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Diversity Perspective Adaptation Vision  Shop Discussion Links Contact

Autism is the all the worst bits of my life... it just happens it's also all the best bits too.

When I say I think neurodiversity is a positive thing, I am not suggesting for a second that the world would be a great place if there was more autism. I acknowledge 100% that there are a great many people for whom being autistic is no great thing, and that it can bring with it severe health problems and learning difficulties that I wouldn't wish on any individual or society as a whole. I believe that the autistic spectrum is so complex and diverse that the needs of people within it should be assessed on an individual basis.

As much as we as a society might want to medically intervene to help those of us most in need, we have to be really careful that we aren't blinded by good intentions into making things worse. We need to be clear that what we think of as help is actually helping and not just making us feel better about ourselves. We need to be sure that our opinions about what things need treatment and what things don't are based on facts and not prejudices. We need to be certain that we don't abuse science by using it to decide which types of people are allowed to live and which aren't.

I believe there are some campaigns against autism that are outdated, misguided, emotive and misleading. They have no balance. I have no objection to medical research or to those who actually want or need help getting it, but I do object to the sort of hysterical fear and narrow minded prejudice that refuses to accept that people can have a lot to offer despite being different. As a society this is a situation we should be handling very carefully and thoughtfully, not simply trying to stamp out of existence.

This is about the rights of an individual... the right to have a chance at life, the right to be themselves, and the right to be treated fairly in society... but it is also about what makes our society strong, adaptable, and interesting... diversity.

Nobody has a standard brain. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, our gifts and our quirks. In some of us the impact of them is more noticeable or extreme than others, and worthy of a scary sounding label, but ultimately what would make the lives of those of us with labels better would make everybody else's lives better too. As individuals we all stand much better chance of thriving and fulfilling our potential in a  society that embraces the differences in the ways people think, learn and experience the world.... a society that acknowledges neurological diversity and recognises that by investing in the different needs of different types of people it will in return reap the rewards of a healthier, more creative, and more productive population.

Diversity Perspective Adaptation Vision  Shop Discussion Links Contact
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