What is Normal?

It seems that many people with Asperger’s or another high functioning autism spectrum disorder (which is way too long to use regularly) object to the term “normal”.  The rigors of school, particularly high school, mean that it all too often gets used pejoratively, as in: “Why can’t you just act normal?” or “Weirdos aren’t invited, only us normal people”.   The adults and young adults I know with Asperger’s have all expressed discomfort with the word, sometimes saying it doesn’t mean anything or doesn’t exist.

The true meaning of “normal” is simply the average of a group, in this case the behavior of a group of people.  Normal around here is the behavioral ‘norms’ of the 20 to 30 percent of people in the middle of the bell curve of those who have been born and raised in America.  That means lots of eye contact and hand shaking, relatively extroverted and somewhat assertive behavior.  If you behaved normally for Huntsville in China, you would be called weird, and unforgivably rude for making eye contact with perfect strangers.

 

Bell Curve normal distribution

bell curve

To be precise, normal is just everything that is one standard deviation to either side of average, as shown above.  For those who are two or three or more standard deviations away, it doesn’t mean you or anything you do is better or worse than those smack in the middle of the curve, just different.  You’ve probably heard that before, but think about it for a second.  The only reason society puts the burden of changing on people who find it hard to adapt is because it is still easier to get two to four percent of the population to adapt than 68% to 95% to change.  Sometimes neither group really has to change to get along, but sometimes behaviors and ideas in the middle of the curve conflict with those toward the edges.

For example, back in the day, Copernicus was NOT normal.  Everyone thought he was insane, or maybe evil, but definitely bizarre.  They refused to believe the earth went around the sun, they tried to burn him at the stake, but in the end it turned out he was right.  Now all normal people believe the earth goes around the sun.  The majority can and does shift its perspective and behavior, it just takes a lot of time because that’s a lot of people.

We named this venture Consurgo because it means “to rise up together” or as they say “rise above”.  If your brain works differently than average, and you find ‘normal’ offices with ‘normal’ cubicles and ‘normal’ (way too high) levels of background noise intolerable, you are not alone.  We also don’t believe you should have to be the only one to change, and just try really hard to put up with an intolerable situation.  Consurgo services is designed to make the work and the workplace meet the individual as much as humanly possible, as well as training and practicing skills each employee can use to rise above their challenges and meet their goals.  That goal is probably not to become totally average and “normal” because that would be boring.  A good job that uses your talent and skills is a realistic and achievable goal, with all of us working together.

One more thing:  if you’re an Aspie and work at Consurgo, then together we would create a new normal.  For this group, Asperger’s is normal.  Even in the small group of founding members, it describes the majority.

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