Weird name for a post, but basically one of the many terms used to describe autistics like me. Who have pretty good jobs, can function (relatively well I think) in the ridiculous mess that is modern society. Why unicorns? Because apparently we don’t exist and the myth of us is bad for the more impaired autistics of the world. Or in other circles (normally when we’re challenging someone) we aren’t really autistic. Irrespective of the fact my diagnosis came via a professor and is not really up for debate by someone who read about autism online shared a friends post on Facebook.
I put these people, and it’s a pretty broad spectrum(pun intended) of those who would otherwise be regarded as quite rational; into the same boat as flat earthers and climate change deniers. And guess what? like the Autistic spectrum NO! EVERYONE IS NOT ON IT SOMEWHERE!! (any hardcore Terry Pratchett fan will understand the use of double !!) They won’t engage in a logical debate on the issue, they simply aim to shut the argument down without presenting any real form of evidence based counter argument that holds up to close scrutiny . They form online echo chambers where the only view heard is the same as their own, and they stay in their clique until someone challenges their world view, or they read a view they don’t like, and attack it and or the person.
**sidetrack thought**, maybe I should devise an idiocracy spectrum that starts at flat earther (severely impaired)and heads toward the moderate (politician and tabloid journalist) and mild (estate agents), there could be a few quid in diagnostic quackery and treatment with varying sizes of hammer.
Anyway I don’t want to be a unicorn and it doesn’t fit me so I’ve decided (as is my right to identify) that if I’m a mythical creature I’m actually a Dragon (specifically, a blue one), I prefer dark caves, or wilderness, I hoard (books and knowledge in my case) and I’m quite amiable if approached correctly, or a vision of hell if not. There you go my case for the autistic dragon.
Meandering to a point eventually is the fact that, I find the real stupidity in infighting. Whether you agree with a neurodiverse paradigm or not, makes no difference. Let the psychologists and neurologists argue over ICD and DSM definitions and pathologies, that doesn’t make a difference day-to-day. It won’t get more autistics support, or jobs. That’s up to the rest of us, there needs to be more pragmatism, that does not mean we make more fit in to what society says, that’s just the majority dictating and they are not always right. History is littered with examples of this, shell-shock sufferers be shot as cowards is a good one. There needs to be better inclusion, and better quality advice out there. I sat in on a webinar where we were basically told that autistics make great baggage handlers. I was disgusted, it took hours me to calm down, it was the closest I’ve come to a full on meltdown at work. I wouldn’t have minded if it hadn’t been an organisation apparently promoting autistic inclusion. There was a positive out of it though, I thought that’s so crap I can do better! So I wrote my own which I was asked to deliver to an online audience of about 50. Afterwards I found out they were all clinicians, but the feedback from them was great and really encouraging (and a couple contacted me to say they were diagnosed and really appreciated what I was doing) .
I’m lucky, I’ve done so much over the last couple of years around diversity and inclusion. I work with people for who it’s not really a conscious effort to be inclusive, it’s just the people they are. That culture is infective given the chance to grow and thrive. There will always be those who won’t buy into it, but as the shifts occur they become the ones who become the minority and have to control their view. BUT, it’s a massive but though, they have the right to think that way, the right to free thought is inexorable and supersedes everything. Challenge, debate, discuss different ideas and perspectives. I work with someone who I’m really proud to call a friend we agree on an enormous amount but we have polar views on person first language. It works for her and I totally understand why, it doesn’t for me and she understands my reasons. We can have a perfectly rational debate about it, agree to disagree and move on
Most of the support is geared around children and rightly so. But there is so little for adults, there needs to be more obvious adult role models, coaches and mentors for them to look at. Not just the famous ones, but the ones that have simply managed to build a fulfilling life without needing to radically change who they are to fit in. I’m not going to call myself a role model (I’m not that narcissistic) but I do feel a responsibility to do what I can to help and support those who haven’t made it to the place I have yet (oh god am I showing empathy again?). Just because it’s the right thing to do, because it wasn’t there when I grew up, does not mean it shouldn’t be now.
I’ve never presented any of my views as anything other than my own, if you choose to agree or disagree that’s fine, so long as you don’t impose that on anyone else. If anything I’ve said has helped someone understand a bit better that’s great and what I set out to achieve. If you don’t or think you’ve wasted you time, oh well the name of this blog should have given you a warning, that ones on you for not reading the label properly.
Be nice to each other