If you read the figures, or more to the point, believe them, then as many as 1 in 45 of us might be Autistic.
If you believe the figures.
Whilst I think that sample sizes have led to a mass of conjecture and broad guess work when it comes to identifying Autistic people I think it’s safe to acknowledge that there are a sufficient number of us to take notice of.
And there are clearly a large number of people, especially women, trapped in systems where a formal diagnosis is either a long way off or a forlorn hope.
So there are more of us out there.
I am Autistic and, honestly, wouldn’t have it any other way. I am who I am and I don’t regret that, genetically, I am Autistic. Nor, do I suspect, would many others.
So Autism, on a personal level, matters to the individual.
But look at it on a wider scale and we see evidence that Autistic people have played a key role in advances in science and mathematics and produced wonderful art and music. So it matters and has mattered to humanity that Autism exists.
We live in a predominantly neurotypical world.
No matter how many Autistic people there are, the odds, if I can put it that way, will always favour neurotypicals over us. We will always be outnumbered and probably, even with best guesstimates, by a considerable margin.
But we are a significant group.
And that’s something that shouldn’t be overlooked.
I’ve heard and perhaps you’ve heard, NT people commenting on our existence, asking us why we make such a fuss. So why do we ?
Personally speaking it’s not about ego. I’m not better than anyone else. I’m just me and I’m quite happy with that but my life, and others would be so much easier if we had a few adjustments in our lives. Adjustments that we require the predominantly NT universe to make.
We aren’t talking huge expense. We aren’t talking about anything that would negatively affect NTs. We are talking about simple things that would help us which, in turn, would help you.
Things like, being able to contact by text or email rather than the phone; quiet rooms for lunch; less open plan offices; less harsh lighting; clearer directions and signage; greater understanding of what we can bring to an employer without the ridiculous expectation that we are all savants; and, in general, asking us what we need rather than assuming or expecting. We are human beings and you can talk to us. Just don’t expect too much eye contact.
We matter because we give so much to the world. Sometimes it’s not earth shattering or world changing but something that gives pleasure because it’s been designed by an Autistic person whose unique brain allows him (or her) to see beyond the norm and produce something nobody else would think off. And I’m looking at a certain, previously pink haired but now a mixture of blues and purples, garden designer, when I say that.
Autism matters because, beneath the Autism, we are human beings and generally, a nice group. We aren’t aggressive or rude, are more introvert that extrovert, think a lot, read a lot and have ideas that can and have changed the world.
Autism matters because we see things differently and difference should be celebrated, not tolerated begrudgingly or ignored.
Autism matters because we matter!
If we sometimes come across as asking for too much it’s not because we are in the mood to fight, we are just looking for our place in a society that’s not really ours and one that we struggle to fit in to. It’s not a personal thing if sometimes we come across as demanding or frustrated. We would just like you to listen to us.
We do matter.
Please show us that you think we matter too.