The rotten core at the heart of Autism

Look at me, I’m Autistic!!

I’m better than you. I know things, understand things, see things, in a way you never will. 

But I’m not..

I’m not better than you. 

Just different. 

You have talents I will never have. The ability to socially integrate yourself, to enjoy small talk, not to make that horrible faux pas, to understand the dynamics of social activities and the finer points of human relationships. 

But nobody is better. You and I are just different aspects of the evolutionary path. 

We want you to understand us, be aware of who we are and what we can do, accept us and use our talents because we have so much to offer you. 

Think of it as a mutually beneficial partnership. Our strengths and your weaknesses, your strengths and our weaknesses. 

But there is a rotten core at the heart of Autism. 

They use intelligence as a weapon. They’re not just good, they’re the best. They look down on NTs with a smugness and superiority complex that borders on the cloying. They make demands. 

And they claim to represent us!. 

We may well be highly intelligent (I’m not) and if you want to put your IQ out there to intimidate a few people then I am sure you will (IQ tests are pointless except as boosts to fragile egos). 

But being bright or clever or smart doesn’t make you a better person. 

“NTs must adapt. They must become aware. They must know about us and what we can do because we’re better than them” 

And that’s it isn’t it ?. What NTs “must” do!. 

Many NTs I know are ignorant of Autism. Yes they’ve heard the word, presume we’re all geniuses but lack any further understanding. Or understanding on a deeper level. 

But I don’t force them to understand. 

I ask them if they are interested. I offer my own insights. I offer educational material. I tell them my strengths. 

And I show them my weaknesses. 

I don’t use the word must. I don’t use my Autism and their ignorance as a club to beat them with. 

I’m not force feeding them! 

But some of a more militant leaning want exactly that. The scorn they pour down on the NT community for not knowing more or doing more, shames me. 

Demanding respect is a sure fire way of losing it. 

Cut the arrogance. Cut the bile. Learn respect if you want to be respected. Lose the ego. Start working with people. And start working with them at their level. 

We love big words. Even I don’t understand most of them. But if I, as an Autistic person, doesn’t know the point you are trying to make, then how will they ?. If I don’t understand the language of Autism (as you present it) then why should an NT even make the attempt ?. 

So cut the hyperbole. Cut the crap. 

And actually engage them in a conversation. Don’t shout at them. Don’t demean them for a lack of understanding or an understanding limited to Rainman. 

Establish what they know and use that as the starting point. Never assume. 

And stop thinking or saying you represent me. 

You don’t. 

I have my own voice. If you want to hear it then ask me to speak. 

I’m not in your gang. I’m not in your group, your tribe, your legion or your army. 

I am my own person. I want to be the friendly face of Autism. Correction. I want to be A friendly face of Autism. I’m not pushing anyone into anything. That’s what’s happened to me my whole life but I’m not out for revenge. It’s not about vengeance. It’s about living and growing. 

For everyone. NT and Autistic. 

But there is a rotten core at the heart of Autism. A militant movement that threatens to derail us. That could do us more harm than good. 

And I don’t want them to win. 

I don’t want them to represent me.

Do you ? 

12 thoughts on “The rotten core at the heart of Autism

  1. I know I can be a bit ‘militant’ and ranty sometimes, but I get what you’re saying. I think my worry is that whilst celebrating autism is great we must not forget how disabling it can be and often is. I’ve been pondering a blog on this topic for a while but struggling to find a way to word what I want to say without pissing everyone off. Maybe that shouldn’t bother me, but it does. Thank you for writing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • No, don’t let that bother you. We all have opinions and mines no more valid than yours. It’s just an opinion.
      Yes Autism is disabling and I have barely touched on that aspect merely because so many others cover it so well.
      But I will get there.
      Happy blogging!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Had to comment & you’re so right. It’s so disgusting to see how so many aspies especially shortly after been diagnosed become smug towards NT’s, even calling them NT’s sounds stupid to me. We’re all human beings. You can be confident in yourself without looking down on anyone else.


    • I am not a fan of NTs. And by that I mean using those initials, not them as individuals.
      I’m not keen on Neuroptypicals either but getting the identification accurately is very difficult.
      Non Autistic ?. To me that sounds a bit divisive, the haves and have nots.
      Normal would indicate we are abnormal and that’s just stigmatising.
      But how we address each other is so important.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah I agree when needed there needs to be a clear distinction, for example when explain something to someone, it just annoys me how people use it constantly as if they’re not human beings especially when it’s completely irrelevant and uncalled for. It’s like saying that black guy all the time or that white woman, when you can just call them by their names or say that guy or that woman.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I haven’t come across these people, luckily.

