January 29, 2018

“Why is neurodiversity important to autistics in particular?”

Many of the problems faced by autistics spring less from our autism, and more from how others react to it. We live in a world where other people make the rules for “normal” behavior, so it can create tension when we break those rules by accident, or don’t understand them to begin with, or aren’t able to follow them even if we wanted to.

Valuing neurodiversity means accepting that some brains follow different rules, and thrive better in environments where we have freedom – to move around, to avoid eye contact, to write instead of speak, to ask lots of precise questions, to hide from things that are too loud or bright. Treating our experiences as valid (not as “too sensitive” or “too literal”) frees us to focus more attention on the things that make us come alive.

P.S. I write from my personal experience as an autistic. What I share is not a substitute for advice from an autistic medical professional. Also, some of my opinions have changed since I first wrote them.