephant is brought to this village in like rural India a long, long time ago. These three wise men, elders who are blind, are brought to see this elephant and experienced the elephant for the first time ever. And one of them's at the trunk. And it's like, oh, it's long and skinny with some moves around. It must be like a snake. And so you hear like, how he's taking the story away. I'm really abbreviating this because we have 30 minutes. One of them's on the leg of the elephant. And he's like, oh, an elephant must be like, a giant tree trunk. And so an elephant must be a tree or something. And then another one is a year and feels how wispy and thinks of it like a fan or something. And, And that, to me, is what we really we need people to be understanding. We're all blind men. And we're trying to discuss one reality that none of us can can see. And that's something that throughout my life has really helped carry my mentality. And it's so important, not just politically but just in my life as an innovator, as somebody who's supposed to go in and meet her in technology. You're not a computer programmer per se. And a lot of my job has been helping get designers and business people and customers and executives and programmers and everything all in a room to agree on something. And I don't think you can do that. If you go in with the idea that you're you're the only way that That's right.
Betsy Furler 20:16
Yeah. And it kind of leads back to the topic of neuro diversity of all of our brains really are different. You know, some of us have brains that fit a little more into the box of norm, but nobody's quote unquote, normal, and by the definition of the norm, and so we all have brains that work differently, and it's so vital to understand that and to honor the different ways people think I mean, I have through this COVID-19 thing, I've had people unfriend me on Facebook, because they don't agree. And I'm not even posting anything political really, I mean, super moderate, but
Sarah Worthy 20:55
you post stuff.
Betsy Furler 20:58
Right? And it's like Okay, like that. That's not about me, them unfriending me isn't about me. It's about how they view the world and that's okay. It's like, that is absolutely fine with me. We all have to see the world in our own way, but I would love it if we could all you know, try to understand the other person's point of view as well, which I think I do think that's what Austin college taught me. And it sounds like then Austin college taught her mom that and then she raised you in that way, which makes me feel good about my parenting as well.
Sarah Worthy 21:35
So it's so important and we need we need more of that we need less black and white in the world because if you look around the world is never been in black and white. Although just I was thinking about this. In the middle of the night I woke up and I was like, I have this thing tomorrow before I fall back asleep. And but and I've seen but black and white. I was like, oh, but except at night. Isn't that weird? And I'm looking around my room in the dark. There's a little light from outside and everything is like great night. Have you ever noticed that?
Betsy Furler 22:01
Oh, yeah. And it's really not not Stark black and white even at night. We have Shades of Grey.
Sarah Worthy 22:08
Yeah, but but the thing is everything is still colored. But at night we don't have enough light to see it. And that's what I was thinking. I was like that that a lot of times and that's really where I think when we talk about neuro diversity, there's there's this thing of like, well, just us you can't see it. Like maybe for you The world is Shades of Grey all the time, in your daily life. Like maybe you don't have all these other things like you know, you're not transgender, for example, you just don't know what that's like. And like, you know, and so that's a that's a dark place that doesn't have light on it in your perception of reality. But somebody else has a light shining brightly on that spot and understands it and can see it in full color. Again, this is just where it goes back to the elephant parable. I just think that that's one of the most amazing things about my brain. And it's why I think it's it's really changed my perception have so I wasn't diagnosed with ADHD until I was 20. On.
Betsy Furler 23:01
Oh yeah, let's talk about your diagnosis. And then don't forget to talk about gaming and how you kind of use that. And to cope with the world. So I've talked about, tell us a little bit about your diagnosis. I'm putting the elephant and the blind man story in the show notes.
Sarah Worthy 23:16
Yeah, you'll, you'll love that parable. It's awesome. It's so applicable. And then you can make segues into let's talk about the elephant in the room. It's so funny anyway. So So yeah, I'm, you know, it's funny. I don't know how I didn't struggle as much with my ADHD in college. But I did. I mean, I changed my major three times. It took me five and a half years to get through college. Thank goodness, I started young. And I took a semester off at one point because I was also dealing with an eating disorder at the time, and I ended up hospitalized for a little while and just totally like regular hospital for a week from dehydration and stuff. But then, wow. But then I needed to take some time off and I think I cut a semester down to like the minimum number of hours. So I'll let you take it. Because I was on financial aid and stuff, and I didn't want to lose it. But But I so it was a struggle to deal with it. But I want to hear other people. It's just the worst. But then I was 29 and pregnant with my son. And it was I had a friend at the time that I knew through work, who also had died. She been formally diagnosed. And this was the first woman I think I've ever met, that I probably had met others, but she this is what he knew and was diagnosed and everything and she was diagnosed ADHD with so much in common. And she just suggested one day she's like, have you thought about this? And so I went home and took some because we had quizzes. So I took a quiz online and it was like, Yeah, you're ADHD you should see a doctor. So I took an and I took it, I went to see a doctor, I got a formal diagnosis at 29. And they said it's actually really common for women who are pregnant to get that diagnosis because something about all the pregnancy hormones and chemicals just makes it where we can no longer cope. It All of the abilities are now gone. And so that's when we can't mask anymore. We can't hide it anymore. And that diagnosis was really crucial. I've been guiding said, I mean, I've been misdiagnosed with so many things starting at 16 I was diagnosed with depression. And I was put on like, back to back at least six different antidepressant medications. None of them worked. Some of them made me sleep a lot. It was just really tear it what made me have these hallucinating dreams when I was falling asleep.
