My German barber, Herr Kutz, has shown real interest in the range of developmental disorders within the autistic spectrum, since my diagnosis. Their level of severity is as variable, too. ‘They are recognisable, though’, he concluded, ‘within definable boundaries unlike the myriad of differences among everyone else outside of the spectrum.’ Wow, he speaks my language.
And so, the conversation moved to how variable is the level of independence shown by individuals within and without the spectrum. ‘A great deal of it is not just one’s ability to be independent but one’s desire to be independent – then there’s the definition of what counts for independence’ He said. A moot point here in Scotland, as the Independence Referendum approaches rapidly. Continue reading
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? Continue reading