“A Normal Life”

Very often I hear people say “all this autism positivity is fine for you high functioning types, but what about those who are low functioning, who are non-verbal, who will never have a normal life?”

I guess my response would be, since when is a “normal life” the only worthwhile existence? Why can’t somebody who is non-verbal lead a happy life?

Happiness looks like different things to different people. Maybe they don’t need a high flying career, a spouse and kids to make them happy. Maybe for them happiness is collecting green straws.

And if they’re satisfied with that, what’s the problem? Why should their happiness count for any less because they find it in the simple things in life?

For such individuals, autism positivity means valuing their happiness rather than mourning the fact that they don’t conform to society’s standards of what success and normality look like.

When advocates like myself talk about embracing the positives of autism and nurturing the spark within each autistic, we’re not just talking about savant-type “superpowers” but also simply focusing on the things that bring a person joy and fulfillment.

Because at the end of the day, what is more important; a “normal life”, or a happy life?