A Statement on the Nature of Shapes by an Autistic Adult
Image description: An infographic titled Circular reasoning and the question of profound quadrilaterality. A statement on the nature of shapes by an autistic adult.
Image of blue (regular) rectangle. Subtitle: This is a quadrilateral. Text: It is called a quadrilateral because it has four sides. That is all that’s required. This one also happens to be a rectangle. Four sides = quadrilateral + 4 right angles = rectangle.
Title: These are also quadrilaterals. Images of a parallelogram, square, and trapezoid with definitions. Parallelogram: four sides = quadrilateral + opposite sides parallel. Square: four sides = quadrilateral + 4 equal sides and 4 right angles = square. Trapezoid: four sides = quadrilateral + 2 sides parallel = trapezoid.
Subtitle: Quadrilaterals. Images of parallelogram, rectangle, trapezoid, and square. Text: Each of these shapes is a quadrilateral. No one shape here is more quadrilateral than the others. Meeting other conditions does not change the shape’s quadrilateralness.
No subtitle. You might think that the square better captures the essence of quadrilaterality than the trapezoid. You might even think of the square as “profoundly quadrilateral.” But you would be wrong.
Subtitle: There is a group of shapes who would like to change the definition of quadrilateral. Image of 5 circles and a trapezoid. One circle is saying, “That one isn’t even rectangular!” The trapezoid is thinking, “Circular logic?”
Subtitle: This rectangle represents an autistic person. Text: A person is called autistic when they have social/communication differences and a need for sameness or repetition to a degree that affects major life activities. Image of a rectangle with the word “autistic.”
Subtitle: These quadrilaterals also represent autistic people. Image shows a parallelogram, square and trapezoid. The parallelogram says “autistic + ADHD + anxiety + gastrointestinal disorder. The square says “autistic + intellectual disability + epilepsy. The trapezoid says “autistic + depression + PTSD. Text: Each person has co-occurring conditions. These vary from one autistic person to another. The co-occurring conditions are not part of the definition of autism. They cannot make a person more or less autistic.
Subtitle: Did you know? Text: Accurate definitions and logic are access needs for many of us. I would be very happy to stop arguing about the definition of autism, but I cannot until my access needs are met. Think of it as an accommodation if you must.
Disabled people deserve access to the supports they need, whether due to autism or to co-occurring conditions. But squares are not more quadrilateral than trapezoids. There is no such thing as “profound autism.”