Here I intend to record my experiences of ‘normal’ from the viewpoint of someone who is most grateful to appreciate the value of recognising individuality. It reminds me a bit of those years of teenage angst – you know when you had to ‘stand out and be different’ by, actually, being the same ‘different’ as everyone else around you. I’ve never figured why anyone followed that logic. But nor, it seems, has anyone else. They carry on doing it.
So, a quick reminder that autism is a developmental disability and not a learning disability or mental illness as many seem to think. Any individual can have any number of combined conditions or disabilities but everyone has potential, strengths and weaknesses whatever their personal parameters, so I advocate coming to know an individual by respecting them as an individual. Once you know them through experience you can then decide whether or not they are deserving of your continued respect.
I worked with ‘learning-disabled’ adults, some autistic but differently from my autism, which came to light much later. What I found I had in common with this clearly labelled group was a sense of clear right and wrong and an acceptance of the self. That seems to be something many claim to seek but fear doing so, secretly.