I can’t speak right now.
In “The Unrecovered,” the brilliant response post to the NYT’s unfortunate article “The Kids Who Beat Autism,” Chavisory includes these lines:
The parents, the teachers, the therapists and researchers without a clue who are celebrating “recovery” because they have, in their heads, defined autism as a fixed set of permanent inabilities—
-Are not the people who get told we’re too articulate to be autistic but have to ration our hours of speech per day.
No one is currently celebrating my “recovery” because, of course, I have not had one. But not even many of my colleagues seem to know or realize I’m autistic, and those who do know don’t realize that I, too, have to ration my hours of speech per day. And i have discovered something that uses up the “ration” before the end of daylight hours: teaching two sections of first-year writing back to back.
Now I’m at home, alone (my husband, who teaches band, is supervising a rehearsal at my old high school). And it’s not just spoken speech I don’t have; even writing is different, the words pinging off the tin walls of my brainpan until they rattle, one by one, jaggedly out the rusted hole in the bottom, onto the keyboard. Words are never uniform for me, but usually they’re not jagged; usually they’re at least rounded, softer. These are like stepping on Legos.
At least the cats don’t care if I talk. Gracie, our Turkish Angora, doesn’t even know the difference; she’s deaf. And epileptic. My cat and I are both neuroatypical with multiple disabilities. That’s something.