Showing posts from August, 2021

Layers of “Autism” - from inside to outside

Those of us who frequently discuss autism with people we meet, quickly find that most people’s picture of what it is to be autistic is seriously inadequate and out-of-date. There are many ways of understanding why this might be so - the oppressive power of the medical model, the largely inaccurate depiction of autistic people in the media, the general human tendency to stigmatise difference/otherness… What I want to focus on here is the idea that most people’s idea of autism is overly focused on observable behaviour rather than on what it is like to be autistic “on the inside”. Not only that, but the behaviours that most people associate with autism are likely to be the ones that are selectively noticed on the basis of neurotypical priorities and concerns, rather than through genuinely curious & open observation. Worst of all, perhaps, many of the behaviours commonly associated with autism are not features of autism at all, but are a mixture of masking processes, compensatory/