“When an academic writes accurately about aspects of autistic lived experience in their research, some people grumble. “All they needed to do was ask me and I would have told them,” some will say.”
The next time you are tempted to tell an Autistic person their interest is silly, trivial, a waste of time, weird, or pointless, stop—and remember why we love what we love. We are somebody, too, and we must be respected, protected, and never rejected.
Maxfield Sparrow unstrangemind.com Breaking Down Walls That Shouldn’t Exist Photo © Gavin Stewart, Creative Commons license. [image description: People using a wooden ladder to climb over the Berlin Wall during its 1989 fall.] One of the images that comes up again and again in articles about autism and Autistic people are photographs of children behind panes of textured glass. Their hands are usually pressed against the glass and their faces are distorted beyond recognition by the swirls and ridges in the surface of the glass. The images are meant to symbolize how we are “trapped inside autism” just waiting to be broken free from our “prison.” Journalists and their editors love those images; Autistic adults tend to really hate them. Years ago, when I was struggling hard with a deep self-loathing that I had projected onto my autism diagnosis, I embraced those images as well. I had been terribly, sometimes…