Autism is not merely a triad of impairments regarding social skills, communications and flexible thinking. Attempts to fix these impairments directly will not work because these are only the superficial outcomes of much deeper root causes.
Physical: Many of us on the autism spectrum experience chronic fatigue and allergies that we may not be fully aware of. These make it hard for us to do many daily activities that others take for granted, but our invisible disabilities are mistakenly assumed to be laziness by others. We also often fall sick easily, hampering our productivity further.
Sensory: Sensory sensitivities further compound our problems. What might be pleasant perfume and quiet background noise to others might be an overwhelmingly disgusting odor and overwhelming confusion to us. Once again, this invisible disabilities are also dismissed by others.
Emotional: Many of us are beset by strong emotions of anxiety, fear and anger that we may not be fully aware of. As we can have difficulty working with our emotions, we try to ignore them and rely instead on our intellect to navigate the world around us. The simultaneous existence of strong yet disconnected emotions creates havoc with our emotional management and negatively affects our social life.
Executive: Lacking guidance from our emotions and operating from a fragmented awareness, forming coherent thoughts regarding uncertain and ambiguous matters is quite impossible. Without coherence, we will be unable to make good judgements, create sound plans and improvise workarounds to achieve our goals.
Advocacy: Our lack of self-awareness and difficulty forming coherent thoughts makes it hard for us to express our needs, opinions and situation. This is compounded by us not even being aware that we are unaware. As a result, we may be unable to stand up for ourselves and request for help from others.
Meaning: Given our difficulty functioning in the physical world, we experience mostly hardship but little solace (e.g. relationships, sensory delights). We are unable to experience Life – Goodness, Beauty, Meaning and Authenticity. Our logical minds can easily draw the conclusion that life is not worth living and we are better off dead. Hence, there is no point trying to achieve anything and our only goal in life is to avoid as much pain as possible.
I am realising part of the true potential of the autistic consciousness, in a way distinctly different from NeuroTypicals. I live peacefully and meaningfully, feel comfortable in my body, express my emotions truthfully yet tactfully, as well as keep my thinking clear and directed.
Physical: My physical body is my ‘home’ that I take good care of.
Sensory: I can accept different sensory experiences and truly enjoy the pleasurable ones.
Emotional: I have made peace with the pain and suffering of my past, and now I live in quiet confidence and peace.
Executive: I have cracked the code of the system behind practical living. I can see the big picture of my own life, plan coherently to achieve goals, and quickly work around unforeseen obstacles. I avoid wasting time on matters that I have no control over.
Advocacy: I know what I want and I also know what type of the support I will need to achieve my goals. When other people create problems for me, I can choose to respond to them appropriately.
Meaning: I accept my current life situation and I know the role that I am playing to make the world a better place.
My life is simple since I don’t need the social stimulation, sensory enjoyment and emotional bonding that most NeuroTypicals require to feel whole and complete. I also do not have to measure myself by the success criteria of mainstream society: high-paying full-time employment, amassing material wealth, starting a family, going on frequent overseas vacations, acquiring an expensive taste etc.
I look forward to share what works for me with other adult autistics and work with them to realise their full potential.