Betsy Furler 25:29
Oh, my goodness. Yeah, it was terrible.
Sarah Worthy 25:32
I mean, they were kind of cool. I've never done acid, but I feel like that that drug was basically like,
so So I mean, they weren't traumatized or anything, but they were not helpful. And then it's an after that, you know, I was diagnosed with social anxiety and in a number of other things. The ADHD diagnosis Finally, I think got me on that path. And suddenly I don't talk about too much What about but I'm trying to because it's really important I do this. But then last question. I was formally diagnosed with autism, or one a few months ago. Uh huh. Or a few years ago, COVID time, but
Betsy Furler 26:09
yeah, really. But
Sarah Worthy 26:11
But and I've actually suspected for because of going through this entrepreneur journey, it's real clear that there's something that I don't perceive this happening around other people. And it's never been more clear than during this time as a founder when you're trying to build a team and fundraise and get early customers. There's if you find out every weakness that you have every bad habit, it's all Yeah, you're going through this so true, right? It's all highlighted. And and he's like, I can read. You know, I have Dale Carnegie's book on my nightstand, How to Win Friends and Influence People. The thing is so worn, I've had that thing for 10 years. Most of it still doesn't make sense to me. And everyone loves to read and I'm like, I don't think I understand. And so I and then I saw a movie with Claire Danes about Temple Grandin. Research and then I started reading about actual Temple Grandin and Temple Grandin has this white paper or whatever you want to call it out there about Visual Thinking. And I started reading I was like, that's my brain right there because I live inside my my head. And I, I hate to say this, but I feel bad for the people who can't you know, there's trade offs, but I don't know how I would live without my imagination. I can I can close my eyes and I can create a universe in my mind, I can manipulate models, I can follow all of these different details and in very clear color and sound. And that's how I function and of course social stuff with between people. I'm still trying to figure out that kind of thing. I look for people like you to be my friends because you guys tolerate my missteps and
Betsy Furler 27:52
we have fascinating conversations about like, how you perceive the world and how I perceive the world and what I contact Just like for you and what eye contact is like for me like it's really good so it's really fascinating.
Sarah Worthy 28:07
It will To me it is because all How can you get through three plus decades of your life? Not knowing this? So yeah dancin imagine like, I thought I was just like everybody else and I thought and perceived and sense everything like normal people. But it turns out I don't you know, I don't even know what that means. So it's I'm still in a very overwhelmed like state like even though it's been something where I felt pretty confident in the past couple of years. even getting the formal diagnosis, it wasn't so much a shock to me, it was more of like, Well, how do I tell people because they're not gonna write. And it's been reassuring. I live in data data, my best friend. And I say that because when you are in a position where you're so different from everyone else around you, you need that that internet and that data to see Oh, I'm not The only person there's not something wrong with me I'm just different and I grew up left handed so that might also help because already I was in that small minority oftentimes as the only left handed person in class I got the one beat I got all through grade school was in handwriting and I still to this day protest that grade because not one was left handed. So not one of them knows how to do a left handed
Betsy Furler 29:23
kid. And you know, that was when I my dad is left handed too so I did have some understanding until the lefties but he was old enough that he was forced to write with his right hand and early on a school and then his mother was like, absolutely not. He's writing with his left hand you know, and but then when I have Sam and he was it was apparent from like 18 months old that he was a lefty, and right away, and then you start realizing like everything is like we need left hand as little kids scissors because even though they say they're for both left and right, they are 12 paper and you Get final
Sarah Worthy 30:01
scissors because they stopped like five of them and there's more than five looking people in the city.
