Hi. Thanks so much for writing and asking for help. That’s the first important step in making change. Bear in mind, please, that I can’t make a diagnosis on the basis of a letter. But what you are describing is consistent with the experiences of a person with Aspergers Syndrome. People with Aspergers are socially awkward, have trouble making eye contact and tend to be concerned with a narrow range of interests. Often they find the stimulation of large groups of people or a noisy environment overwhelming. Intelligence ranges from very, very smart to intellectually disabled. Since you’ve made it to senior year in spite of your issues, I suspect you are on the very, very smart end of the continuum.
If I’m right, the most important thing I want you to know is that being an Aspie (an affectionate term for people with the syndrome) isn’t the end of the world. Many of my best friends and some of my family members are Aspies. I think they would all tell you that there are some challenges they’ve had to work hard to overcome but their ability to focus on what they really love makes it worth it to them. By the way: Many tell me they have spent hours in front of a mirror teaching themselves how to make appropriate facial expressions.
I suggest you ask your parents to get you an evaluation. Criticism and correction aren’t going to help you. Working with a therapist who has experience with Aspergers will. You can learn how to interact more acceptably and, more important, more comfortably with others.
Meanwhile, you also need some serious coaching if you want to go to art school. It takes more than self-confidence. Most schools require a portfolio. I suggest you see the art teacher at your school for help with that. Then see your guidance counselor to figure out which schools might have a scholarship program you qualify for.
Thank you for your courteous letter. I can sense that you are a warm and interesting person. You just need some help to let others see it.
I wish you well.