By Nick Hughes, Intern
In the last article I went into some detail about the basics of autism. Here it is in case you have not read it: Autism Basics
As some of you know, that is not all there is to it. Autism is a complex and hard to understand condition that people have. There are things that people with autism do that they themselves cannot explain. An example for me is my tendency to try to integrate Star Wars into everything that I do. Like I did just now. The National Autistic Society has a wonderful article they published that gives a lot more insight into obsessions than I ever could. You can view that here.
Why Star Wars matters so much to my Autism
My takeaway from said article is that I am obsessed with Star Wars and there is nothing wrong with that. It is just apart of my condition. Star Wars relaxes me and it makes me happy. Take my Facebook profile picture for example:
That is the first profile picture I ever uploaded to Facebook. Now, that may not seem like a big deal to some of you, but look at it from an autistic person’s perspective. I was comfortable enough to pose, but only with Star Wars props. Eight years ago I hated having pictures taken of me, and now I pose? The point being that people with autism’s obsessions are not a big deal. It is just a way that we cope with our issues.
Obsessions are a double edged sword though. With all the knowledge that I have gained about Star Wars, I know very little about other things in the science fiction genre. I have missed a lot because I am always looking up the next big Star Wars thing, or I am coming up with a new theory on who Supreme Leader Snoke is. (I have about three ideas) Being a respected member of the Star Wars community, that success came a cost. I lost out on a lot of social opportunities. Instead of going out to social functions; I always stayed home and watched, read, or played Star Wars. Shame is what I initially felt looking back at that time in my life, but now I look at it as a learning opportunity,
Social Skills were born from my Obsession
Having since developed passable social skills, I am quite adept at talking to others now. Hence having this internship. If I would not have developed social skills I do not think I would have ever been able to go to the internship fair that got me here. I am quite thankful that I have developed social skills, but I am not upset that they took so long. Patience is something that I learned at an early age and with that patience I waited. Developing my skills as I went along, and I am now in college, doing an internship, and enjoying life in general.
Star Wars nurtured my social skills, believe it or not. I would communicate behind a screen. Which sounds like a bad thing some times, but in my case it let me experiment with how I talked to people. I was able to script my conversations and I always felt comfortable talking about Star Wars with complete strangers. Star Wars bridged the gap between me and other people.
It sounds odd, I know, but I think that it is true. Through Star Wars and the internet I developed social skills. Being autistic slowed my social development and I know that I was farther behind than my entire class, but Star Wars helped me get out and I am thankful for that.