Thursday 1 December 2016

the horizontal gift

I have just returned from a trip to Muswellbrook where I had a radio interview. This coming Saturday December 3rd is the International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD) and parts of the interview will play on ABC TV on Friday and Saturday to promote the Createability short films, which are already available for viewing on ABC iview. There are 9 x 3 minute short films discussing the lives and art of people living with a wide range of disability - some with multiple disabilities! - including physical, cognitive and intellectual. The following link goes directly to the film Nicky Elliot made about me.

I was dumbfounded when the radio interviewer asked me if I liked being a spokesperson for people with Aspergers. In truth it is very awkward for these reasons - 1) I'm not an "expert" or have any special clinical knowledge about ASD so I fear the potential to say something about the condition which might be incorrect, 2) I am an individual and my experience and personal manifestation of ASD is likely to be quite different from others. While there are broad similarities there can also be divergences and I don't want to give the impression there is a stereotypical "Aspergers" personality.

However, apart from this discomfort I am simultaneously pleased to have the opportunity to publicly blast some stupid untruths about Aspies, in particular to clarify that it is NOT an intellectual disability and that we don't have empathy towards others. We have a neurological difference that means we process information in a non-typical fashion. Another way of interpreting that statement could be to say because we are in a minority (like people with violet eyes) its more obvious when we do something differently from the majority.

I may get in trouble for telling this anecdote, but it makes me chuckle because its a such a graphic depiction of how I feel about ASD. Decades ago I worked in a brothel and a regular visitor was a person of exceptionally short stature who had an enormous penis. The joke was that what he had been deprived of vertically he had been gifted horizontally.