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The response to my thread has me thinking that there needs to be a book translating clinical diagnostic criteria into relatable subjective stories. 5 chapters, one for each DSM criteria, then a bunch more to show how reductive DSM actually is. #actuallyAutistic
Chapter 1: "Persistent deficits in social communication" - a chapter talking about all the ways we work really hard to understand NT people around us and how they never extend that same courtesy to us. How weird it is to me that my 'normal' is a 'deficit'.
Chapter 2:"Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior" - many people see this and can't relate to it. But a chapter explaining how stimming and special interests feel would translate that pathologizing medical term into a relatable human description.
Chapter 3: "Symptoms must be present in the early developmental period" - a chapter about how it's impossible to be diagnosed and validated in our chronic sense that something is off, unless as kids we had the support system in place to get a correct diagnosis.
Chapter 4: "Symptoms cause clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of current functioning." - aka what it's like to be neurodivergent in a neurotypical world. What harms us that you don't even notice?
Chapter 5: "These disturbances are not better explained by intellectual disability" - a whole chapter about our rich inner lives, the things we understand that others can't, the way their inability to apprehend what we see is turned around and blamed on us.
And then, like, a bunch of chapters about stuff that medical professionals _totally ignore_ that a lot of us all seem to have in common.
Chapter 6: "Abstract Reasoning" - about how many of us don't use visuals when thinking, or can't; face blindness + aphantasia etc. But how that's because we're often modeling dynamic moving systems that can't easily be visually represented, and how powerful that can be!
Chapter 7: "Emotions are Weird" - about the ways that many of us seem to process emotions in a fundamentally different way, one which often causes challenges in our personal relationships. Speculation about possible up-sides, new perspectives.
Chapter 8: "Why Do You Take Things So Literally?" - a whole chapter about wordplay, puns, and the many joys (and frustrations!) of having a finely-tuned sense for ambiguity detection.
Chapter 9: "Seeing the System" - a chapter about the ways in which autistic people model complex systems. Lots of examples to show that this can apply in lots of domains.
Chapter 10: "No I Can't Drop It" - talking about how many of us have extremely strong reactions to perceived injustice or unfairness. How this can be a superpower, but how if we don't understand it it can become a curse that destroys our social lives.
Chapter 11: "This Is A Trauma Response" - a chapter about meltdowns, shutdowns, dissociative states, anger, lashing out and the other 'obviously bad' behavior that can accompany autism. What changes if you model these not as autistic symptoms, but trauma responses?
What chapters am I missing? Maybe I should make a website to start fleshing these things out, give each 'chapter' above a page and open it up for discussion?

I want as many #ownVoices to be heard as possible, the full diversity of perspective.
Anyway. This book needs to exist, and would help a ton of people. But a website is more accessible and easier to do, so maybe I'll start there. Anyway just musing out loud, but if you have thoughts about this please share them! :)
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