My wife and I were talking about how Mo, our daughter, has never known a world without streaming video.
“I’m not sure I would have liked that,” she said. “We played outside all the time, and we did so much else besides gluing ourselves to a screen.”
Me? If I grew up with Netflix, I’d have loved that. I’ll explain why.
But really, the “good old days” is a tired take. You wouldn’t give up your conveniences today to be much better off in yesteryear, without mobile phones, 24/7 shopping, and tortilla chip options other than ‘Nacho.’
The Life Autistic today is better than yesterday, and here’s why.
Awareness — remember how “all of a sudden” we have gluten allergies now? “*elderly voice* In my day, all we had were peanut allergies and irritable bowel syndrome and we liked it that way.” — Yeah no. In the same people just “have autism” these days, we’ve gotten better at understanding the human conditions, and with awareness comes progress.
Technology — I might have had an unhealthy Dragon Ball Z obsession back in the day, so when I had to shut off the TV for dinner and miss Goku turning Super Saiyan for the first time ever on US broadcast television, I was, uh, not well. I’d have loved Netflix, YouTube, being able to pore over and pour into obsessions but at least on my own terms! And things as simple as noise canceling headphones – talk about better crowd coping! It definitely beats sticking cotton in your ears
Connection — To think, there were no “online friends” back in the day. If I didn’t have the luxury of texting people or chatting, I’d be exposed as a hopelessly awkward conversationalist even today. To be able to think before I put words down and use writing as my preferred method — that’s my style, and it’s everyone’s style now. Thank goodness.
Resources — There are literal groups and organizations dedicated to helping children adapt and understand their world in The Life Autistic now. Today you can go to a school where trained staff understand you better and help address your needs, rather than kick you out for being able to read when the other preschoolers can’t.