Is autism a superpower?
I wish we could find a middle ground between “autism is a superpower” and “autism is the end of the world”.
Many believe we shouldn’t use severity levels anymore and that autism is a difference, not a disability.
I believe there’s a way to be an autism advocate without losing sight of how severely (and sometimes negatively) many autistic people are affected.
I personally see both sides of the spectrum every day. I live with the struggle of a disability that’s often ignored because it’s not obvious, and I’m fighting each day to take care of Charlie, whose struggles are extreme. The “same” disorder allows both the heartbreak of my child not being able to communicate most basic needs, and the joy of my being able to write about autism and discuss it with people worldwide.
The autism spectrum is broad
So when it comes to autism acceptance, I believe the answer is somewhere in the middle. We need to keep in mind how broad the spectrum is. There are people on both ends of it, and some somewhere in the middle too, with levels of functioning varying drastically from one person to another, and one day to the next too.
While it’s wrong to assume that someone who is severely autistic can’t do anything, or that someone who doesn’t speak can’t communicate, it’s important to remember that many autistic children never grow up to be independent adults. Some will never learn to communicate, and they’ll require 24/7 care for their entire life. It’s okay to see your autism as a gift, as long as you acknowledge that for many, autism is a severe disability.
Victor2020-11-28 at 3:43 PM
Great article Eileen! True acceptance requires understanding the diversity in autism itself and the different struggles and needs across the spectrum.