A pinch of this, a snatch of that…
I make no apology for this post, this article is my personal opinion – l support the genetical theory of autism as in, l didn’t get it through vaccine, or infection or l accidentally picked it up by stepping on it – this post is my view.
“I know of nobody who is purely autistic, or purely neurotypical. Even God has some autistic moments, which is why the planets spin.”
Whilst l didn’t know specifically when l was say, five that l was an Aspergian and as such on the autism spectrum – although admittedly back in 1968, whilst Aspergers was afoot in literature it wasn’t running on the ground with the rest of us – l did know by nine that something wasn’t quite right and not just with me, but some of my family! In Malaysia when l was seven l was just starting to come to grips with some strange sensations concerning my thinking.
My memory is a funny old thing – my working memory is shot in many respects – and yet in the same breath my ‘special interest memory’ which has got to be part of my working memory is excellent. My long range memory is phenomenal – l can remember with detailed clarity what l was doing when l was five, and yet if my partner asks me to hoover the house, l forget within an hour of being told! She says l have selective memory, so maybe it’s that. Strangely enough l have also noticed that my long term memory is getting more precision orientated the older l get which is really quite bizarre
The theme that does seem to be materialising from beneath the surface where it was obviously residing was/is that l may not have been totally alone in the so called ‘abstract thinking’ phase that l was oft accused of when growing up in the family home.
My Father and l are not just dysfunctional in the conventional sense of the term Father/Son relationship but we are at times estranged from each other – l think this is purely a case of two types of autism conflicting and not just a case of ‘we don’t like each other’ but more along the lines of ‘we simply don’t get each other!’
With the information l have at my disposal now, l would say that my Father- like his Son – is actually autistic with Aspergers, my Mother is neurotically neurotypical with a twist thrown in and my Sister is another Spectrumite. However as far as ‘autism awareness’ discussions go, l will be the only one deliberating the possibilities that my entire family is also ‘actually autistic!’
My Father will not remotely host the concept that he is autistic or Aspergic – for he considers these ‘slurs’ to be a flaw on his identity, that the very mention of such a notion threatens his personality, his integrity – he looks upon the very thought as not just preposterous but totally and utterly ridiculous! Furthermore because his Son does display imperfections to his idea of ‘normality’, this clearly suggests it has been genetically inherited from his ex-Wife, my Mother and not from him or his eccentrically wacky out of the ordinary and peculiar odd ball behaviours and or mannerisms!
My Mother would not consider the notion either for that would mean that she was conceding to being similar to both her ex-husband and her weird Son and their bizarre rituals and extraordinarily unusual abnormal deviations from conventional and conditioned society conduct! The fourth member of the family thinks that she is the naturally sane one and has no time for Mother, Father or Brother, although has more tolerance for the old man if she thinks there is a monetary gain! Again, she doesn’t seem to think it unusual that her own Son is clearly on the spectrum and is displaying some very offbeat actions of his own!!
My philosophy is not just concerning the fact that my entire family sits somewhere on the spectrum – but that everyone does – and not just those who are self-diagnosed or medically confirmed – EVERYONE!
I have expressed this theory before now to both my family and friends – and of course as one can imagine, it has been met with mixed reactions as well as the usual and expected ‘guffaws!’
“How utterly profound a statement to make or even suggest!” Someone once said when l expressed this to a party of conversationalists! “That would mean that we are more or less all the same as you?”
Of course they had taken the science of my thought to the extreme in literalness, and it was to no avail when l countered with “Well not all exactly the same” For they had performed the most basic and notorious action of them all, and that was to ‘pass judgement and chastise’ before actually hearing me out or listening to logical reasoning.
You see society simply loves and adores tearing people down. The news media love nothing more than to build people up, and society tears them down again, it is a strange cat and mouse game of struggle that has gone on since the dawn of time in truth. People love to criticise what they don’t understand, or fear – they are excellent at showing just how arrogantly ignorant they can be!
You can almost imagine their horror at my suggestion that it is not just autistic people whom are autistic, but neurotypical or non-autistic people are autistic too! Certainly places a new slant on who do you chastise if that includes you too! How could you criticise the autistic people for being autistic if you too were suddenly deemed autistic as well sort of theory?
