My autism is different from someone else's autism. While autism means that there are certain constant autistic traits, they will manifest differently from one person to the next as every autistic person has unique personalities, abilities, and thinking patterns. This post is about autism as per myself, Margo.
Autistic brains have an over-connectivity of its wiring. Ideas and concepts that aren't related have a connecting circuit. As a kid, I struggled with spontaneous conversational skills. I knew words, I knew many of them but they were all scattered in my mind like a game of scrabble before you've organized the letters. As I grew older, I learned to piece words together in a way that seemed quasi-natural. For a long time, my social skills were a set of rehearsed phrases and responses that I had stored in a mental database. It got tricky because something that worked in a certain social setting didn't work in another. I started to classify my constructed social gears in mental folders such as "teachers, students, friends, family, coworkers, etc" until the gears were turning smoothly.
As a child, I struggled staying put because my mind was always racing and my body wanted to follow. I feel like a computer's entire software that was stuffed into an iPhone. There's so much of me, that I don't know what to do with myself. I want to experience everything and every life at the same time as if one single body won't satisfy my soul.
"What's it like to be a girl on the spectrum? That's a question I get a lot, and although it's taken me awhile to come up with a decent answer - I think this may finally be it: too much. We feel too much. React too much. Say too much. Need too much. So says the world. Except the world is wrong."
- Jennifer O'Toole
As a result of being "too much", many spectrum women start to unmuch themselves to fit in.
"'You're not the same as you were before,' he said. You were much more... muchier... you've lost your muchness."
- Lewis Carroll
While I agree that there are things that come naturally to neurotypicals must be taught to autistics, I don't accept the current "autism therapy model" with having the ultimate goal to make us normal (and even worse, eliminate us through eugenics). It's an insult to our intelligence and individuality. There are many problems with "normalizing" autistic children. First of all, you can't normalize them. While you can be fooled into thinking that someone "overcame" their autism, their minds and hearts are forever autistic. Teaching kids to act and speak a certain way is like teaching a dog a trick. The kid will go through the motions they're being taught, without understanding the reasoning behind it. This method is dangerous because absolute compliance will result in children doing what they're told, even when it's wrong. There needs to be a balance between teaching autistic kids to adapt to the world, and being themselves.
"The focus should be teaching people with autism to adapt to the social world around them, while retaining the essence of who they are, including their autism."
- Temple Grandin
I'm mad, and I'll go mad if I keep pretending that I'm not. People always say "I love the person, but hate their autism". Well, I love people, but I hate their ignorance. I'm not asking for change, I'm making it happen. The bad news is, many people won't start caring about autism until it happens to their loved ones. The good news is, autistics of the next generation will have better support. Autistics have to adapt to the world. It's time that the world starts adapting to us. Adapting to autism: his autism, her autism, their autism, my autism.