Video: Rosie King | How Autism Freed Me To Be Myself
‘People are so afraid of variety that they try to fit everything into a tiny little box with a specific label,’ says 16-year-old Rosie King, who is bold, brash and autistic. She wants to know: ‘Why is everyone so worried about being normal? She sounds a clarion call for every kid, parent, teacher and person to celebrate uniqueness. It’s a soaring testament to the potential of human diversity.
‘But if you think about it, what is normal? What does it mean? Imagine if that was the best compliment you ever received. “Wow, you are really normal.” (Laughter) But compliments are, “you are extraordinary” or “you step outside the box.” It’s “you’re amazing.”So if people want to be these things, why are so many people striving to be normal? Why are people pouring their brilliant individual light into a mold? People are so afraid of variety that they try and force everyone, even people who don’t want to or can’t, to become normal. There are camps for LGBTQ people or autistic people to try and make them this “normal,” and that’s terrifying that people would do that in this day and age.’
When she was nine years old, doctors confirmed Rosie King’s self-diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome. With two younger siblings severely affected by autism, Rosie had a burning desire to help make the world a more tolerant place for people with autism ever since she was a young girl. She found the opportunity to do so when her family was invited to do a local news segment on her mother’s children’s books, which featured Rosie’s illustrations. Her lack of inhibition made her a natural presenter, and she was asked to host BBC Newsround’s special program “My Autism and Me,” bringing her a much wider audience and an Emmy Kid’s Award. Rosie continues to raise awareness about autism, and is working towards her goal of becoming a professional actress and storyteller.
Love this. Good for her!
You might be interested in my book: “Behind the Mirror,” (Johns Hopkins U. Press, 2021) The centerpiece is the life story of Jeanne Simons, who in the center she founded in 1955 was the first to prove that even children with severe autism could be successfully integrated into society. She did not discover until she was middle-aged that she herself was a high functioning person with ASD – what then would have been called Aspergers. You might be especially interested in the last chapter (Who am I?), in which she describes her reaction to this realization.
Her achievements opened the way to look at and treat neurodivergent children in a child-centered way that valued and used their strengths, rather than focussing on their limitations.
You can reach me at: email@example.com