From my newly occupied pigeon-hole of oblivion, I’ve observed myself and those around me, coming to terms with my late diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome – just as the American method of diagnosis ‘does away’ with the term, so we’re all classified as simply autistic. So, the experts, in full knowledge of the effects of change and the search for an identity in this confusing world we face, have changed it, and the way we relate to ourselves.
It’s hardly surprising there is such widespread fear of change (and not just among those on ‘the spectrum’ – like little echoes of nature in a rainbow) when people like me find themselves under a waterboard of new life-changing information and understanding about everything now, before and yet to come. Suddenly, I’m learning about all the things I can’t do, when I’ve always heard that there is no such word as can’t, ironically undermining its own declaration by using the word that apparently doesn’t exist. Can I not just be allowed to do things to the best of my ability (the way I always have)? Can I not just be accepted as being able to do some things better than other things; some really well and some really poorly? Isn’t that what we all do anyway, regardless of ability, disability or diagnosis?
So, in this age of equal opportunities, perhaps it would be easier all round to do nothing more than to show due respect for a person as an individual as opposed to judge a way of looking, a way of speaking or a way of living? There is always so much more to any person than can be seen on the surface – which is most often a huge red herring. We all judge, it’s instinctive. The trick, though, is to catch ourselves doing it and to reconsider our judgement:
- Am I being fair?
- Am I falling foul of prejudice?
- Am I wrong?
- Am I just going to stand by and watch what’s happening and pretend everything’s fine?
- Am I even going to say that it’s fine in a self-deceptively high-pitched and squeaky voice?
That’s a lot to ask to happen in a snatched moment but with the expense of so much effort and energy from interested parties promoting various rights, couldn’t we all seek to respect and speak out for the rights of the individual? To begin doing this will not be easy but will highlight the trap of ‘just going along with it’ whatever ‘it’ is. Look where it’s getting us with our knowledge and capacity to have such rich lives squandered on going with the flow, which must surely be flowing in the wrong direction. For evidence, just switch on the news. You can get the latest any time, day or night, so it will have to have been made interesting or we’ll just become desensitised to the horror of the world we have made. Imagine that.
So, if an autistic person you know goes all ‘Al Gore’ on you with an inconvenient truth, then I urge you to pause and judge, judge judge. Judge yourself, your worth, your value your strength, your contribution to this world of ours. Are you making it better or going along with the flow? What are you guilty of? What can you be proud of – truly proud of without provisos or justifications?
If you’re part of keeping up the pretence, consider how you might better use all that energy wasted on double-speak. Make it real. Be real. I saw a product advertised, recently, as being ‘made with real ingredients’ Imagine that? It sounds delightful. If only we could replicate that as Humans.