I Dream in Autism
An Autistic World
This is a book worthy of a blog post and so much more. Richard Maguire invites the reader into his own head and explains what it is like for an autistic person to have to fit into a neuro-typical world.
It’s heart-breaking, funny and humbling from start to finish. There’s no sugar coating as Richard explains his experiences from childhood through to his adult life. It was so refreshing to read a book about autism from someone who IS autistic.
There are many lessons to learn from ‘I Dream in Autism’ and rather than listing them all here, I strongly urge you to buy his book and read for yourself. But I will share with you a lesson that I learned and have tried to implement.
I work with young adults with learning difficulties and autism. I’ve noticed a similar trend in some of the autistic people I have worked with. When they were interested in a topic, they focused so much energy into it and were enthused and passionate by whatever it was. But I didn’t really understand why and sometimes found it tiresome to listen.
For example, one young man I worked with was fascinated by TFL. He was able to recite any journey in London without the need for CityMapper. It was an impressive display of knowledge to say the least, but I never truly appreciated the fascination behind wanting to learn each journey in exquisite detail.
Richard Maguire has a few interests, but his main one is bicycles. He grew up struggling to communicate with his peers because the conversation was not easy for him to process and he couldn’t always identify social cues, until he built up an impressive formula in his head to work them out. But when he was talking to cyclists, he could speak freely and easily. It gave him a purpose, a social life and a passion that nothing else did. It helped him to feel less anxious and he made real friends. It’s his safe place and his passion.
This, amongst many other lessons, has taught me to be more patient and appreciative of others’ interests. I have a greater understanding now of why it is so important for someone with autism to have a passion like this. I am no longer so quick to change the subject.
I still have a lot to learn, but it is our duty to create a more inclusive world. Autistic people may learn differently, but this is to be celebrated rather than discouraged. The world is a little more colourful when we learn to accept others for who they are.
Read this book and share a lesson that stuck in your mind. I’d love to hear your feedback.