A day not unlike yesterday really.
But with the growing number of cases of ASD (even if just in my own friend circle alone) and the equally large number of “cures” and theories about diet, vaccinations and environment – and of course the accusations by others of BS diagnoses (and very likely the large number of BS diagnoses) – well I think this day is well worth mentioning.
Bean is a girl Aspie. In her case (from the view of general society) she has the upper hand of seeming “not autistic”. To the world – those who do not understand ASD – she very often and most probably appears quirky or disengaged, at the most, but not much more than that.
Every day I see that she learns through her echolalia and mimicry how to be more like a “typical kid”, a “typical girl”. Her fashion choices have changed, not to the standards of her peers necessarily, but certainly it has evolved from only fuzzy pants and leggings to mostly fuzzy pants and leggings and even sometimes – jeans! – seriously. And, it’s true, she has adapted, and continues to do so. She is playing around with sarcasm and fibs. She is working on the right time to roll her eyes in annoyance at her brothers. Partially it’s really cool to watch her observe, take in and learn about her surroundings. Partially I miss the little girl who didn’t have any interest in doing any of that.
Of course I understand why, as a human, she must adapt to her best capability. We all must at some point, in some way or another. And I understand that she may not even be consciously choosing to adapt, it may truly be an organic change. One brought on simply by her subconscious understanding that in order to get further in life, one must fit in. My hope is that she doesn’t change too much. That she stays as quirky and as awesomely neat as she is for as long as possible while still finding a way to be happy within this world lead by “general society”.
In a world where World Autism Day is still something people look at as a day to acknowledge and be aware of the pain and work that comes with autism (Autism Speaks…ahem) instead of just a day to remember that differences are important and that autism is a way of being that the world should work better to understand not to condem. A day to think of the famous people with Autism that changed the World in their own ways and a day to think to the people on the spectrum who have never and may never do anything that would be considered spectacular – but that are no less important or awesome. And certainly a day to learn from our children, partners, parents, friends and neighbours with ASD that Autism is interesting and gives light to new ways of thinking and seeing the world. That taking the stigma out of ASD is creating a place where autism is just another way to open a door to acceptance.
So, this World Autism Day I remind myself that we should not be normalizing ASD for society, we should be normalizing ASD within society.