A lot of people are familiar with Autism from the movie Rain Man, and while the Tom Cruise-Dustin Hoffman film is not an inaccurate depiction of Autism, it is one type of “white male” version: Dustin Hoffman’s character, Raymond, has clear social skills abnormalities, but gifts in his numerically-based interest of recalling, by memory, baseball stats and telephone information.
There’s also the story of Temple Grandin, touted as the female version of Autism. She is known for thinking in pictures, and being able to envision complex systems before they’re produced. She can also empathize with animals so she can tell when they’re scared. She has used her interests to revolutionize the meat industry to make it considerably more humane. Movies and biographies tell about how her sensory issues make it difficult for her to be touched.
The trouble with these two being the primary representatives of Autism is that it’s hard for people to realize they may very well know Autistics in their lives, but neither they, nor the possible Autistic person, is aware of their possible difference because they’re not “Rain Man” enough or “Temple Grandin” enough.
But we have a saying in the Autism community: If you know one Autistic…you know one Autistic.
So, let’s look back in time at your school experiences.