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Autism Isn't Abnormal

And everything is relative.

The definition of a disability is to be someone with certain characteristics that are different to most people. A neurotypical person on the other hand is defined to have characteristics that fit society’s general layout. Yet the word dis-ability suggests that neurotypicals are able and normal, whereas anyone else is considered of less worth to society.

Just because those of us with challenges including autism (which I myself have) make up a small percentage of the human population, it by no means makes one side better or more normal than the other. So I hold no bias towards my own situation. Normal to every person would be how they themselves have grown and the way in which they perceive their own life.

To me personally having autism seems the norm to me. I was born with autism and have continued having it to the present day. The mere thought of living a life of understanding facial expressions, body language, and other people’s emotions seems extremely weird to me. In fact, I often say that I find neurotypical people equally as different (in a good way too) as they find me to be.

For instance, whenever I’ve had a meltdown or experienced frustration in my daily living, I’ve often vented about how hard it is to have a conversation with someone. That person is usually my mum at those times, and she in turn vents about how hard it is to have a conversation with me. Thus we simultaneously vent our frustrations about how hard it is to converse such ordinary things in the most ordinary way. So here is an indication that autistic people (who are known to have difficulty communicating) can indeed converse and interact, in their own way.

Another example I can give is when I painted a picture in art class back in high school (of Harry Potter catching a golden snitch in the Hogwarts Quidditch Stadium, respectively). When my teacher saw my painting she found it rather interesting that none of the people I drew had facial expressions. They were just all blank faces. My answer was that through my own eyes that’s how the world looks. Surprisingly she was very impressed by that casual answer. That particular assessment piece did not involve expressions of human emotion. So to my delight, I was given an A for that painting. The only other subject I got a mark that high in was math (unless you count spelling which isn’t a subject of its own).

In summary, there are so many shades of grey when it comes to referring a person or situation as normal. Every person and their experiences are their own, which they have adapted to and consider to be perfectly normal. It’s completely understandable that a neurotypical person would be widely considered as the norm, because that’s the life that 97% of the human population experience every day. This also explains why people with autism and other so called dis-abilities frequently have much confusion and/or anxiety about the world we live in, as society has to cater for the entire population in a generalised way.

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Autism Isn't Abnormal
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