Autism Spectrum Disorder – Shawn Cross

Yesterday, someone indicated that they thought I was a women with Aspergers. While there is absolutely nothing wrong if you have had a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, which I am pretty sure, as we all do, I fall in to the spectrum somewhere, I was astounded that someone was so quick to label me because I am not your run of the mill “female”.

I really dislike the way labels are bandied about. I don’t consider myself to be a judgy person…yes I will laugh if I see someone wearing a crocodile onesie in the street, but I will also admire their confidence or the fact that they simply don’t care about what others think of them. So why should someone feel that they have the right to label another.

Maybe it was the way it was said to me. Almost like…”have you considered there might be something wrong with you”…I am many things…abrupt, matter of fact, loud, organised, off beat sense of humour, but I have never felt that I needed a diagnosis for having my own personality. Despite the fact that Aspergers is part of the larger Autistic spectrum, to which we all demonstrate some of the attributes. I was then sent a link to an article about women with Aspergers, which has some spurious “unofficial” checklist which is as long as your arm, as if to say to me….you tick these boxes. The check list, quite honestly, sounded like things that many people do….I.e. Lose themselves in music, reads poetry, thinks deeply…it was when it got to the social interactions part that it struck me, this person has never seen me in an actual social situation so how could they make this assumption. I don’t shy away from social events, I don’t dread them…so I am going to put the comment down to uneducated judgement.

This leads me to the art work by Shawn Cross. For many it’s very difficult to verbalise the conditions that they maybe suffering. It can be really difficult to explain the nature of why you have OCD tendencies (Hands up I do have this), or what having social anxiety disorder can do to you, so when Cross completed a series of ink drawing for #inktober many people affiliated with the pictures produced.

There is obviously a clear reason why I selected the autism spectrum one, as it related to my experience yesterday, and it demonstrates someone who feels completely misunderstood. The brain saying one thing but the body shutting down.

Some of the other ink drawing produced are a real insight.

If you want to see more of the work, you can see it here.

So I guess today’s blog is four fold.

  1. Don’t judge a book by its cover as sometimes the most exciting books have the blandest front page.
  2. Don’t label people if you don’t understand what they have been through/are going through or you don’t know them very well.
  3. Don’t judge or treat people with mental/social/physical disabilities differently because you don’t understand them.
  4. Enjoy the art work of a talented person who has an in depth understanding conditions and the struggles that go with them.
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