Betsy Furler 30:07
Right and then I'm writing his name all over them because they'll steal them right? Yeah. Do not take the left handed scissors and just all sorts of lefty you know baseball golf tennis like you know then you're using like the coach's left is right handed and oh my goodness. Yeah. So yeah, that is it's so different. Being a lefty is so much different than I perceived as a righty. Until I was parenting one. Yeah,
Sarah Worthy 30:34
and that's exactly I feel like right now, the best analogy when we talk about neurodiversity, is that you have right handed people and that's like 80% of the population. But then you saw that 20% of people that are neuro diverse are left handed or that are ambidextrous and in some way and and I think the world of righties doesn't realize it until they have to because and that's like any minority majority relationship. Till the majority is faced with the problem, like personally, they just don't. They just don't have any idea about what the struggle is. But meanwhile the people are in that minority are like struggling every single day. I mean, can openers for God's sakes like, come on. And she has left handed person, you're more likely to die by using a power tool, then as a right handed person. Oh, wow. Yeah, they're curious because they're not designed for us. But it being left handed i think is one of the things that has helped and kind of for me, I think having about 10 years between ADHD and the autism diagnosis, like like having that gap there to adjust, I think helped a little bit. But honestly, I really wish is like, I look at kids today who are getting especially the girls when a girl like Greta Thornburg, I am in all inspired by her story, because look at what she's done, but she had support and she struggled. I mean, they don't go into too many of the details, but you hear the interviews with the parents talking about Yeah, her childhood isn't that easy? Right, but I just think Wow, amazing. If I've done all of this, and I'm able to do so much right now, just imagine if I'd had that support at a young age instead of the struggles, as battles as being disruptive and all that.
Betsy Furler 32:11
And in the support, I think also the support
Sarah Worthy 32:14
Betsy Furler 32:16
parents who have that, who know their child has that diagnosis, but know that they can still do anything that they want to in their life, but they might take a different path and having to understand and, and support their child in that. I'm sorry, but if Trump can be our president, an autistic kid is certainly capable of doing anything.
Sarah Worthy 32:38
I mean, look at the world we live in today. Like there's so many people out there and one of the Richard Branson's dyslexic, and he's somebody else I'd greatly admire in the entrepreneur community of what he's done. And it's, you know, it's one of those things where I just look at what what people have done already. There's there's always other knowing that but there's this this cognitive dissonance that people have about Go. Einstein was probably autistic and blah all these you know, Newton or what have all these other people who are geniuses are supposedly like that. But then they're these parents are like, but my kid, he doesn't talk until you seven. He's never gonna make it. I mean, like that's like the most weird thing. Right? Right? I got C's and D's and F's, right until right?
Betsy Furler 33:21
I just went, you don't do well with academic school, and really has no impact. Like, it really doesn't matter. And I have said this on the podcast in the past. So this is a bit of a repeat for my listeners. But I've especially as an entrepreneur, I have had to undo things that I learned that made me a really good student. Yeah. Because a lot of what made me a really good student and just a really easy child to raise. And, you know, I don't mean good students, and with the academic part as much as just, you know, following the rules and responsible and doing what's expected. have me a lot of that. I've had to change my narrative about that in order to be a good entrepreneur. Because once you become an entrepreneur, and like you were saying, first of all, you find out all your faults, because we're none of us are good at everything and, and it suddenly becomes very glaring that, you know, you have, you don't do well in this one area. And but you also have to be able to really stand up for yourself in a way that you've never had to before. I've never had to before and, and really go against the grain of what a lot of people are expecting of you.
Sarah Worthy 34:36
Yeah. And to your point, I think that's exactly why we see I don't I don't think people who are on the spectrum or who are dyslexic or any of the nerd, I don't think we're better entrepreneurs. Compared to other people, I think there's more of us who become entrepreneurs because like you said, We grew up having to go against the grain by just existing like, right There, there was no fitting into the level that that someone who isn't on the spectrum could do. And so it just comes more naturally. I don't want to say now it comes. We're more used to having to do that to get home. So we just do it. And I know a lot of times I've just been very bold and people call me aggressive. I hate that, by the way, because when I'm aggressive, you'll know it, I'll become a weapon and teeth will be there. I mean, like, I say, like, there's a big difference between aggressive and being bold and assertive. Huge difference. So is it but but it hurts when I get called those things, because it's coming from a place where I think, you know, it's those social things. I don't know what to do with them. And it's great. And the best thing about my diagnosis has been knowing that knowing that I don't know that and I have to step more carefully. Yeah, sometimes you walk into, you know, the bull in the china shop thing that's, that would describe you as a child. Perfectly Yeah,
Betsy Furler 36:00
yeah. Well let's you know, so we're getting close on time. Yeah, I'm being going too long but I want you to talk really briefly about video games because so many kids who are on the spectrum love video games and I think they get so much out of it and it's such a positive thing but it's frequently thought of is so negative. So I would love for you to just touch briefly on video games and then tell my audience how they can find you if they want to connect with you.
