Friday, March 28, 2008

Autism and Difference

Amanda is autistic and articulate, articulate at the keyboard. She does not speak except through the aid of her computer. The Wired article on her is fascinating. You might want to check it out. More important than Wired coverage is Amanda's thoughts. She understands herself quite well and might give you a thing or two to think about. Her blog, Ballastexistenz, is as sophisticated on the topic she covers as any other blog I have read. I don't think the Wired article links you to her blog, but to the YouTube video that has made her famous. By the way, Ballastexistenz as a name for her blog is quite sophisticated too. You might want to check out what the name means. If you don't get it, she does.

Our culture has a stories such as the Ugly Duckling, Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and the Disney version of The Little Mermaid that tell us that difference and being a misfit is common and acceptable fact of life. However, when the difference is something society can explain and understand it is acceptable. When the context of the difference deviates too far from the norms, rejection is what many, not just Amanda, experience. It appears our cultural norm is to tell the misfit that they are gifted but we don't by and large tell society to accept the misfits except when if fits a certain profile.

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