‘Why don’t you write in English?’
Elisabeth from Brighton in the United Kingdom mails me the question why I keep writing in Dutch. After all, she says, your English is not flawless but good enough. Here at the Circle of Gifted Autistics, we enjoy your texts very much. Unfortunately we have to rely on a few members who translate your blog. Why don’t you give it a try and write in English?
Writing a text about my feelings, thoughts, ideas in a foreign language is tricky. Somehow I have to simplify what I mean. So that’s why I only write in Dutch, dear Elisabeth. Although I have had many years of education in English. Still it remains difficult to express exactly what I am trying to say.
Furthermore, I am a bit afraid to make stupid mistakes. English is rather difficult to write in. Especially if I want my text to be more than a series of online quotes put together. Or something like the texts and talks of non-native speaking politicians and entrepreneurs abroad. But then, why not give it a try? If everyone else fails to write well, I shouldn’t bother to make huge errors. It is, after all, a free world, and writing without errors is so unfashionable.
There is, of course, a lot to write about. On what autism exactly means to me. On behavioral and communicational challenges I experience every day. On sensory and social skill issues I’ve been trying to solve. I could try to write on the question of the cause(s) of autism.
Or how I could help a parent cope with their childs autism diagnosis. Although I would leave that to those who have more first-hand experience. Then I would rather write on dealing with spousal and other relationships. Or how to begin if someone you know has been diagnosed with autism. In that case I would emphasize some typical areas of strengths.
Writing my blog in English, I would stay away from certain topics. Like methodologies and treatments for autism for example. I don’t want to be like the many wannabe autism-experts that write blogs on that. Besides, there are so many of them, some backed by more research than others. Not to mention the more alternative interventions like swimming with dolphins and irlen lenses. Only the thought of having to swimming makes me agressive.
Yes, I could write about my weaknesses and my strengths, and linking them. Or on the many attempts to adjust my attitude, on the family dynamics, my early learning and teen years. And on thinking what the future will bring. But who wouldn’t that be too self-centered, or, like some say, too over-intellectual? So, unfortunately for you perhaps, I’ll stick to Dutch and leave the rest to native speakers and writers. Better safe than sorry.