What is autism? What is neurodiversity?

It had never occurred to me that there are many people out there who have never even heard the words “autism” and “autistic”, let alone anything more about neurodiversity, or the word “neurodiversity”?

You’d think that particularly educated people or people who call themselves educated would have… But no, not necessarily.

It’s simple. Just like there are naturally taller and naturally shorter and average-height people and thin people and stocky people and people with blue eyes and people with brown and grey eyes and just like some people love beer while others exclusively prefer gin or wine or a martini, and some people become bakers or food scientists, others bricklayers or architects, some people walk in small steps or slowly while others walk fast and in large strides, people’s brains differ too.

It means different people have different abilities because their brains have different neural networks, different specialisations. It’s why some people are artists or mathematicians and others stock shelves or deliver packages or manage businesses.

Creativity and talent often have a lot to do with neurodiversity.

Autistic people are never dull and dull people are never autistic or capable of bringing entertainment into the world. Dull people can be highly efficient and reliable.

Thus we end up with a natural balance in the world that helps keep everyone happy. If only we give each other enough space, enough room to be who we are without being pushed into the tight corsets of the misconceptions put into the world by the idea of eugenics. That there is such a thing as an ideal human being. Like, say, a mass-produced perfectly smooth coffee beaker.

Neurodiversity is not binary. We all occupy a unique spot in this multidimensional space. One of my neighbours is slightly narcissistic, for example. It makes that person look charming, fascinating and interesting to almost everyone.

There is nothing wrong with that.

It can also create a tendency to want to hurt needle or annoy others through the spoken word – out of the unacknowledged vulnerability that underlies narcissism which fuels the need to control others – and that can intimidate others. The person’s partner or the person’s colleagues, for example. An example of what I mean is that, if for example, you are an equality campaigner, such a person may speak in a negative tone about “chavs” to you. For the sole purpose of annoying you… and hopefully drawing you into an argument. Or you may hear such a person talk negatively about you to a complete stranger, within earshot, again for no other purpose than annoying you.

It doesn’t matter.

It’s life. We all have our pluses and minuses. It’s what keeps life interesting.

Feel free to share your opinion below, please.

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