July 28th, 2017

Puzzled by those who don’t know the struggle


By Letter to the Editor on March 20, 2017.

World Autism Day is coming up on April 2, it is a day for awareness about autism and the puzzle piece is recognized is recognized as an symbol for awareness.

It is something that Parents of Autistics started in England back in the 1950s or ’60s because of the disorder.

Since the 1990s autistics have been disowning the symbol of the puzzle piece as an awareness symbol by saying “I am person not a puzzle.” That is because a person on the autistic spectrum understands themselves and their disorder. Much like those with a physical disorder will understand their disorder with time.

I will take this one step further.

I do not understand people who are not on the autistic spectrum. They are the puzzle to me. I will qualify that though. I do understand what we on autistic spectrum sometimes call “cousins,” those with mental illness and ADHD, but only to some extent, not completely. I think the puzzle of people is in the eye of the beholder.

I don’t think I will ever understand people who are not exactly like me but I do not have to to like being with them and enjoy their company. I do not have to change them to be like everyone else.

This is what puzzles me the most about people who are not on the autistic spectrum.

Diane MacNaughton

Medicine Hat

2 Responses to “Puzzled by those who don’t know the struggle”

  1. lucky13 says:

    Make your mind up Diane. A few weeks ago you had a letter published, saying that mental illness does not have to be constantly under the microscope. Now you have another letter, telling us you suffer from a mental illness (as if we did not know). So what is it to be? Do you want to keep ramming it down our throats, or forget you have a mental illness?

  2. daisybirdtwo says:

    Autism is not a mental illness. It is a neurobiological disorder. It can be comorbid with a mental illness such as bipolar like myself. Just like you can have asthma and heart disease. You may have more than one thing wrong with you. This is why we have many different departments in our health care system.


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