Got an hour? I could probably write a verrrry lengthy piece on this, if my hands could handle that much typing this morning.
There are a lot of myths out there still regarding autism. Seriously, it’s 2019, and people are out there choosing to NOT fully understand it. I say that because with all the credible and heavily researched information available to us anytime we want to access it on our phones, computers, tablets, you name it, there is no excuse for not understanding how this works, lovelies.
I’m going to break it down, and many other writers/bloggers/vloggers have done this before me so I don’t know that you’ll learn something new, but I hope that you do.
- Autism is hereditary. Babies in utero already have this neurological processing, so I’m sorry to tell you this but it is not a result of vaccines (thanks so much, Wakefield, for your false study). It is not a result of environmental factors either, so chill out.
- Being autistic can mean having the ability to problem solve in creative ways that no one considered. It can mean seeing beauty in small details such as the barely perceptible pattern on a flower petal. It is a way of processing the information coming into our brains from the outside world.
- The “increase” in diagnosed cases of autism is due in large part to the new diagnostic criteria in the DSM-V. Doctors now know better that the people who went undiagnosed before or were incorrectly diagnosed should have been given this diagnosis all along. There are not more autistic people than ten/twenty/100 years ago, there are more diagnosed people. There is a huge difference between the two.
- Just because I’m an adult who communicates verbally, has a family and a job and a place to live, does not mean I can’t be autistic.
- Autism is a spectrum, but it is NOT linear. Artist Rebecca Burgess created this comic to explain the spectrum, and I really like this one.
- Masking (pretending to be like neurotypical people) is exhausting. I am fortunate to have a partner who gets that I need stim time. I am also fortunate to work in a place where I can more or less be me, and if I can’t be then at least I have my own office where I can get my work done and fidget freely.
- There are coexisting conditions that many autistic people have. These can be anxiety and depression, digestive issues, Ehlers Danos (and other related connective tissue disorders) Reynaud’s (a circulation dysfunction), seizures, ADHD, and more. When people refer to autism and “behaviors”, often the root of a behavior is related to a coexisting condition rather than the autism itself. It is vital to determine this rather than simply attributing everything that someone experiences to the fact that they’re autistic.
- Functioning labels are so awful. Please stop saying that someone has “mild” autism. How you experience that person might be mild, but their neurology is not “mild” or “severe”. Also saying “high-” or “low-functioning” is just simply not okay. I could link to all the other articles I’ve read about why this is ableist and harmful, or you could Google it.
- There are a LOT of autistic people out there who have written many many things. Read them. Hear the message. Did that? Good. Now it’s your turn to be a good ally and go out there into the world and do a little myth-busting of your own.
Okay, the Beautiful Noise mini lecture series is over for today. These are things that I hope you already knew, but if you didn’t then I’m glad you read this far.