This post was originally published by JoJo on oddcog, at http://www.oddcog.com/2013/04/30/oddcog-celebrates-1000-ausome-things-autismpositivity2013/. It is reprinted here with permission from the author.
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.