This post was written by a friend of mine, Steve Summers. He has given me permission to re-post this from his Facebook page. He has previously been featured on the site here.
It is interesting watching the various Autistic/Autism cliques on Facebook, sharing, commenting, and liking each other’s blog posts, statuses, graphics, etc. You can see these people staying inside of their little circles of friends and interacting, sometimes very vigorously, day after day. They feed off of each other and sometimes fail to notice the people on the edges.
Then there are “outliers” who seem to wander around in and out of these cliques, often times seeming to be nearly invisible to the popular people. The outliers may even try to participate in more than one of these insular circles, and simply be ignored, or figuratively patted on the head from time to time, but not really included.
I wonder if the people who perpetuate these exclusive cliques ever really give any thought to the idea that true Autism Acceptance needs to be unconditional. In other words, diversity needs to be inclusive. You do not practice acceptance with only a selected, or favored few. You should not practice acceptance with only your fans/selected friends in an exclusive fashion. You need to include the outliers to be truly accepting.
Neuro-diversity is not an exclusive club that is only for the golden ones. It needs to be accepting of a diverse group of people. It should especially be welcoming to those people who have suffered from the anxiety of feeling rejected. It should be a warm and welcoming place. It should not make people feel like they are standing on the outside of the circle watching the fun, while being ignored.
Let’s see some warm, welcoming, Autism Acceptance that reflects real neurodiversity. Can we do that? I think we should.
I was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome (part of the Autism Spectrum) as an adult. I was diagnosed following my 11-year-old son’s diagnosis with Aspergers. I am happy to have my diagnosis. It is like a light was turned on that illuminated my entire life in a new way. Now I understand why I never really ‘fit in.’ It is like having a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders to have my diagnosis.
I don’t feel that people should make divisions between parts of the Autism Spectrum. I am Autistic and I want to work to make the world a better, more understanding and accepting place for all Autistic people. We need to work together for the benefit of all on the Autism Spectrum.
Photo Credit: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center