Welcome to Club 299. It’s an exclusive club. As of this writing, no one knows exactly what causes a person to be accepted into the club, but it’s a club one is born into.
What is Club 299? It’s a remark made by Dr. Stephen Mark Shore, the only autistic college professor of special education, specializing in autism. Dr. Shore welcomed me to the club while we were talking earlier in the week after he found out I’m on the spectrum.
But J.R. That still doesn’t answer the question. WHAT is Club 299?
299 is the code that the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) uses for Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD. The DSM is the book people in the mental health field use for insurance coding and other such things.
Thus, being in Club 299 means you’re on the spectrum.
Once again, if you’re on the spectrum, welcome to Club 299.
The DSM 5 was published in May 2013 and at that point lumped everyone on the spectrum into one category, officially getting rid of Asperger’s Syndrome, though every practitioner I’ve ever encountered since 2013 still uses Asperger’s as a diagnosis.
You may think it’s a boring club but were actually a pretty quirky group. We’re very musical and very creative, so our meetings always have a bit of pizzazz to them.
We always win at paintball because people on the spectrum are known for being both logical and out of the box thinkers. Who doesn’t want a bunch of logical, out of the box thinkers planning the attack on the enemy flag?
Contrary to popular opinion, Club 299 IS where the cool kids hang out. Others may not realize how chill we are, but there’s no reason we can’t all consider ourselves one of the fun group.
I’m still trying to come up with a hand signal that we can throw at each other as we pass on the streets so we can represent. I’ll let you know when I figure that out. To be clear, hand signal is NOT the same as a gang sign. We’re a club, not a gang.
Please, DO NOT go asking your caseworker if they know of any Club 299 meetings in your area because Club 299 is more of an idea than an actual physical club.
It’s a sense of belonging for those of us who were born autistic. It’s a group of people we know understands us and who we’re pretty likely to understand. How cool would that be if you could live your life knowing you’re a part of something like this? Again, if you’re on the spectrum you already are. You’re already in the club.