    You get these militant subgroups of minorities sometimes, asserting their superiority over the people who’ve treated them badly for so long – I think it’s a natural human tendency that exists in a few people (I don’t like the whole thing of resorting to racial analogies, but there were tiny splinter groups, following the achievements of the civil rights movement, who claimed black superiority – I think it’s a natural but rare reaction for a few people to defend themselves this way). And I think that a certain percentage of people just like to feel superior, whatever group they’re in.

    Many minority groups have noticed there’s a tendency for their behaviour to be taken as representative of their minority group; a straight white male says or does something and that’s just him, but a member of a minority has to be careful else they give the wrong impression of their group. It’s discussed a lot with relation to various minority or oppressed groups, and we shouldn’t have to constantly state that most of us are not like that – but we do end up having to. I don’t think the people you talk about “represent” autistic people any more than Jenny McCarthy represents non-autistic people, but the danger of being in a minority is that someone’s behaviour is taken as being a feature of the minority group they’re from.

    There are arrogant twats in every group of people but that doesn’t affect our right to demand respect as human beings. I have a right to respect, as does everyone else – why shouldn’t I demand it? Did the women’s suffrage movement get the vote until they demanded it? No. The time was right; they chose a point in history when their action was more likely to succeed, but they still had to demand it. The civil rights movement would have achieved nothing in the era of American slavery, but when the time was right, black Americans demanded their rights. We’re not there yet but where do you think they’d have got by refusing to demand they were listened to and respected?

    Many feminists emphasise that they do ^not^ exist to educate others and it is not their responsibility to do so, though they may choose to. It gets tiring when yet another person comes in to a feminist forum and starts derailing by asking basic feminism 101 questions, when if they really wanted to know, there are thousands of places they could easily find this information. Quite often “explain it to me then” is not actually a genuine desire to be educated – it’s an attack and should be treated as such.

    I think we ^do^ need to stand up for ourselves, as a minority, and we ^do^ need to point out that those people do not represent us, but I think it’s wrong to refer to these people as a “rotten core” or “at the heart of autism” – don’t dignify them like that. They’re a fringe group, nothing more.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for your thoughtful reply.
      I think, when talking of the core, that these people see themselves as such. They see themselves at the centre of a movement, for want of a better word, and therefore at the heart, core, centre of things.
      Yes we can demand respect but we can be respectful of others whilst doing it.
      My writing isn’t very good and often comes across as a bit clumsy so perhaps I used the wrong terminology. Trouble is, by the time the right terminology has arrived, the passion to write, the moment, passes me by.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think you’re right – maybe they do see themselves as the true great heart of autism activism or something. I don’t know, really, as I genuinely haven’t come across them (except that I’ve seen a barbed comment or two on Wrong Planet). A bit like religious extremist supremacists think of themselves as “the only true whateverists”. Could you maybe say where you’ve come across these people (so I can avoid them 😃)?

        Of course you should write when the passion inspires you! I always find your writing interesting.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Good. Exactly. You are writing a lot of sense – an awful lot of sense and I thoroughly agree with everything you have written. In fact it should be essential reading for all autistics and recommended as interesting to any interested neurotypicals. I have used good hearted banter to tease Aspergics and NTs at times but having read this I realise the danger and damage by even mild teasing so I shall stop.
    Certainly ramming autism down neurotypicals’ throats can only do damage. Ramming it down other autistics throats is equally unacceptable as you have pointed out.
    The other point I want to make and add to this is simple: We are all pretty well the same. We are all basically neurotypical. “99.99999%” (obviously not an exact percentage: I’m just making a point) of our makeup is the same regardless of whether one is black, white, yellow, brown, heterosexual, homosexual, indeterminate, male, female, more or less autistic spectrum traits bla bla bla. And furthermore I wish to add that no one yet understands what the basic causes are for “autism” : There may actually be several different causes: Until this is understood no one can do more than to say
    “These are my symptoms, please accept that I appear from my feelings and behaviours to be wired slightly differently from some others”, As you have pointed out Patrick, no one is superior nor inferior to anyone else: We all have our characteristics.
    Lastly let me salute you for tackling the aggressive nature of some people. It is interesting that there is a bloody minded cross section regardless of other characteristics: They do not do their particular cause any favours other than isolating their “subset” from the rest of humanity.
    I like what you have written immensely.

    Liked by 2 people

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