<align=left>‘Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.‘
– Albert Einstein</align=left>
Being autistic means being different – not only different from those outside the autistic spectrum but also from those inside. It might be said that autism is ultimate individuality.
This, of course, leads to problems in a society where everybody is expected to conform. When as children we are pressed to do things we don’t want to do and to perform routines and rituals without seeing the reason behind them we start to revolt against a world that doesn’t make sense to us and which tries to force us into submission.
When this proves unsuccessful we withdraw from the world as much as possible in order to protect our feelings and our identity. And if you want to get through to us the most important thing is understanding our position – empathy, respect, reassurance and patience will get you a lot further than you imagine.
While non-autistic children learn by copying adults and following instructions we learn by experimenting, enquiring and logical thinking. Therefore it’s not sufficient to tell us what to do and what not to do, you will have to convince us of the reasons behind it; this is also why we are far more likely to question anything without (or with flawed) proof or things that are handed down as facts.
Another significant difference in the way we learn is that either we understand something that is taught or we don’t. If we don’t, teaching it over and over in the same manner will not make the subject more accessible to us; you will have to look for alternative methods to do so. And if we understand it, there is no need for permanent repetition of the subject matter; on the contrary, repetition will dull our senses and reduce our attentiveness by neglecting our constant need for intellectual stimulation. This is also the cause for our reluctance to do homework. …