Autism is overdue to add its own part to the diversity conversation, because the kind of portrayals that it currently gets in the media and our society at large are well-and-truly in need of an overhaul. The world is ripe for achieving a whole new level of acceptance of diversity, in all its many forms and those with autism need to take a seat at that table.
What many people don’t realise is that, to someone born with autism, this is their version of normal and to come to identify and accept your own inherent traits is to “come home”, whatever that may look like to an outside observer. Its as though all the deep enthusiasm you’ve been feigning about your successes pretending to be neurotypical all your life, which by now many of us have got very good at doing (if we haven’t already burned out from the gigantean effort), is finally reclaimed and then unleashed as all this genuine enthusiasm for realising THIS is how you really are. It finally feels authentic and well-fitting, like slipping on a suit of clothing that is tailored to you when all the other ones had been slightly over-tight, twisted, scratchy and, in so many ways, deeply ill-fitting and uncomfortable.
Like a penny dropping, those last moments that I spent with my mother and the stuck state in my health suddenly clicked together in my mind. Realising the importance of touch in all of our lives, even (perhaps especially) those on the autism spectrum...
The propensity to teach ourselves new skills and prefer to do things our own way from the outset is, I suspect, a trait of high-functioning autism. It makes us into mavericks, it sometimes increases what looks like our failure or non-completion rate and it frustrates the hell out of partners when we prefer to construct things "out of the box" without first consulting the instruction leaflet. However, it also makes us movers and shakers when it comes to making paradigm leaps...a much needed skillset at this point in time.