“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.