During a 3-hour drive home from a specialty doctor at a northern hospital, we took a two-lane highway into the night. After I flipped a blinker, and watched a red light flicker along wisps at the side of the road, I asked my husband, “Do you see the fog?”
“No,” he said.
“Look at the side of the road,” I said, “down below, in the headlights.”
“I don’t see it,” he said.
Ten minutes later, the fog fell heavy upon us.
“That’s what it’s like for me in the classroom,” I told him. “When a light is about to go out, I see it oscillating before everyone else. Then I ask people, ‘do you see that light flickering,’ and they don’t—until two weeks later.”
He nods. “Yeah, I knew you saw the fog; I just didn’t.”
“In the future,” I said, “do you think sensory sensitivity would be useful to the human race? With neuralaces and genetically engineered babies on the horizon, I feel like trying to ‘cure’ autism could erase our ability to perceive parts of the world, and it makes me sad; not just for autistic people, but for all the information that won’t be experienced anymore.”
That’s why I advocate the social model for disability. I don’t want a cure. We don’t need a cure. Sensory sensitivity can be exhilarating. It can also give me migraines—but part of that is because our world’s designed for neurotypical people, with lights that are cheaper instead of gentler, and sounds that are louder rather than sweeter.
If everyone were genetically tuned for sensory sensitivity, we’d build a very different world.
Kourtnie has an MFA in Creative Writing from CSU Fresno and a BA in English from CSU Fullerton. Visit Kourtnie.net to read her dev blog or fey.earth to try out her games and stories.