As my teenage daughter parades around the living room wearing a plastic Viking helmet and donning red round hippy sunglasses dancing to music, I look to see my boyfriend’s son laughing hysterically at nonsensical YouTube videos and I think, “This is perfect.”

I have no need to correct anyone for odd behavior, for not acting their age and I have no need to judge these unique kids at all. Here, in this new family I can relax and let each of us just be our quirky  Asperger’s self.

With a terrific sense of humor, with a view of the world more sensitive than most, our world is populated with these magical, amazing beings who feel more, see more, hear more, taste more and generally experience life more intensely.

It is a joy to find places where you can just be yourself and not feel criticized or measured by some inane social standard. It is a relief to find a partner who has an Asperger’s child who relates to the level of patience, and compassion and love required to raise a special needs kid. In a society that pushes for you to be cool, popular, performing at peak level, excessively successful and socially in the in crowd, families with special needs kids have to navigate around all of that and redefine success, relationships and performance on a daily basis.

Why does it take labeling someone with a condition like Asperger’s for us to learn to accept difference when really, if we are honest,  we all are a little different. And in a world where people thrive on climbing to the top, being the most socially accepted, being a part of a herd and the one who dies with the most toys,  I’d choose to walk to the beat of my own drum and let my freak flag fly happily.