"Ella no puede hablar," says the cafeteria worker. She can't talk. This is false, but the young woman has learned to point to what she wants, instead of repeating herself over and over, uselessly ejecting quiet words again and again from her sparrowlike body. Her food is always the same: pink yogurt. Fruit crepe, strawberries, banana. A muffin, if she's hungry after that.She sits down and rocks stiffly, her back hitting the soft padded booth behind her. Wham. Wham. Wham. She sits in the same enclosed corner every time; the same seat, if possible. She wears thick headphones with the song of the day on repeat. Wham. Wham. Wham.She has heard snickers and smirks. She does not look at those people, or dignify them with a response. She just keeps eating. Wham. Wham. Wham.
What impressions might you have of this person?
I'm guessing that most laypeople and psychologists would label her with "severe autism." They'd say she's obsessive, with mindless rituals and routines, that she's