Monday, 18 February 2013

There Is Nothing Wrong With You

Every once in a while, I hear an ignorant person say something about autism that makes me, as an autistic, angry.
Every time, I remind myself of this: There is nothing wrong with me.
If you are autistic, I'll remind you, too: There is nothing wrong with you.
If your child or someone else you love is autistic, I'll remind you as well: There is nothing wrong with him/her.

And for any other readers, perhaps you never met anyone on the autism spectrum.  The whole concept of autism might be completely foreign to you.  That's OK.  But if I could share one piece of information with you, it would be this: There is nothing wrong with autistic people.

We have all heard the different ways of classifying autism.  Some professionals consider it a disease.  To others, it's a disability.  And still others say it's a difference.  I am not a neuroscientist and I don't know which of those "D" words is the right one to use - medically or scientifically - or perhaps if autismym is a combination of the three or something entirely different.  All I know is that, being autistic myself, autism is not a negative thing.  Autism should never have a negative connotation.  Autism should not be something that needs to be "cured."
Being autistic is not easy, I'll admit that.  But honestly, I can't imagine that being neurotypical is all that easy either.  Everybody has his or her challenges.  And just as every neurotypical person has different challenges, so are each autistic person's challenges unique.
When I was young, I used to tell people that autism was my superpower.  My excellent memory?  My love of science?  My thirst for knowledge?  My interest in patterns?  My obsession with languages and names?  All those things are traits I wouldn't have without autism.
Sure, autism makes some things harder for me.  I really have difficulty paying attention to things I'm not interested in.  It's always been a struggle for me to make friends and acquaintances.  Stimming in public has always brought negative attention.  Independent living is still something I'm working on gaining the skills for.

But I wouldn't trade in autism to be neurotypical.  I wouldn't want to be.  Autism is such a key component of who I am.

So how can it possibly be a negative thing?

There is NOTHING wrong with autism.