Okay, maybe I am being a little dramatic. Sadly, I have to be. There are times I feel like Hester Prynne, scorned and hated for being different than most people. When you are in a world not made for you, it is difficult. You don’t have to make it more difficult by singling out and ridiculing them, especially if you are getting the experience of their predicament wrong.
As you read This “Locked In for Autism” Event article, consider this: It is simply a metaphor for the autistic being “locked in their own world.” That, my friends, could not be more wrong. If you were in your own world, would you not be comfortable, as in your home? Yet, the autistic person is not comfortable. They are not in their home; they are not in their own world. The world they experience is vastly different from the non-autistic world. We might see things more brightly or dimly. We might hear things more loudly or softly. We might smell things more clearly or less so. We might taste things differently. We might even touch things differently. Do you understand yet?
If not, let me reiterate for you in another sense. Remember when we were told there were “Weapons of Mass Destruction” in Iraq? That was the information most of us were supporting the war in Iraq of the 2000s. We found no “Weapons of Mass Destruction,” by the way. The truth was actually said right before the war. In a sense, we were lied to. That’s what a autistic person’s senses do. Their senses lie to them. So, they are not “in their own world,” as the Locked In metaphor believes. They are in an alien world. They are defending themselves from this alien world, which is why they seem to be locked in.
So how do I know this information? I am autistic. I am speaking from the inside. I am knowledgeable of insider information that the so-called Experts refuse to learn. It is a constant struggle to which I must struggle under a scarlet letter of sorts, and fight discrimination for experiencing the world differently. Will you listen and consider the viewpoints of actual insiders? Or will you form myths that lead to laughable metaphors that actually have nothing to do with the experience of an autistic person? The choice is yours.