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This thread is in response to a recent thread by @leoniedelt that was interesting & provocative & hopefully won’t be a magnet for trolls, but as it stands, deserves a healthy debate.

As a bereaved parent & multiple trauma survivor & a psychiatrist of 30 years & a multiply

#Disabled #ActuallyAutistic & #AutisticParent, I am very accustomed to being a member of heterogenous groups that share one overarching life experience that sets them apart from the rest of society.

In a bereaved parents’ group, we are there to support one another


Everyone is in the same boat, having suffered unimaginable loss, so it really isn’t cool to create a hierarchy of suffering based on how old your child was when they died or their cause of death or how many children died or how many are still alive or

any other attempt to compare, when everyone’s GRIEF magnitude is off the scale.

No one has a monopoly over other people’s grief.

Same thing with TRAUMA:

It is distasteful beyond measure to compare trauma severity among survivors or to decide for them how traumatic

THEIR experience is “supposed” to be.

Unlike a Monty Python skit, it is not cool to say to a trauma survivor, “Oh, were you ONLY raped once/by ONLY one perpetrator?! Let me tell you about MY experience...”

Do you see where this going?

The thread about “2 autisms” makes the common error of trying to assess autism “severity” by comparing VERBAL (so-called high-functioning) #Autistics to NON-VERBAL (so-called low-functioning) #Autistics with/without ID/LD.

However, for autism “SEVERITY” to have any MEANING,

the COMPARISON should really be between each of the artificially divided autism groups & their respective NON-autistic matched CONTROLS.

That way, we could really find out whether the “fashionistas/CULTURAL APPROPRIATION” group ARE as #Autistic & proportionately affected

by their autism as the non-verbal (+/- ID/LD) group.

Maybe there ARE 2 different autisms.

But it’s a bit like trying to separate bereaved parents or trauma victims into 2 severity camps based on arbitrary criteria.

Anyway, how does one even define autistic “functioning?”

CARER fatigue, while not to be dismissed, is certainly NOT a measure of autistic “severity” in the person being cared for.

Those deemed “higher functioning” may not be dependent on ONE exhausted carer, but may have cleverly re-distributed their support needs in ways that

are completely invisible to observers, but exhausting to THEMSELVES.

Or maybe they are stuck in a situation (relationship, job, school, unemployment) far below their capacity but it is the only way they can have a SEMBLANCE of “functioning” by society’s definition.

And this could all be taken away in an instant by the TINIEST change in their environment, such as the installation of a new fan.

There is a perpetual, VERY FINE LINE between being a “highly functional” autistic and a “non-functional” or dead autistic.

Next we look at comorbidities. Virtually every autistic has been traumatized and/or suffers from anxiety. Many also have ADHD, OCD, tics, Tourette’s, eating disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, etc.

It isn’t difficult to see how these could be a proportionately GREATER

liability, the HIGHER the so-called functioning level.

Is it really a stretch now to start thinking that perhaps those “high-functioning” autistics could in fact be MORE disabled, relatively speaking, than those deemed “low functioning” by society’s #Ableist definitions?

And anyway, how on earth could ANYONE know how severely affected ANOTHER autistic is by THEIR autism?!

The person “rocking in the corner” may be the healthiest of us all.

#Autism is at its core a deeply & fundamentally DIFFERENT WAY OF BEING compared to #Allistics.

But autism is not “just” a difference. It is one hell of a whopping, MASSIVE difference.

It is also a major DISABILITY; on its own & especially up against the INACCESSIBILITY of an #Ableist society.

However, calling it an illness, or even a disorder, is highly questionable.
And how could something that affects one’s life & those around us so profoundly NOT be an IDENTITY? After all, does anyone seriously question a wheelchair user’s right to adopt a disabled identity if they so choose?

I am verbal but I have a profound communication disability
when it comes to expressing my own needs or understanding when I am being taken advantage of - that has been life threatening many times.

The more I hear from & about #NonVerbal autistics, the more I identify with them. That’s exactly how MY mind works.

On the other hand,

I cannot imagine EVER identifying with #Neurotypical experience or worldview or outlook in this lifetime.

Who is really being ERASED here?

Who is really being GASLIT here?

Who is really being told that their lives, experience & constantly exhausted selves DON’T EXIST?!

Perhaps the “verbal lot on twitter” should really be most offended?

We #AllAutistics are not the SAME but we ARE in the same CATEGORY - apart from the rest of society - just like bereaved parents or trauma survivors in their respective categories.

The only difference is

that WE seem to be hellbent on dividing our community ultimately to suit neurotypical tastes for OBSERVABLE difficulties.

#Autistics are not immune to #InternalizedAbleism. All marginalized groups try to distance themselves from more/less radical members of their group.

We can be just as susceptible to ableist notions of what is considered socially valuable (which usually means remunerated work).

But purporting to feel “offended on THEIR behalf” is historically dangerous territory.

A mask of benevolence towards the least empowered

within a vulnerable minority hovers while we keep repeating,

“We are all in this together; please don’t try to divide us!”

There are NOT “2 AUTISMS.”

Because no one should be comparing, gatekeeping & dividing us.

We are in this together, all of us #AllAutistics, hoping for better communication & an improved quality of life for ourselves & our carers.

There’s enough money in organizations purporting to care about autism that if just a fraction were redirected to helping autistics

we could all be a lot more functional & productive by any standards & society would also reap the benefits.

But, no, they like us marginalized.

And our infighting makes it even worse.

For those of you requesting a link to the original thread that led to this thread response, here it is:

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