surreal-402830_1280Autism. A word that conjures up many and varied reactions. For some it’s fear, for some it’s sadness, for some it’s horror and for some it is even pride. Autism a word that is bandied around in so many ways from a diagnosis to an insult. What is it and what does it mean?

I wrote a little quote a few months ago that resonated with quite a few people.

At the end of the day you don’t get to just take it off. There is no on or off switch. It is just a part of who you are. You can’t it, you can’t heal it, you can’t cure it. You can’t repair it you can’t alter it.

In fact it isn’t even an it. It’s a living breathing intrinsically connected part of the autistic person. You can accept the autistic person, include them, maybe make some accommodations, but overall include them as a fully functioning valuable and complete member of society.  – As published on June 20 at

I wrote this little quote in an attempt to sum up something of what it means to be autistic. As something to capture what it is to live autistically. To counter the idea of autism being something you get, something that has an external cause that can be found and dealt with and taken away, solved, healed. That through some treatment an autistic person can be recovered.

pills-858180_1280Autism. What isn’t it. Here’s a bit of a list.

  • Rope worms
  • Any parasites
  • A disease of the gut
  • Caused by vaccines
  • The result of bad parenting
  • The result of bad diet

No Autism is none of these things. It just isn’t. 1.25 million people studied has shown that vaccines do not cause or trigger autism. Yet still myths continue about these things that cause supposedly cause it. The thing is though, you don’t have to dig too far to see that those that promote these ideas have a vested interest in selling some dangerous or useless homeopathic treatment to “recover” children from autism.

What autism is then, is what is known as a pervasive developmental difference. Psychiatrists, psychologists and other health professionals like to use the word disorder rather than difference but I don’t concur with this. I am not disordered by neurology I am different. Disorder implies something less or wrong. I am not less I am not wrong, I am different.

Autism is a different way of thinking. A different way of being. A different way of experiencing the world. How this difference is manifested is of infinite variety. There is no one way of being autistic. There are some commonalities though such us heightened sensory experiences or needs, communication differences, which, often result in very literal interpretation, expression and understanding. Language delay in terms of speaking with our mouth parts is a common experience for autistic people also.

germ-28874_1280Autism itself is not a disease. It just isn’t. It is important though to acknowledge that there are comorbid conditions that at times exist together with autism. For example it is not uncommon for autistic people to also be diagnosed with ADHD. Other common comorbids are anxiety and depression, OCD and ODD. Another very common one is Sensory Processing Disorder. None of these are autism, they are all absolutely separate from it.

To be autistic is to be disabled, not in a physical impairment sense but in a social model sense. It is to be disabled by the social expectations, the social rules, in effect the social system which expects a neurotypial way of being and refuses to accommodate and allow for an autistic way of being.

Autism is a way of difference, in a sense a subversive way of being. Yes subversive because to be successful as an autistic one has to subvert the rules and expectations in order to live a successful life within a neurotypical system.

Autism is Different Not Less.

Autism is A Different kind of Normal

Autism what is it anyway? It’s Beautiful that’s what Autism is.