You’re sitting in a restaurant with a friend trying to figure out what to eat for dinner. You decide on a savoury beef goulash, and your friend orders a banana split sundae.
“Whoa, what about dinner?” you say. “I thought we came for dinner, no?”
“Oh, right,” your friend says. “OK, I guess I’ll start with the blueberry pie. That looks yummy.”
“Uh…no, that’s not dinner either. Pick dinner food.
“Dinner food, right, yes. Um…well, the carrot cake looks –”
“Nope! Try again.”
“HOLY COW! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? PICK A STEAK OR SOMETHING!”
Now, unbeknownst to you, the waiter had accidentally given your friend a dessert menu instead of the entree menu, so that’s why your friend keeps making all of these weird choices.
Without pretending to speak for all autistic people, I can tell you that for me the situation with autism is a lot like that. From a perceptual and conceptual standpoint, I live in a world that is quite different from that of so-called “normal” people. But for me at least, and unlike with the restaurant scenario, this perceptual and conceptual “menu” of mine actually overlaps sufficiently with that of everyone else’s so that I’m able to communicate and function under many conditions well-enough. For example, I’m definitely not actually delusional or hallucinating, but under various circumstances my behavior can strike many as bizarre or crazy, as if I were delusional or hallucinating.
So if you ever witness me making choices that strike you as, well, bizarre, it’s just because I’m not choosing from the same menu as you. You’re making your choices off of your Normal Person’s Menu and I’m making my choices off of my Autistic Person’s Menu.
Two different people, two different menus.
I hope that’s helpful!