Each and every person lives a life that is unique to them. Therefore, even though we may all experience life with Asperger’s / Autism, it does not automatically follow that we also experience every aspect of ‘life’ or Autism, or even ‘life with Autism, in exactly the same ways.
One person’s lived experience, knowledge and truth, is exactly that.
We are all born into different circumstances.
We all have different experiences, learn different lessons and gleam different aspects of knowledge and truth, based on these experiences.
Sharing similar ways of interpreting or understanding the world around us, is not the same as ‘living the same life.’
We share a diagnostic label, not a life.
Please recognize and respect this fact and stop trying to ascribe the understandings, beliefs and personal preferences of one individual with Autism, to all individuals with Autism.
We are not mirror images of each other.
We are all different.
And we deserve to have our differences understood and treated with respect because our differences matter.
For example, the experiences of an adult female, diagnosed later in life, will be very different to those of an adult male, diagnosed early in life.
Whilst one may have grown up feeling ‘lost’, ‘alone’ or made to feel ashamed of her differences, the other may have grown up with all the benefits of self-understanding, self-awareness and being encouraged to take pride in his ‘different-ness’.
While each individual’s experience needs to be understood as being equally valid interpretations and expressions of what it is to live an Autistic life, they also equally need to be understood as being validly different.
The act of preferencing one set of experiences over the other, leads to the negation of not just one narrative, but to the negation all narratives that do not fit neatly within the confines of that which becomes the preferred story of the‘ Autistic experience’.
Just to be clear on this, there is no correct way to experience Autism.
There are instead, many equally valid, equally real and equally genuine ways to experience Autism.
Yet some within our society continuously seek to preference and promote only one particular version of Autistic life.
We cannot and should not allow either ourselves or others, to fall into the trap of ‘negating’ the many difference to be found within in the Autistic experience, simply because it’s being presented to us under the guise of ‘creating Autism awareness.
All Autistic experiences are valid regardless of age, gender or socio-cultural and economic influences.
To believe that any one experience is any more important or worthwhile than another is to perpetuate both the myth that there is a ‘correct way’ to experience Autism, and that all ‘Autistic people are the same.’
We share a diagnostic label.
Not a life.