An Autistic Perspective?

Curious…very, very curious?

I’m a little puzzled, well baffled really.  Actually no, I’m dismayed!  What NOW, you’re all thinking!  I’ll get to that, but first, I would like to say that I believe that people should stick together and support one another whatever the circumstances.  We all need to know we’re not alone in life.

So, what am I referring to?  Well, my first book was published a few weeks ago and as a result I’ve been flying around everywhere publicising it through TV, radio, magazine articles etc….  Life has been little mad to say the least!

You lot smile too much!!!!!

Alongside all of the publicity, inevitably, there have been a lot of comments on my story.  Mostly the comments have been very positive and supportive, but again, inevitably, there have been some not so nice ones and some that have been downright nasty.  It’s OK, I have a thick skin and I went into this whole thing with my eyes wide open so nothing fazes me.

A lot of the more negative comments I understand entirely, without reading the book there is no way people can possibly begin to comprehend the psychology behind it all.  In fairness, even reading the book isn’t guaranteed to give some people the explanation they’re looking for!

Anyway, there was one particular comment yesterday which did perplex me, not for myself but on behalf of every person on the spectrum everywhere.  I was interviewed by the BBC World Service Outlook programme which was aired yesterday.  Obviously this goes out all over the world so the comments came from far and wide which was lovely, especially to hear some of the harrowing stories from people in such places as Uganda talk about the way people with Special Needs are treated there.  We don’t know just how fortunate we are.

Amidst all of the other writings there was one commenting on the photograph that accompanied the interview.  The person writing was questioning the children’s diagnosis on the spectrum due to ‘their lovely smiles’?!  Now I know that one of the things that frustrates everyone the most is the remark we all get….’Oh, they don’t look autistic?’.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again….what does autism look like?  It’s a neurological condition and as such has no ‘look’  So I’m banging on about it again but with a slight difference this time and back to my previous comments about sticking together.  This post was written by someone on the spectrum!!

His claim was that he rarely manages to smile the way my children are smiling in the picture as if that were proof that they cannot possibly be autistic.  Maybe it could have occurred to him that it was a lucky picture where they all happened to come out with lovely smiles simultaneously?  No, I jest, my children do smile….a lot!  maybe they have more to smile about?

Anyway, am I cross?  No.  Am I moaning?  A little I suppose but slightly tongue in cheek.  I think I’m just bemused that he has maybe never come across the comment himself and therefore has no idea how maddening it can be?

But then, maybe it’s because he’s on the spectrum himself and therefore has a totally different perspective on things?  If that’s the case then ‘Vive le Difference!’.

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