A major challenge that is presented to many Autists in today’s society is choosing just where it is they wish to stand within the Autism spectrum.
I can proudly claim my right to be an Aspie and not see this as a disability, or feel the need to change at all to fit into a non-aspergic world.
I can meet with others over the Internet, find a job where I don’t have to socialize with others, and indulge my favorite obsessions without messing anyone else’s life around.
At the other extreme, I can humbly acknowledge my crushing disability, and make extreme efforts to learn compensatory strategies that will help me become as “normal” as possible to fit in with everyone else.
Neither of these extremes suit me, and I’ve taken a middle position on the spectrum, which makes sense considering that I have a spectrum disorder!
I’m not sure whether or not having Autism is something that I should bother to analyze rationally by seeking a legally framed story of cause and effect to explain it away, or whether it’s just one of the unavoidable hammer-blows of fate?
Or even, perhaps, as some see it, a challenge from the gods, designed to shift me into a different mode of functioning?
I guess in a lot of ways, the difficulty of rising to meet the challenges of understanding ourselves, is no different for us auties and Aspies than it is for the “normal ones” .
The normals still have the luxury (or obstacle?) of being able to hold on to their comforting views of the world, of themselves, of the purpose of life: whereas we are foreigners in a strange world in which we are reminded a hundred times a day that we are visitors to this strange place.
But, could that become a strength?
We may be able to think outside the square – let’s face it, we have little choice, since the square may now be closed to us. My need for literal and straight communication meant I had to be skeptical about anything anyone said to me, go back to first principles and seek truth with logic – an unpopular quest in a social milieu where the admission ticket consists of already knowing and accepting the consensus view, however illogical or untruthful it may be.
Can we, whom the gods have chosen to bless with this challenge, make any positive sense of being on the autism spectrum, and painfully carve out a new direction? Was it a divine intervention to force us to learn a very different way of being to the way of most on this planet? Is it all karma for actions we perpetrated in a past life? Can we learn from our dire experiences some new compassion for the suffering many?
I haven’t yet completed the long process of making sense of it all, and it will probably take me some years.
But I have found that it helps to keep myself open to the possibility that I needed to learn something, probably many things, from the many unpleasant things that happened over the years – bullying, taunts at school, abusive father, social alienation, constant sacking from jobs to name a few. I hope to gain insights that will make me a better person in a spiritual sense, perhaps that the direction I had been headed in during my recent incarnations was in need of change, and that I needed to take on board some painful humility about the common suffering of humanity which will help me become a more giving, forgiving and compassionate person in the end.