Today is the day for the Autism Positivity Flash Blog 2013. The idea is to blog about something ausome. By the way, “ausome” is my new favourite word, whenever I say it, that spelling will be what I mean.
As the URL of this blog suggests, I had always realised I was a little different to most folk. Some would say weird, some would say special. The road to diagnosis was very much a voyage of discovery, learning which aspects of me where traits associated with autism. For the most part, I knew which things about me were different and so it was mostly just finding out which ones fit into the category of autism.
There was one thing though, that I was totally not expecting.
Some people, in fact most people, don’t think in pictures. They think in words. No, really, it’s true. I promise you, they think in words. This was a totally mind blowing discovery for me. My initial reaction was “Holy crap, how does that even work?” and to be honest I still think that today. The first nurse I spoke to at the hospital where I was diagnosed came at the topic as if I was at a disadvantage because I think in pictures. I think this is a brilliant example that illustrates the idea that autistic people are not wrong, we’re just different! There is an upside and a downside to it, the down being that it takes a lot of effort for me to communicate in words. If I am tired or stressed then speaking can become impossible and texting gets a lot tougher. I absolutely hate it when this happens. The upside though is that I can attack problems in a totally different way to a someone who thinks in words and I believe that this is extremely beneficial to me in my chosen career as a Software Developer. If someone offered me the chance to be normal, to take away my powers, then thinking in pictures is something I would list as a pro, something I would not want to lose. Thinking in words seems so incredibly inefficient to me. I definitely don’t want it. :)
I have blogged before about my memory boxes and how my brain is like a big PVR full of pictures and videos. Recently I realised how this impacts the way that I take photographs. I have a friend called cosmic badger, he is an intergalactic space badger with a passion for graphic design. He takes the most amazing photos. Just so, so pretty. A few weeks ago, he came over and he showed me the photos he had shot on holiday. Later, we went for a walk down to the beach and I got an opportunity to see first hand how he takes photos. So I should explain, I remember a guy I worked with once, laughing about the photos I had taken on holiday: the composition, the subject matter. I was a bit hurt, but I didn’t say anything. Looking at the way that Cosmizzle worked I suddenly realised that my photos and his photos seemed to be taken with completely different intentions. I wanted to catch things exactly as they were, cold and scientific, almost like mugshots. His photos were more about capturing beauty, they were artistic. I wanted to take photographs of all of the tiny details that my brain is constantly capturing, categorizing and filing. This is why I have photographs of taps and shower heads and things that nobody else would ever think to take a photo of. My photos are triggers for my brain, one quick look and I am replaying full videos (thoughts/memories) in my head. My own private cinema. I think this is quite ausome.