I was spending my downtime after a very busy weekend at work watching some videos by the brilliant Agony Autie, and one of them really struck a chord with me as an Aspie. In this video, she discussed a phrase I’m sure most of you that are on the spectrum have heard at some point or another – that classic line of “Everyone’s a bit Autistic”. It got me thinking about this phrase, and why NTs feel the need to use it. Personally, I find it to be very ignorant and rude thing to say, but I have to try and see it from their point of view; it’s mostly well-meant, and I do understand the point they’re trying to make. (I also think that it can be useful to observe that autistic traits can be found amongst NT people, but nevertheless, whenever someone says this I can feel my nerves twitching. It’s like telling someone with depression that you know how they feel because you get sad too; it just feels really belittling, ignorant and (depending upon the person) sometimes quite disrespectful.
At times like this that I look at why someone would say this, and I think a big part of this confusion, and why the claim that we’re all on the spectrum matters, is because of the existing immense confusion and misinformation surrounding autism in general.
Today, there are many people who believe that autism is made up; that it’s just extreme naughtiness or extreme personality; saying that basically parents need to be stricter with their kids and stop looking for excuses; that people need to stop blaming their problems and parental shortfalls on some fantasy disorder. This ridiculous type of thinking moves ASD away from being an identifiable, medically recognised, neurodevelopmental disorder, and places it instead on the completely “normal” spectrum of humanity. It makes it seem like it’s just a bunch of troublemakers disowning their own decisions and not facing their problems. This kind of attitude is probably the reason why a lot of the public doesn’t understand what we mean when we refer to the autism spectrum and Asperger’s syndrome.
That said, maybe it’s time we took it upon ourselves as bloggers, vloggers and writers to start educating the public about the existence and meaning of the autism spectrum and what it’s like to be on it. We might get the message across to them. Some people are on the autism spectrum, and some are not. If we were to try and rewrite what “autism spectrum” is, it would do more harm to the ASD community as it would no longer match the medical definitions. That means that we would create further confusion, possibly raise doubts about its existence, and give uneducated people more excuse to say, “aren’t we all a little autistic?”
Stay Safe X