People with Autism Spectrum Disorder see and understand the world differently. The truth is that we run on a different operating system.Our system can work pretty well with most of the OS out there, and integrate pretty well with the world, but like Linux, Mac, and Windows, the integration is far from seamless.
It’s time that I stop referring to these differences as problems, implying that all can be solved and resolved. It will have to be ok as it is.
The puzzle piece, as the symbol for autism awareness, is neither good nor bad.It is, however not accurate. It seems so much is in code, a code that I do not have the key for. Every day, people with ASD run into situations that are hard for us to understand. It is often very hard to comprehend and interpret what we see and hear. Most of us are very fearful of making other people mad with our responses, or more accurately our lack of compliance. It’s the “different operating system” thing. We often have a hard time understanding what is expected of us. Communication problems are common enough to be daunting.
For example, I used to think that everything regarding the “sketch artist” whether on tv or reported on the news was an elaborate lie, because I knew full well that without many encounters, context of those encounters, voice familiarity and a whole string of necessary repetitions it would be impossible to recognize people , having only seen them once, let alone describe them for the sketch artist. It was only after I understood that Aspies are different that I could sort of accept that other people can do these things, like recognize people they have only met once.
I am so lucky that I have the ability to embrace interpersonal relationships, make friends and to be empathetic. This is far more common in women Aspies than in men, however Dan Ackroid, one of our better known male Aspies, seems to do well. BBC’s Sherlock has Aspergers syndrome. Monk as played by Tony Shaloub is obviously an Aspie, as is the annoying Sheldon Cooper on Big Bang Theory. It is no longer the mysterious/closet disorder that it once was.
Women Aspies fare better than men with ASD, most likely because we are better mimics. We seem to have a better ability to watch and learn how to be. I especially value this ability, because i sincerely believe that THE TRIBE will gleefully kill and eat the ones who are different. I don’t know if this belief is from ‘the collective unconscious’ or just a belief deeply rooted in my own soul, but to me it is a truth.
Modern medicine is a godsend. The anti anxiety medications make it much easier to function in this bright, loud world where it seems that the stranger coming at me with the shopping cart in the Kroger, will at a minimum, maim me. It takes about 15 minutes before i hate all these loud strangers with their noisy kids and murderous shopping carts. The bright lights, the CH-CH-CH-AHHH from the air compressors, the buzzing fluorescent lights, the tick-tick- buzz-ding of the cash register and the whoosh of the entry doors accompanying the squeaky-metallic sounds of the shopping cart wheels remind me that normal is not coming anytime soon.