I have been struggling about six months now, trying to decide whether to call myself autistic. My main trouble with that is that I just don’t relate to what the general population thinks is autistic. To them, there are two classes of autism. The first is the savant, that is a person who is exceptionally talented in one area of life. It is estimated that 10% of autistics are savants, but that means 90% are not. The other classification is those to be pitied. The organization Autism Speaks caters to that impression to get contributions.
I am talented in some areas, but I don’t think of myself as a savant. I definitely don’t want anyone’s pity. So, where do I fit in this public perceived group? I feel more like a person with Asperger’s living in the neurotypical world, in a way of my choosing. The public sees an autistic person as living in their own world and unable to cope outside that world.
I will admit that both Aspergers and Autism likely share a common neurologic source. But, since those root causes are not considered fixable, that really doesn’t matter much to me.
This deep-dive into the world of Autism has been troublesome, but it has given me some insight that I didn’t have going in to it. It showed me that I have become pretty good at masking who I am to fit into the world of my choosing. To at least some degree, that mask is being taken off.
To finally announce my decision, I will no longer call myself autistic, or “On The Spectrum”, but continue to say that I have Aspie traits. I know the scientific community is trying to get me to give up that label, but it simply fits me much more comfortably than the one they are trying to force me to take on. I will say that I am an Aspie and yes, I do share some traits with Autistics, but we are distinctly different in many aspects of life.
In the same way that I, as a deaf man, have chosen to live in the hearing world, I as an Aspie choose to live in the neurotypical world. I don’t need to make up a world of my own.
I have been doing that for most of my life, and I see no reason to change. Yes, living in a world that is not very accommodating to either of my conditions is a challenge, but that is a one I choose to take. I will have much more to say about this in near future posts.