Not so Dyer

“I know today’s been strange, everyone asking you things, I’ve got some good news, well you know all those doctors asking you questions, they told us you’ve got a special power, and there is a special word for it, autism”

This is a quote from an episode of EastEnders broadcast on Thursday 14th November which I must have watched that clip at least a dozen times.

It was a Dad talking to his child about a something that I never recall being discussed in such a mainstream way. During the last few years people with autism have replaced ‘dangerous loner’ as the new boogieman and it being described as having a ‘superpower’ to the millions of soap viewers feels like a watershed moment. I can’t imagine how different my life would have been if this had happened twenty years ago and somebody described me as having a superpower.

               As an autistic man in his late 30s, I am not sure how much I can relate to the term ‘superpower’ but have heard it used before and can understand how for kids must be amazing.

               The National Autistic Society writes

  • ‘Autistic people have a unique and individual view of the world which lots of people who aren’t autistic can find interesting, refreshing and valuable’
  • ‘Autistic people have distinctive vision and are able to notice detail others would miss. They also have a strong drive towards finding explanations’
  • ‘Autistic people are likely to better remember information, routine or processes that they have learned’

Perhaps these things could be considered superpowers, I am often complimented on my research and organisation, and I think these might be more useful in the real world than some powers the heroes Marvel invent.

I really hope this is the start of a campaign of understanding that autism doesn’t have to be a negative and that people like me can not only contribute to society but enhance it.

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