Of course l am not totally suggesting that everyone is totally autistic – well l am, and …l’m not! There will always be varying degrees of autism equally within the diagnosed community as there is within the self-diagnosed community and the non-autistically diagnosed community! I am just saying that in truth, everyone on the planet has a lurking ASD or autism spectrum disorder, and how it affects their cognitive functioning is down to how ‘autistic’ their genes are. That’s what l am saying – and not that the whole world is filled with aliens!
As one of my designs suggests “Same universe – Two Different Planets … Can coincide harmoniously till they bump”, is what l am saying, that really we can all and do all live together anyway. That there are no aliens – but the fact that we are all aliens if one takes that theory on board – we are all “autistic” and as awareness continually grows and more and more people become aware of the symptoms and conditions of autism – then the more that notion becomes a possibility!
As l like to say ‘autistic people need society and society needs autistic people’, the obstacle is getting people to understand that everyone is actually autistic anyway and because of that, there would be no need to fear the label, or to fear the occasional bumping!
The difference is actually knowing this and accepting it freely into our lives. If perhaps my family and l had known of the autism when we were all growing up together under one roof – maybe life would have been more tolerable, maybe we would have been more tolerant, maybe tolerance would not have been the word at all, but just maybe, we would have just been a family. Instead we were a continued galaxy of bouncing planets, conflicts, violent outbursts, confusions, dramatic emotions and thoroughly miserable as four people living under one roof!
It makes life easier if society was to simply accept autism into their daily routines alongside their morning coffee, newspapers, bagels and whatever instead of seeing a problem with its presence – “There is no need whatsoever to make autism an issue …”
There is a good chance in fact that science, may well be able to back up my nonchalant lackadaisical theory.
The risk if you wish to call it that exists genetically in us all, no one is specifically exempt from experiencing autism – it all comes down to varying degrees of how it affects you – that’s the difference between currently diagnosed and recognised autists and Aspergians in comparison to supposedly non autistic folk and that’s all.
If everyone was to be tested, l do believe that everyone would discover that they too sit on the spectrum with something, a pinch of this, a snatch of that, a splash of the other a bit like a marvellously colourful pizza topping with plenty of side lashings of salad
Development traits, attributes, strengths and weaknesses would be l believe discovered in most people affecting the way they interact, communicate or speak with society, never mind if tests were carried out on their behavioural patterns or even repetitive routines
I know people that are neither diagnosed nor recognised as being on the spectrum and l could easily say hand on heart that they have and display very clearly symptoms which would slot them nicely into spectrum life! But as said it comes down to varying degrees or levels or even scales of autism present and not just a smattering of strange like behaviour or thinking.
So many people still say that autism is getting worse and that more and more people are ‘infected/affected’ every day not realising that in truth more and more people are becoming more aware to autism, to self-diagnosis processes – but also more people are actually autistic than society is willing to accept – because of this dreadful controversial fear of the label itself.
Genetically speaking we are all on the spectrum of autism, and this is NOT making light of autism at all, l am myself an Aspergian and proud to be autistic, my Father is most assuredly somewhere on the spectrum whether he wants to admit to it or not. My Mother is neurotic and can be overdramatic and is a terrible hypochondriac who even when l was young was awarded the disorder of Munchausen’s syndrome who used my ‘oddness’ as a way of getting attention to her even odder husband. My sister, in my opinion is an oddball, and yet she considers me wholeheartedly a wack job – typical siblings in many ways. All of us, had issues back then growing up under the same roof within the four walls of our household also called home!
There is an excellent chance that if my Father, Mother and Sister were tested, they would all come up somewhere on the spectrum which would certainly stop and pay heed to their judgements, chastisements, insults and bullying behaviours over the years!
We still have a long way to go l feel before society accepts that autistic people need them as much as they need us, but every year we see more and more raised awareness levels and every year we see more and more acceptance – pretty soon, the challenge will be to find the so called autists!
But hey, this is just my opinion, and l have been known to think sometimes a little too far out of the box – what do you think?
Rory Matier – The Tee Shirt Blogger
Ps: These posts are my views on my autism/Asperger’s, they may not be everyone else’s who is on the spectrum.