A Glimpse into our autism: Special skill

26 April 2018

Dear friend,

Yesterday I was asked, What's his special skill?

I felt myself blush and become tongue tied and mumbled something about him having a great memory and being a visual learner.

The truth is that my son doesn't have a special skill (that we know of).

I understand why some people might think that.

Many of us have been brought up with the view of autistic people as 'mad professors' or 'autistic savants'. You know the types, the university lecturer who can solve complex mathematical equations yet can't fasten his tie, make eye contact or drink coffee without spilling it down his shirt or the 'rainman' who can tell you the day you were born on from your date of birth or draw a city perfectly from memory but struggles to function in everyday life.

There is something fascinating about genius that draws you in. People with a gift are amazing, interesting and special. Stories of genius awaken the curiosity.

But having an autism spectrum condition doesn’t guarantee any specific talents. In fact only around 5% of autistic people are considered savants.

My son is of average intelligence (according to school) he is below average (according to an intelligence test: I hate intelligence tests but thats for another day) and uniquely intelligent (according to me).

The truth is that he has a disharmonic profile. In some areas he is actually way above average, in some areas average and in others below.

A diagnosis of autism means only one thing: you’re autistic.

The story of the autistic genius is a stereotype and the problem with stereotypes is that they are a single story of autism. There are many many stories of autism...

Autistic people are all different, just like everybody else!

Yesterday I was asked, What's his special skill?

My answer should have been;  Aways being himself...

A glimpse into autism is a series of short letters that explore the impact autism has on our family on a day to day basis. Disclaimer: this is our experience not all autistic people are the same.

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