Welcome to this week’s In Therapy post.
So far, I have written about topics that I feel will be helpful and informative to everyone in society.
For the next few months, I have decided to start a series on topics that might be helpful to people on the Autism Spectrum and those around them.
The topics will be around issues that “mainstream” folk might also struggle with, so this will still apply to everyone, but I will be putting the emphasis on the added different situations that might creep up for those on the Spectrum.
I might not be able to tackle every individual situation that might arise – with that I mean that each person on the Spectrum will experience the same situation in a different way and might need a different way of working through it.
For example, loud music might be a problem for one individual but not for the other. So, having a noisy neighbour who plays loud music all the time might be Ok for the first person but might be causing all sorts of problems for the other. One might need some support in dealing with anxiety and stress of the noise, whilst the other might be blissfully unaware of the noise that’s going on.
Do let me know if there’s any particular situation that you’d want me to talk about in the series, and I’ll be happy to include it.
This week I want to talk about a topic that is a peeve of mine as a member of society.
I have spoken about this before (read my post on the should, must and have to’s), and it’s something that I am passionate about challenging.
It causes more harm than good, in my opinion.
Especially to those of us who do not meet the stereotypical or the average lives that are expected from us.
The stereotypical or average lives usually include something like this:
Go to school
Go to university
Get a job (possibly for life, even if miserable!)
Ok it’s very general and there might be some more or less in that list according to your individual culture and society, but this should look familiar to everyone to a certain extent.
What happens when we don’t fit into that stereotype?
When we do something different like go the entrepreneurial route rather than the employee route?
What if we decide to not have children?
What if we never buy a house and move around the world often?
The list goes on…
Well that’s usually met with judgement and tut tut’s from our loved ones and others we might cross paths with.
Or it might be met with acceptance, well done if you’ve found those open minded people in your life!
This is just what us “neurotypicals” have to deal with.
People on the Spectrum might have to deal with that and the added bonus of having to deal with difficulties as the one I describe above about the noise issue.
I say difficulties, let me correct myself and say differences.
Yes it’s difference not difficulty.
We all learn to adjust and deal with circumstances with the tools and abilities we have been given.
This is no different in someone with Autism.
It in fact becomes more important and part of everyday life.
Maybe someone on the spectrum will not be able to have a job that their neurotypical counterpart might have, but that doesn’t mean they are not a valued member of society.
Could they have skills and abilities that gives back to society in a way that doesn’t meet the stereotypical working style?
We just need to allow the space to develop this and not judge what we don’t understand.
There are other aspects of life, other than work, that need reviewing for both neurotypicals and people with Autism.
For people on the Spectrum and those of us around them, it might be even more pressing to challenge these society imposed life milestones, and allow for more flexibility and creativity in how things are done and how lives are lived.
Acceptance is one step…
Acquiring knowledge and understanding is another…
Living and letting live, whatever it looks like for whomever we are talking about – neurotypical or autistic – is, in my opinion, the greater step.
Have you got something to add to what I’ve said so far? Do let me know and I will make sure I add it to the next post.
Would you like to guest post in this series? Write to me and we can arrange it!