Initial thoughts about Switched On

EDIT NOTICE: Small typos and details clarified

No terrible spoilers here, just a couple of notes about what I’ve read thus far. This book is amazing!

I’ve been digesting the wonderful book Switched On, by John Elder Robison.

The foreword by Dr. Alvaro Pascual-Leone was incredibly touching. As I read his words, I unconsciously found what he said to be like the compassion of Oliver Sacks that Sue Barry told me about. Then, to my surprise, he talked about that very same compassion of Oliver Sacks in the same way Sue Barry described.

I’m not finished with Switched On yet, but in some parts, my jaw was dropping because his experiences with TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) parallel mine with vision therapy in a few ways. Sharper senses is one big experience that we share in common. Mr. Robison and I also share the same desire to mitigate debilitating aspects of disability. I don’t want to say too much because I want my book to be novel (no pun intended).

In some ways, of course, we are different. I’ve had a better sense of reading and sensing emotion than what Mr. Robison describes, but it has always been uneven. Due to my powers of observation, I have come to the point where I can also guess what people are thinking or have a good idea of what’s going on (and that can be uneven, too). I’m just not equipped to really play the game (and that depends on the people I am dealing with). Another difference is that I finished high school and went on to earn a Bachelor’s and two Master’s degrees, but the autism spectrum burst forth because I was burning out from a certain degree of passing. Of course, one Autistic person is one Autistic person; every one of us is different.

Most of my book manuscript, which is now around 10,000 words at the time of this blog post, is autobiographical so far, because I really can’t talk about the wonders that vision therapy has done without talking about how my comorbid vision problems have affected my life. I’ve felt some intense emotions as I have typed it, and Switched On has brought back many memories of my life that I will share in my book.

I feel that I must tell my story for two reasons:

1.) Vision therapy is much more difficult for Autistic people. I’ll write about the issues I came across as best as I can. I’m still at it (but much improved after 6 1/2 years doing it on and off with great strides taking place even now).

2.) I want to claim the life I have always wanted.

I’ll save the details of that for my book. My book will be a tale of growing up in rural East Texas without me knowing about my being Autistic and the life that came after high school. It’s been rough, but there are as many good things as bad in my story.

Every day, I type more and more manuscript after finishing my rounds of therapy. I feel as compelled as John Elder Robison to write and advocate, plus I can’t wait to tell my story of autism to the world.

Disclosure to John Elder Robison: I haven’t read your other books yet (employment situation), but I plan to do so as soon as I can afford them.

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