Clem Bastow grew up feeling like she’d missed a key memo on human behaviour. She found the unspoken rules of social engagement confusing, arbitrary and often stressful. Friendships were hard, relationships harder, and the office was a fluorescent-lit nightmare of anxiety. It wasn’t until Clem was diagnosed as autistic, at age 36, that things clicked into focus.
The obsession with sparkly things and dinosaurs. The encyclopaedic knowledge of popular music. The meltdowns that would come on like a hurricane. The ability to write eloquently while conquering basic maths was like trying to understand ancient Greek. These weren’t just ‘personality quirks’ but autistic traits that shaped Clem’s life in powerful ways.