Plastic Man


Study of the world about me – as well as that between my ears –  convinces me that we have no idea the extent to which we evaluate humans based on how they look. We make assumptions all the time that outsides of a person (physique, accent,  behaviors) accurately reveal their insides.  What that person wants. How smart that person is. Who that person is, essentially.

Owen is here to remind us of how little we actually know, of even the most basic kind of knowing, about him, or possibly anyone else.


i am an autistic person who loves plastic. the fact is that the plastic loves me.  i actually hate playing with plastic.  but I have no ability to stop my hands.  i think that kind of stinks.  you think you know who I am.  but the fact is that that is not the real me.  the real me is buried under all the behaviors.  just remember that the next time you see me.

i believe i will overcome the obsession. i will no longer be plastic man.

January 2019


Owen wrote this in response to a call for articles on the topic of sensory experience. It was published in the volume 25, Spring 2019 edition of The Communicator, a publication of the Autism National Committee.  A few corrections were made of errors caused by involuntary moments, and spaces were added between sentences for clarity, otherwise it is as originally typed by the author, using supported communication. In supported communication the partner resists movements by the typer, and this resistance and emotional support allows a person with movement challenges to focus his movement and get his words down. For Owen to generate a capital letter requires a three step process with caps lock. He doesn’t always bother with them. Getting his body to sit still, and his hand to follow the direction of his mind is more important, most of the time.