The luxury of normalcy
By Talha Masaood
According to Masashi Kishimoto, “each of us is bound by our knowledge and awareness of things which we call reality. One’s reality might just be another’s fantasy.” Simply put; all of us are writers of our own distinctly unique realities, our own stories. For some of us, our stories are too powerful to be merely told, and so the world has to listen hard to understand our perspective and to let us enjoy the luxury of living a normal life. It is precisely to evolve our realities and to embellish their truths by such silent stories of special, differently able contributors to the unfathomable beauty of humanity, that the 2nd of April is globally celebrated as the world autism awareness day.
According to autism speaks.org, “autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and non-verbal communication.” Since autism is a spectrum disorder, every autistic person has his/her own distinct set of challenges to face. Interestingly, their strategies to learn, think, and their abilities of problem-solving can widely range from highly skilled and focused to severely challenged and obstructive. Notwithstanding their varying degrees of debility and unevenly developed skills, these persevering souls can be exceptionally accomplished in fields of their interests such as art, music, maths, problem-solving and analysis.
It should also be noted that autism is often accompanied by social or medical disorders as well, Including gastrointestinal disorder, anxiety and sleep disorders, mental/neurological and speech disorders. Common symptoms of autism however include “
- a lack of eye contact
- A narrow range of interests or intense interest in certain topics
- Doing something over and over, like repeating words or phrases, rocking back and forth, or flipping a lever
- High sensitivity to sounds, touches, smells, or sights that seem ordinary to other people
- Not looking at or listening to other people
- Not looking at things when another person points at them
- Not wanting to be held or cuddled
- Problems understanding or using speech, gestures, facial expressions, or tone of voice
- Talking in a sing-song, flat, or robotic voice
- Trouble adapting to changes in routine” (Web MD.com)
Nevertheless, despite all their daunting challenges and bone-crushing troubles, they defy their bitterness and frustration, to be channeled into an unwavering dedication to making themselves as qualified for enjoying the normalcy of life as we take ourselves to be. Stephen Wiltshire an acclaimed artist, Justin Hansen a football star, Susan Boyle an exceptionally melodious singer, Matt Cottle and excellently accomplished baker, are all autistic and pursue their respective dreams with an ardor and a zeal which they gleaned as gifts from autism out of the curses it is believed to carry with it.
All such people and their tales of pain and rejection, hardships and survival tell us about those characters and their stories who would not take time to even try to understand their different abilities and their distinctly exceptional potential to contribute to the future of our world. So dear reader, I leave you with this appeal to your kind consideration, that who would you wish to be? Somebody who is bitterly remembered as a callously ignorant person who poisoned the beauty of another’s life? Or as someone who is gratefully appreciated as an irreplaceable building block of another’s world!