Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Search for the hidden horde continues

In my family and among my acquaintances are a number of non-autistic children. Some of their parents prefer to call them normal or typical or neurotypical. Still others insist upon calling them by their given names. Everyone seems to have an objection to one term or the other. I have been taught to call them youthful individuals with normalcy, but I am willing to change this if anyone can provide a convincing reason why I should. Why bother with such niceties when youthful individuals with normalcy are notorious for not listening to adults anyway?

Based on a sample of eight of these children I’ve known (a very reasonable number, I’ve been told), I have determined that most youthful individuals with normalcy (ages 2-5) share three core characteristics: 1) They tend to be sloppy eaters, often presenting with spaghetti or Kool-Aid stains on their shirts; 2) they run rather than walk when they are in a hurry to get somewhere; and 3) they grow at a frightening rate, sometimes requiring new clothing several times during a single year! For convenience, I will call this combination of traits the Triad of Endearments.

Many of the people now calling themselves non-autistic, normal, typical, or neurotypical adults did not have the same experiences which affect the youthful individuals with normalcy today. Sure, I know of a few adults who run when they could be walking; I’ve run into several who need to carry a Tide-to-Go stick at all times. There are others who find themselves buying new sizes of clothing well into adulthood. Remember, though, that all of these traits together are needed for the diagnosis. Truly, how many adults do you know who fit this profile? A few, perhaps, but 149 out of 150? I hardly think so!

These are the official markers of normalcy. But what has been overlooked? Call it an associated factor or even co-morbid if you must, but don’t be surprised to find an additional criterion added to the diagnostic literature in the near future. I don’t even have to tell you what I’m talking about, right? It’s become that widespread. Far too many of these children exhibit the same inexplicable and disturbing behavior: they wear shoes with lights in them.

I am not exaggerating when I say that growing up I did not know one single child who had shoes that lit up. Think about that. Zero. Not. One. Nor do I know any adults who exhibit this behavior. Sure, there may be a few; I don’t doubt that they exist. But not in the numbers some people are trying to claim. What could this mean? Can the shifts in the definition of normalcy account for all the difference? You do the math! Along with other researchers in the field, I am looking for the hidden horde of non-autistic adults. Where are all of these adults in stained t-shirts, running everywhere, lights flashing with every step? Ask yourself, is this something that could have gone undetected?

There are those, belonging to a radical happy-talking movement of mildly "normal" adults who would have you think that this can be accounted for by the natural maturation patterns of individuals with normalcy. Did any of them wear light up shoes? I doubt it.
No epidemic? Yeah, right. You believe it. But keep the Tide-to-Go handy. Sooner or later, somebody's going to have to clean up the stains from that Kool-Aid.


  1. LOL.

    I have a friend who buys shoes with lights for her own child, even though he doesn't ask for them. She's obviously one of those "Christmas light" mothers; maybe I should kidnap him and raise him myself, a la Bettelheim. :P

    Great post, Bev.

  2. Maybe it's vaccine related! Has anyone done a study?

  3. I do wish that people would drop the term "hidden horde" it makes us sound like Ghengis Khan's army massing secretly in the deserts of Tartary

  4. Great post Bev! I'm rolling on the floor laughing. You've got the epidemic rhetoric down perfectly.

    And Larry, I like the image of a secret army massing in the desert as it prepares to burst out and vanquish an unsuspecting society's preconceptions.

  5. Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant!

  6. I wonder if I'm old enough to be part of the 'hidden horde' (and I just can't help but see images of World of Warcraft), but otherwise, there is the rest of my extended family if anyone wants to actually investigate...

  7. You never fail to disappoint, Bev. Thanks for a good chuckle.


    I especially love all of the craftwork that you put into these. Just this line had me rolling in tears before I started to read the rest.


  9. Fantastically funny because it's true. I should know, I'm raising some of the stained, running characters who like shoes with lights. I've heard that in the UK alone, there's 1 born every second and the cost to the tax payers is astronomical.

  10. Very funny. Hopefully some day we can meet up and compare kool aid stains. ;)

  11. Never heard of this before! Shoes with lights... Well, America is always x number of years ahead of trotw (the rest of the world) as is were I live. Outside; my eyes are always trained (no pun intended) on peoples shoes as it is a good way to navigate large crowds without colliding incidents. Maybe it's just a way to watch were you go, these are dark ages.


  12. Oh, this was excellent; so well observed ! I laughed the whole way through.

  13. If shoes with lights are a clear marker of "normalcy" syndrome (whew, that must not be me then, I never had those), then what of children without lights, but who wear shoes with wheels in the heels?


  14. I started seeing shoes with lights in them in the '80s. My sister had some. Oh how I wish I could have some for myself now. (Visual stimming)

    But nobody woukd understand. And I would likely be fired! =P


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