Sorry, Hannah Gadsby, But It Fucking Well Is The Autism

Exploding The Other Myth Of Being Autistic

#ACTUALLYAUTISTIC FOLKS on Twitter love to “explode myths” about autism, and they’re pretty good at it. They explode myths about communication, about empathy, about romance. If there’s a myth out there about autistic people, it’s regularly and routinely exploded.

There’s one myth, though, that they rarely seem interested in exploding, because I guess doing so wouldn’t fit the preferred narrative.

Autism is overwhelming. So people see the distress of it. But often in a lot of those distresses we’ve been dragged out of our little thought orgies, having a great time in our heads. Nobody sees that, and I don’t see that celebrated. It is different and it is not all sad. [People think] it’s a devastating existence. And it doesn’t have to be: It’s not autism that makes it difficult to live with autism. It’s the world we’ve created that is not geared in our favor.

That would be Hannah Gadbsy, the latest celebrated celebrity autistic person, in a piece for The New York Times, repeating this myth. It’s there right at the end.

Sometimes, it is autism that makes it difficult to live with autism. Or, to use my preferred language: sometimes it is being autistic that makes it difficult to live with being autistic.

My meltdowns are not the world we’ve created not being geared in our favor. My forgetting to eat or shit because hyperfocus is not the world we’ve created not being geared in our favor. My sensitivity to the bright, hot summer sun is not the world we’ve created not being geared in our favor. These things are being autistic making it difficult to live with being autistic.

That’s fine, of course. Everyone, neurotypical and atypical alike, has their problems to deal with. I just can’t stand that so many actually autistic people let stand this one particular myth.

There’s a lot to be said for the social model of disability, but it simply does not account for the entirety of the autistic experience. Meltdowns are disabling. Hyperfocus, to an extent, is disabling. Sensory sensitivities (which, no, are not all about human-caused stimuli) of course can be disabling.

Absolutely none of that is social.

I’ve talked before about how as much as recognizing my experiences in those of others online has been something of a godsend since my midlife diagnosis, I also often feel like an outsider even among the autistic. This is one of the reasons why.

Being autistic in and of itself can be disabling. Being autistic in and of itself can be difficult. I will never understand the compulsion to pretend otherwise, nor the willingness to overlook the harm that compulsion can bring to other autistic people seeking understanding, acceptance, and support.

Sometimes it is autism that makes it difficult to live with autism. Sometimes it’s the world autistic people have created that is not geared in some of our favor.

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Bix Mediocre

Hello. My name is Bix. This is my mediocre life. #ActuallyAutistic #LateDX