The debate as to whether the autism spectrum should be viewed as a disability or as a form of difference is one that never seems to cease. The majority of people that we spoke with talked of feeling different. Some viewed this as a positive feeling but others talked about a feeling of struggling to fit in or of feeling isolated. One description talked about always feeling that they were on the outside so hence a constant "trying to fit in", as no physical disability or disabled gear so no one could see there was a problem. A feeling of knowing that you are different, that you do things differently, and that some of the things you do are odd. Yet, being aware that everyone is different and each person has the right to be different, however, the majority of people don't fully understand what it really feels like to be the "Martian in the playground" so to speak. "Loneliness.... becomes the default setting" A lot of people talked about the feeling of being different to be a lonely experience, especially in scenarios of making friends and socialising. One example of this was Paul who talked about his unease in social situations when he was a child and how he did not feel comfortable getting involved in activities. Another woman described her hardest ordeal as being "trying to get on with everyone". She described it as that attempt at acting normal and how people would view her as strange as they didn't quite know what was wrong with her, even though she appeared to be acting in a normal way. Harriet talks about how she knew she was not like other people from her earliest memories, while Mark said he never really had a sense of belonging, his feeling being heightened since his parents and sister were all so alike, while he felt that he stood out as being different, "basically ... like a freak" was his description. The way that autism makes me feel, the way that it manifests itself could be very different from the effect that it has on the next person. That can, at times, make me afraid to talk about how I really feel, it makes me concerned that I may be set up as the "autistic standard" and that is something that I don't ever want to be. People can be cruel and this makes me cautious and wonder whether to continue as an autism spokesperson. That being said, every time I think that I will run away with my tail between my legs I receive an email from a mom who is desperately searching for the tiniest snatch of hope that she can make head or tail of whatever this is that is causing such stress to her child. She asks that I will give her even a sniff of understanding as to what her little one is feeling and I realise that my own fears or the comments of others are not enough to silence this important story. Autism is classified as a neuro-developmental disorder and is often manifest by a struggle with social situations, as well as difficulties with communication (verbal and nonverbal), sensory processing, and repetitive behaviours. I am going to take some of these and make them a little easier to understand for you - at least the ones that manifest in me - however, I want you to keep in mind that all of these 'psychological' manifestations are actually coming from that underlying neurological system of ASD.