Having opinions should not be a privilege, and yet for so many it is.
In my world, everything is just a little more intense than yours. Lights are so bright. Noises are so loud. Smells are so, well, smelly. The term “sensory overload” gets thrown around a lot with autism, but you haven’t experienced sensory overload until you’ve been to an NHL game.
This winter I went to my first hockey game. You know the deep rumble of thunder? That is like a whisper compared to the crowd at the Caps game. You know the annoying tone of a car alarm? That is like a lullaby compared to their game horn. When you hear people talking about bright lights, they all pale next to the ice house flashing strobes.
Despite the intensity, the experience is on my top ten list.
Before my ability to communicate with a keyboard, no one would believe a kid who wears noise blocking headphones around the clock would love the mayhem of a packed arena. I might never have experienced the magic of ice hockey.
Being able to tell people what I truly think has changed my life (though my dad now has to deal with me clapping back when he dishes out snark), and I can’t imagine going back to a time when I only had my natural speech doing a poor job of telling my thoughts.
For so many other autistic kids, having access to real communication is completely out of their reach. Having opinions should not be a privilege and yet for so many it is.
About the time I figured out that I could spell complex ideas, I also really made the connection that I am not unique in this ability. I look around my school and cry on the inside because I know every kid there is smart. Why shouldn’t they have the same communication teaching I had?
Until the schools alter their view of autism to make the leap from needing to be fixed to just needing to be taught how to communicate, opinions will remain the privilege of us few lucky nonspeaking autistics who can type.
Bearing that privilege in mind, here is my opinion. Stop drilling kids on useless, repetitive “mands” and teach them to spell.