on slow processing and what's behind the fear of autism trending
This part “recognize the potential for solidarity in the fact that we all live under a system that requires our illness to function” really resonated with me. Racism, ableism, hatred of unhoused and poor people - the way that our system persists is by pitting people who are treated as less than against each other. If we are busy arguing about who deserves more, there’s no energy left to work on dismantling systems that hurt all of us.
I believe the idea that there "isn't enough to go around" is perpetuated by the tendency of activists to normalize the most palatable members of a marginalized group, then pat themselves on the back and think they've solved the problem, throwing everyone else under the bus.
I have personal experience of the impacts of this, not in regards to autism, but in regards to an incurable, under-researched chronic disease I have. Said disease is quite common, but highly variable in functional impact, much like autism. 99% of advocacy fails to raise awareness of the 25% of patients for which it is life threatening. The consequences are absolutely devastating. People are dying every day in horrific suffering and nobody is even aware it's happening unless they're already a part of that terminally ill community.
In terms of advocacy, there really ISN'T enough of it to go around, and the most stigmatized members of a community are the ones who lose out.
If every autistic person advocated for the needs of "profoundly autistic" people as well as their own - what a different world it would be. But most people simply don't have the energy or motivation to advocate for needs they perceive as unrelated to their own.
I only got to read the free half of this article, but I definitely agree with this premise and analysis. I also see the echo-chambers of social media curation algorithms having a HUGE impact on this as well. If all of the content you see is made by users claiming to have ADHD or autism even say 1000 people with those traits, that's still a huge minority in the scheme of the 8 billion people in the world. We gravitate toward people like us. I have ADHD, 95% of my chosen content is made by other neurodivergent people. This makes sense to me because I understand and resonate with this content. And likewise so does everyone else who sees this "trend" of ADHD and autism.
There are a LOT of us. We've been camouflaging, flying under the radar and falling through the cracks for all of History, this is the first time we've ever had a time and place where our traits were taken seriously, generally accepted and more widely understood.
I make a comparison to LGBTQIA+ people; (I am also gender fluid and pansexual) we've always existed, but only in the last few decades has it been relatively safe and acceptable for us to be our authentic selves in public. So it looks like there's a TON more people that are LGBTQIA+ than there were 60-80 years ago. I don't think there are more. I think it's just safer and more accessible to embrace the non cisgender and heterosexual identities than it used to be.
Likewise it's safer and more accessible to recognize and identify our neurodivergent traits now than it ever use to be. My mom is 65, she's always been autistic. She's only known she is autistic for the last 8 ish years. To he other decades of her life were just spent believing she was flawed, broken, undesirable, weird, alien, lazy, burdensome, and otherwise challenged when attempting to be neurotypical. It led to a metric ton of complex trauma and a nervous breakdown in her 50s.
So yeah I still think ADHD and autism are under-diagnosed. But I'm biased.
I'm a late diagnosis of Asperger's, severe anxiety and clinical depression and trying to get support even in the offline community or friends and family has been hard to the point where I've given up. I mention some symptoms and most say "oh well I get anxious, do I have it as well?" It's almost like every questioning NT feels like they're missing out on some sort of "special badge..." pray help
Us that autism doesn't become the new veganism....
Not me, trying to highlight your post like you're still on Medium lol.... I love this.