I’m Not Broken: What this Washington reporter with autism wants you to understand.
Not a year out of college and less than two months into my job at National Journal, I did something that I almost immediately regretted. It was a Wednesday morning in April, and members of the Senate Finance Committee were filing out of a room in the Dirksen Senate Office Building to go vote; I was sitting at the press table in the room. As the committee’s chairman, Sen. Orrin Hatch, was preparing to exit, I leapt up and yelled a question at him.
Quickly, the officer next to me warned that if I did that again, I could be arrested for disrupting a hearing. I cringed and apologized profusely to the officer. I don’t remember the specifics of what Hatch said in response to my question; by that point, everything was clouded by my sense of humiliation.
On the surface, it was a simple misunderstanding—a young reporter making a rookie mistake. But what the officer almost certainly didn’t know is that I am on the autism spectrum.