After I received my autism diagnosis, people often look at me with a mixture of pity and encouragement. “Think of how much you have succeeded with in your life despite of your autism”.As if autism is something to overcome or fight against.
It’s rare to hear someone say; “What a shame it wasn’t discovered sooner so you wouldn’t have had to struggle so much and become depressed and burned out for so many years. Shame on such an ignorant healthcare system.”
Often when autistic people get highlighted because they achieved something great, it’s emphasized they succeeded DESPITE their autism. That they fought against something and overcame it. People love success stories. I do to. It’s only that I don’t see my autism as something to overcome. Autism isn’t some evil devil to fight against.
What needs to be fought against is society’s ignorance and preconceived notions about autism. These cause people like me to mask my autism and spend my whole life fighting against a society that doesn’t tolerate difference.
Note this; I haven’t fought against my autism. I have fought against a society that refuses to let people like me in unless I simultaneously mask some or all of my autistic traits. And if I necessarily have to be autistic, then I have to be extraordinary in some way to take a place. But then again if I do, it’s not thanks to my autism, but despite of it.
To see autism as something to overcome is nothing more than pure ableism.
I have the right to be Anna. Who is autistic. But who is above all a human being. Who has difficulty with some things, and easier with others. Who is a human before my performance. I shouldn’t have to overcome my autism or perform more than anyone else. It is society that needs to perform more. Be more inclusive, for everyone.
Do you want to see what other autistic people have to say about this then click here to where I first published this text https://www.instagram.com/p/CjFWRfFMvTZ/
Thank you for reading.