Aspie isn't something needing fixing. It's a difference in the way the brain responds to certain kinds of stimuli, especially sensory and social, and a difference in the way the brain processes emotion. Other idiosyncratic differences often go along with those, but most of the quirks of personality that we associate with being on the spectrum can be traced to those two basic differences.

That's the understanding I developed in the course of a 30+ year career in clinical psychology, during which I realized I've always been somewhere on that spectrum myself.

I also became convinced that trying to "be normal" was a betrayal of the self--a foolish self-deception with little chance of success. What we can do, though, is to develop skills that don't come easily to us, like reading faces, soothing our own nerves when we're upset, tolerating textures, etc. Each skill is a separate task, to be taken on when that skill becomes necessary to specific things we want to do or to our general freedom in the world.

I think of my Aspie quirks (some of them, at least) as superpowers. I believe it is that part of me that gives me confidence at 68 that I still have a lot to learn. And I love learning, so that's good news, right?

Retired psychologist, wordsmith, teacher, MFA candidate. Buy me coffee: ko-fi.com/edrobson. ecrobson@gmail.com

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