Autism and Carbon


Today is World’s Autism Awareness Day, and I couldn’t let it go without sharing some thoughts on the matter. I chose the video above, a RSA debate on Autism in the work place. We keep talking about integrating autistic people in our society, make them feel like they truly belong, and I believe a big part of it is giving them the chance to be a part of our work place. There are off course some challenges, but there are also some great benefits down the line. Autistic people are more focused, determined, have an amazing memory, and develop skills we will never dedicate ourselves to develop. On the other hand, social interaction will require some extra effort, but that is OK.

Diamond_and_graphite2Whenever I think about the differences among human beings, I think about carbon chains. Well known forms of carbon include diamond and graphite. Their composition is the same, carbon all over them. One is so soft, so fragile, so in fact that we can use it to write on paper. The other one is the hardest known substance on Earth, used to cut glass, and at the same time to precious people are willing to pay a fortune to exhibit on their fingers. What’s the difference? The way it interacts. If carbon organizes itself perfectly, so that everything looks just on their right place, nothing different, its graphite, extremely fragile. When nature allows it to be different, chaotic, then we have diamond. Strong and Precious, unique by definition.

Our society, our workplace, our communities, we are all carbon, we are all human beings. But we have to understand that some people are meant to connect with us differently in order to become a strong and precious society. Otherwise, we are meant to break due to the smallest touch.