Friday, July 1, 2011
What's wrong with this picture?
Or, as I can almost hear my sister hissing in the background, "More to the point, what's wrong with you?"
My family always joked that they could tell when I had hung out the washing - all the pegs would be evenly spaced with each line of our hills hoist boasting a different colour peg. I had been known to go back and rearrange the washing if, for example, I'd come to the last shirt and had only one blue peg left, despite having several other non-matching pegs in my arsenal.
Maybe today, a teacher might have shook their head and marked my file "ASD". Having studied psychology at uni, I know that I do in fact have several other indicators that could be ticked off. But where do you draw the line between 'perfection to detail' and having an Autism Spectrum Disorder? And does it really matter?
I know lots of people who are 'red pegs'. In fact, most of my friends today are red pegs. If I could go back in time and tell the teenaged, misfit me anything, it would be that she is not so different to everyone else in the world. Eventually you will go on to find other red pegs just like yourself.
If you look at some of the important community building professions: doctor, lawyer, engineer, designer... aren't those jobs filled with people of the red-pegged variety? Isn't it important that they are articulate, precise and perfectionist in nature? For me, I'd rather have a tradesperson in the house with attention to detail than one with a "she'll be right" persona.
We are all somewhere along that Autism Spectrum. I for one, am quite happy that for the most part, matching pegs is about as far as it goes with me. I can put up with my sister laughing at my clothes line, sniggering when I need to leave an overcrowded shop, telling me about surprises that family members have planned so that I won't burst into tears an an inappropriate moment. Cos I know, despite the giggle-factor, she loves me for who I am - someone who cares about the small details.