Autistic Songs

Alan Griswold


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The Two-Thirds Rule

I am hesitant to put forth the two-thirds rule, because it is indeed the roughest of rules of thumb. But having found it helpful so far in my own parenting experience, and believing it might be of some service to others, I offer it here along with Thoreauís gentle admonition—that none stretch the seams in putting the garment on.

The two-thirds rule says that in development and maturation, particularly in those areas relating to acquisition of social and biological skills, autistic individuals will on average proceed at roughly two-thirds the pace of their non-autistic peers. Some autistics will be speedier, of course, while others will march to an even more measured beat. But as expectation, as seat-of-the-pants measuring, a two-thirds pace would appear to be a reasonable guide.

Examples of the ruleís application might include:

The above examples notwithstanding, the two-thirds rule is not intended as a tool for comparison. It is intended primarily as a means for enhancing understanding, and as an encouragement towards a more liberal use of patience and time. There is no shame to be associated with proceeding at a two-thirds rate, or at any rate indeed. Maturation is not a race. The quality of the finished product is far more important than the speed at which any development occurs. Plus we should not forget that autistic individuals receive significant compensation for their tardiness in the social and biological realms. Outside these domains, and particularly in areas of special interests, autistics will often quickly surpass their non-autistic peers (and in some cases, will manage to transcend). And one further thing I have noticed: upon reaching adulthood—at whatever calendar age that may be—autistic individuals often feel no urge to pause. Having battled their maturity battle for so long, perhaps they find it only natural to keep right on going, whereas with many non-autistic individuals I know, they seem particularly vulnerable to getting stuck near the developmental age of seventeen, the remainder of their biological time played out as little more than a reminiscence of glory days.

For autistic individuals, their glory days always seem to be the ones still ahead.

Copyright © 2011 by Alan Griswold
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