I’ve always felt different and, largely acted differently, therefore, I have always behaved or found things and groups which fall outside of the ‘norm’. My music tastes was always ‘different’, may taste in clothing was ‘outside of the norm’, being either one extreme (high-end, high-priced) or reflecting my interests in sub-cultures or other interests. (I was one of those strange people listening to Goth, rock and punk bands and dressing in Armani).
I found myself drawn to sub-cultures, particularly the Goth scene and it’s apparently tolerant attitudes and acceptance towards those who failed to find a place in mainstream society. Indeed, it seems to be a ‘scene’ which welcomes people on the autistic spectrum. However, it’s worth noting that interaction with any group or person requires communication and that’s something most of us struggle with. I’m not going to discuss the sanctity or the merits, or deficits of the Goth scene here as it’s digression.
I was once told at work, that I should I should make more effort to conform, honestly I could never see why perception should matter so much. I failed to see why I should appear ‘normal’ in an office environment which was far from normal and seemed to be fairly multi-facetted. Basically, it transpired that the bosses would have preferred someone in a senior position within a multi-national corporation have worn less Sisters of Mercy T Shirts on ‘dress down Friday’. The wanted to appear to allow us to be relaxed and open to have self-expression, but only so far as it sat within the corporate world; in my mind, they should have been more clear in what was an wasn’t deemed to be acceptable, in which case, I’m simply expected to replace one suit with another and I’ll stick with the ones I wore for the rest of the week and save the effort.
My point is that learning about neuro-diversity has been a revelation in my life. I’ve struggled with many aspects, and with knowledge comes the recognition that there are reasons that I have found certain things incredibly challenging and more importantly why, I find these things a challenge. Having struggle extensively with my mental health for the biggest part of my life, I can honestly state that awareness, growing understanding and knowledge is making me a lot happier than I can recall in a long time.
The moral of this allegory is that knowledge leads to power and self-understanding. For those of us on the spectrum and for those involved or around people on the spectrum, I highly recommend learning all you can about our strange, interesting and brilliant minds. You may open up a world of appreciation, love and understanding.