Sarah Worthy 36:29
Yeah, yeah, so I mean my entire life I've played video games starting to the ones where you're just typing to a terminal go north go west anyone listening who's played this understands these type of games, the rest you know, you can look this up it's, they're long gone. But you know, they're classics. But Nintendo's have been my favorite The Legend of Zelda. I tell this story to everybody. So I'm sure you've heard it too. But like playing the game Zelda growing up and even though I am playing Breath of the Wild right now and I just cannot emit like video games with So far, but the game is Zelda, you know, it's so it's so much easier because in the real world, if you're someone on the spectrum, there's all of these invisible things that you don't know, between people. But in video games, that component has been removed, you know, and so you could go and you you get you talk to a villager and they say, Well, I can't help you save the princess. But I can give you some rubies to help you by a sword. If you find my cow that got lost, you go find the cow and then you talk to another villager and they do something else, you get a sword. And it's this step by step process. And that's exactly what entrepreneurship is like, you have no idea you're suddenly waking up in this world of I'm an entrepreneur on with with nothing and you have to like go talk to people to find out. So I think that it helps when when you are confused about what to do it at least tells you here's just do these things and trust the process, kind of like go talk to people even if you don't know what to say or do. So I think that that helps. But another component of video games I think a lot of people miss is that you know, when you're autistic, you need structure to a level that other people don't because the world is amazingly bright and loud. And it's like being at a rave 24 seven. And that's not exactly an app that's more I'm trying to think of like maybe being in a horse race stadium wall array this going on and there's a football game on or something Oh, just a dog. It just, there's so much and so having that structure, like the quest log, going in order, it really helps you figure out how to move through things. It gives me a sense of count like some days like I'm like, Well, if you know I do all of this maddening things, but then I spend two hours playing this game and I could relax because I I now no longer have to sort out all of these unknowns that I'm going to get wrong. Because being on the spectrum is about making you know way more mistakes every day. Then you ever understood you even made because nobody wants to tell you Everyone wants to Be nice, stop being nice to people on the spectrum Be kind, do not be nice. We hate it. I'm in a group right now write about this all the time. Like, why do they ask us how things are going if they don't really want
Betsy Furler 39:11
to know the answer?
Sarah Worthy 39:14
Right? Like don't ask us those questions.
And so video games provide that kind of thing. But what I love about them in terms of work, since we're wrapping up to is is the way I've seen them progress and you can go in and play these games and explore world. It provides an experience where it's catering to you and what you what you need to do to get to the next step. And we don't do that in today's world, we leave everything completely ambiguous. And I think there are a ton of people who are, you know, quote, neurotypical who could really benefit from a life not not this like completely structured but when you go to work every day, expectations are very unclear and videos. You hear this all the time when we talk about employee engagement managers don't really know what they want. They just want Money and success and so forth. But they don't really know how to lay this out. And when you when you play a lot of games, you start to understand then how to build those mechanics and build game that I haven't made any famous games or anything but of course in my computer classes, I've developed small games and I've thought about how I would do it differently. And it really gives you a perspective on where the world could be much better for everyone if we brought more of those elements in and people are thinking about video games as some sort of negative but you know, they used to when books first came out way long before any of us were alive. They thought books were dangerous, okay, and they frivolous and all of that when television or radio came out people think that and the same person who will spend all day on Sunday just watching football is gonna then in most people watch football also play video games. I'm sure this isn't exactly true, but but you know that the parents are thinking this is going to ruin my kid but it's not that I think some of the gains Like Grand Theft Auto that kind of thing. I think you know, certainly those are for adults. I just and honestly I'm of the mindset that you're you what you feed into your brain just like your body like if you eat junk if you watch junk if you play garbage violent games, then that's that's what's gonna come out of you right? Right and that's that's what you become so it's for me it's more of just I like this was all this one my favorite more I like that. I've always been a Nintendo fan. I'm not plugging Nintendo but I am in right now. I just add to this animal crossing, I just started playing that this last week with my son, and they have something I think everyone on the spectrum should will enjoy this especially the kids because they have these emotion things that you can do with your village neighbors. And so you can express a greeting or delight or laughter or so forth. And so it's it's a I feel like I'm like this game is teaching social skills between people without even like making it an obvious thing. I do get to The villagers all had personalities. And he talked to them too much. They get annoyed things like that. So it's almost like, like, perfect for people like me.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai