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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health and Safety Guide

ASERT has compiled resources for those with autism and those who care for people with autism relating to the current COVID-19 outbreak.

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Defining Normal

By Sarah Matincheck

Most (if not all) of my life, I’ve asked myself one question: “Why can’t I be normal?”

In elementary school, I was not very social during recess like the other kids. I didn’t make friends that easily, which made me feel alone.

When I found out I had Autism, my elementary school librarian helped me find books so that I could do some research and better understand it. I learned that those with Autism aren’t really that social around people and don’t always have the social skills needed to make friends.

That’s when it hit me – a whole new question: “What exactly is normal?” But being normal looks different for everyone. For example, someone’s idea of a normal family might be a loud family, it might be an athletic family, or it might be a quiet family.

When I was a little girl I wanted to be like the other people; hanging out with family/friends, socializing, trying new things, and all that stuff other people do. Once I was able to define Normal, I was able to see that I’m actually glad I’m Autistic. It means I stand out from everyone else in my own way. It’s not criminal to be an individual – this is something that I say to myself when I start to feel like an odd ball around other people. I’ve learned some ways to overcome my own struggles with socializing, and now I am able to talk to other people a lot more easily than I used to. I even managed to make some new friends this summer and during my first semester of college, whom I truly treasure.

Always remind yourself that there’s a different definition of “Normal” for everyone in life. For example, when you see someone using a coping skill in public to calm themselves down, that is his/her Normal

I’ll be back again soon – See ya next time 😉