Today is the Motormorphosis conference in Herndon, Virginia. For those who aren’t familiar, it is the flagship conference of the International Association for Spelling as Communication (i-asc.org). This is a wonderful organization that help people with limited verbal language communicate by spelling. I was supposed to be at the conference but got sick with Covid this week so we had to stay home. But my older brother Ben and my sister-in-law Becky are there on my behalf. They showed me what it was all about over a FaceTime call. It was fun for me to see other people with autism like me who are using their talents to advocate for improved awareness of our abilities.
The feeling that I got, even over the phone, is that these are my friends. In school, I never really had a friend. I’m not trying to write a sob story; I’m just telling the truth. There were plenty of people who were very nice to me, and I even had some peer support advocates who were my age and were very kind. But that is not the same.
A friend is someone whom you can share your feelings with, and they understand you. They want to be around you just because. Autism is a stingy beast. It takes away that capacity to be able to communicate socially and that makes it hard to interact with others. And even though it would still be tough to have a typical friend relationship as most people would define it, it makes me happy to just know that there are others out there who truly understand me.
So, cheers to my new non-speaker friends at Motormorphosis in Virginia! I hope to meet you all in person someday soon. Because I know that you know that just being together is enough.