Authentically autistic

My Saturday rant. There’s a group for ASD that I’m a member of, where levels of Autism are mentioned, and the difference between the US and UK criteria used for diagnoses. 

What bugs me here is that – while I know I have Asperger’s, as does my daughter, somehow in people’s eyes who are uneducated about Autism, this diminishes our need for accommodation or services. 

I want to scream at them, “HELLOOOOOOO, we’re STILL AUTISTIC.” 

Being able to speak, verbalize, or what have you, doesn’t lessen our “autisticness” (yes I just made up a word, sue me). To me, it just means it’s really more difficult for OTHER people to see those traits common with autism in us. 

There is still this myth that persists in the neurotypical world that somehow, in order to be “authentically autistic”, we MUST have some episodes where we’re screaming like Rain Man, “RAIN MAN BURN BABY!! RAINMANBURNBABY!” Or “Screamed and pulled and hurt my neck” over and over again with monotonous repetition.

And if we don’t have these, then somehow we’re not “reallllllly” autistic. They then feel licensed to remark, “well obviously you’re VERY high functioning”, or “you must not be too disabled, at least you can talk/make eye contact/work/show emotion.” Take your pick. 

Autism is Autism, is Autism. You don’t get to define me by my “level” of functionality. As a spectrum, the traits do vary to a degree, but those of the common core still ring true. One is not more or less autistic, based on those assumptions or because one can perform a certain action better than another. What I MIGHT be able to do today, if I’m overstimulated or overloaded the next day, I might NOT be capable of doing the exact same thing. 

We’re still autistic, high functioning, low functioning, verbal, nonverbal. We still need to be heard, understood, and helped during times of distress. 

Until we remove the masks we wear to function in “normal” society, said society will still try to pigeonhole us into neat little boxes that make THEM feel safe, because they find comfort and feel more secure about themselves that way. 

/End rant.

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