Competent, capable, different not disabled

Swan family of Bute

What is the Spectrum?

Autism and Asperger Syndrome are both part of the Autism Spectrum, which is an entirely normal part of the human diversity spectrum. It is presently thought that 1 person in 100 is on the spectrum.  


Autism and Asperger Syndrome are conventionally defined as disorders of communication, social interaction and imagination. They are unfortunately defined in medical language, which isn’t awfully pleasant when it applies to you, but for “disorder” read “different from the majority”. To diagnose someone with Autism, differences in all three of these areas are needed. For a diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome, only differences in social interaction and imagination are needed. However, many people think there is no difference between Autism and Asperger Syndrome and that they are both exactly the same condition.


I think it is more useful to define the Autism Spectrum as a sensory processing difficulty, which has consequences for communication, social interaction and imagination. I reckon if you improve the sensory processing issues, than at least some of the social and communication ones sort themselves out. Ideas and advice on how to do this are in this website and explained in more detail in my book “Are you Eating an Orange?”.


It is hard to generalise, since people on the spectrum are as varied as everyone else, however, we might have been slow to start speaking when we were young (some of us never learn to speak), we tend to communicate directly rather than indirectly. We might find it difficult to make friends; we might appear to others as passive, aloof, eccentric or completely normal. We might have some unusual mannerisms or none and we may have difficulty with eye contact or body language. We may be rigid thinkers rather than flexible thinkers. We may sometimes be untactful; it might be hard for us to understand someone else’s feelings or point of view unless they explicitly tell us these things. We tend to have interests that are long and deep rather than broad and shallow and we may prefer routine to spontaneity. We are probably detail-people rather than big picture viewers. We may respond more logically than emotionally in some situations. We might have any level of intelligence, including exceedingly bright. We might have any level of social ability. We are also likely to be honest, loyal, creative, hard-working, passionate about fairness and following rules, and we are people who value being good as opposed to merely appearing to be good. And, as in my case, we may look Polish!


Click here to read about some advantages of being on the Spectrum.




To contact, e-mail: debi@aspiedebi.com

“Are you needing the kettle?”


“I’m needing the sink once, the kettle once and the fridge twice.”


Me, giving a wee bit too much information.