Everybody in our family has Autism. My husband’s Autism makes him a mathematician, all logic and reason. And me, my Autism makes me a writer. I write long paragraphs because I fear my words won’t be enough. My son’s Autism makes him an encyclopedia. He remembers just about everything he reads or hears. The cats have Autism, too, but we just call that being cats.
But my niece’s Autism, her Autism, is more like the Autism-of-possibility, like a potential future awakening she doesn’t yet see she has, as if in the future, someday, we will have a long talk and the hours she spends on art, and she amazes us all with her talent, and her interest and gifts in robotics and computers, where she spends so much time learning how things go together, and her love of acting and performing, where she spends so much time trying to memorize and to pick the right costume, yet is afraid to talk to strangers and still, at twelve, might hide behind her grandmother, will all make sense. The art, the robotics, the acting, and the fear of social speaking are all part of the Autism that’s all her own.