1. Why is it perfectly okay for a child to rock back and forth sitting on a swing, but not rock back and forth sitting on the floor?
2. Why is it perfectly okay for an adult to rock back and forth sitting in a rocking chair, but not rock back and forth sitting on the floor?
3. Why is it considered very romantic for two young people to rock together in a swing, but if they were to sit on the floor and rock together, others would very likely attempt to separate them?
4. Why is the ritual of lining things up considered a meaningless activity indicative of pathology, while the ritual of sitting for hours in a line of cars on the highway during certain weekends of the year is considered vital to observing a national holiday?
5. Why is hand-flapping considered an activity with no apparent purpose, while saying “How are you?” without actually meaning it is considered a necessary social skill?
6. Why is finger flicking called a stim while pencil twirling is called a cool thing to do when you’re bored in meetings?
7. Why is echolalia on the part of a single individual an indication of a disorder, while a ritual in which thousands of people obsessively repeat absurd statements such as “Obama wasn’t born in America” is an act of free speech?
8. Why is a passion for everything associated with Star Wars considered an unhealthy obsession, while a passion for everything associated with the New England Patriots is considered a sign of a loyal fan?
9. Why does perseverating on spinning objects buy you a trip to the developmental pediatrician, while perseverating on the debunked idea that vaccines cause autism buys you a spot on Oprah?
10. Why do neurotypical people accuse autistics of lacking empathy when we are not responsible for most of the bullying, warfare, and injustice in the world?
Do you have any answers? Or just questions that make your head hurt? Let me know.
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Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg’s recently published memoir is The Uncharted Path: My Journey with Late-Diagnosed Autism.
[image: Migraine Day, Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg]