I found out I was disabled at the age of 24 – and life has never been better

Learning who I am – an autistic, and therefore disabled, person – has been the most validating, freeing, and life-affirming realisation, writes Ellie Middleton

I’m no longer questioning if I’m a bad person – I just know that my brain is wired differently

At this moment, we know that the Earth is round. All the science that we learn, rules that we study, and laws that we understand are based on the knowledge that the Earth is round. But, not so long ago, we knew (or thought we knew) that the Earth was flat. So all the science that we learned, rules that we studied, and laws that we understood were based on the knowledge that the Earth was flat.

That shift – from understanding the Earth to be flat to understanding it to be round – is known as a paradigm shift: a fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions. A new lens through which we are able to see the world.

I’ve recently had a paradigm shift of my very own: an autism diagnosis. I’ve always known that I was a bit different. I’ve always been a bit stubborn, I’ve always felt like I was in my own little bubble somehow, and I’ve never quite managed to fit in with the people around me.

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