Tuesday, 23 July 2013

My Brain Works Differently

I have started working as a 1:1 respite worker for a child with Autism, among other diagnoses.
I spent a significant portion of my youth around Autistics.  I grew up around autism.  I know autism.  I am Autistic.
When my boyfriend and I get in arguments over little misunderstandings -- such as his use of metaphorical language that confuses me as to its meaning -- I remind him that my brain works differently than his brain.  I tell him "I can't possibly understand how your brain works and you can't possibly understand how my brain works."  I remind him that I think differently than him.
This little boy I work with now, his brain works differently than mine.  Our brains work similarly, of course, but our life experiences are completely unique of one another.  He is a great kid and he is a lot of fun to spend time with, but his brain is unlike mine.  Or, rather, sometimes our brains are completely in sync and other times, you couldn't possibly believe we are both diagnosed under the Autism umbrella.
That's the thing that's so impressive to me: the word "autism" describes such an incredibly broad spectrum of individuals.  And while I am so similar to so many Autistics, I am now seeing -- every day -- how different I am from other Autistics.  I am so incredibly aware, right now, that not only are neurotypical brains different from Autistic brains, but all Autistic brains are also unique.  No Autistic think exactly like another.  No two Autistics have the same brain.
My brain works differently, I'm aware of that.  My brain works differently than my neurotypical boyfriend's brain.  But my brain also works differently than other Autistics' brains.
We are all unique.