The future of autism
I suspect the future of autism will be much like its past. Meaning, we'll just carry on as we are – being born, living, and eventually dying and wondering in between those bookends of mystery what the fuck it's all about.
I'm sanguine about that.
We are just human, after all (and, no, we're not the "next stage of evolution". People who say or think that clearly know as much about evolution as I do about obstetrics).
We don't deserve and I don't expect special treatment
It's my life, and it'll be as happy and successful as I make up my mind to make it.
And one key to making that happen is, unlike most autistics I come across, by not not seeking or demanding others' understanding or acceptance.
The first is impossible unless you're autistic yourself; and the second is in my opinion the wrong emphasis.
Whether others accept me or not is beyond my control and none of my business, in any case.
No matter how much we educate the world at large, there will always be those who refuse to listen and stick steadfastly to their bigoted view autism is a choice, a matter of upbringing and mindset, and a whole gaggle of other stupid ideas which make no sense to anyone who's even slightly informed about ASD.
So predicating my happiness and peace of mind on others' understanding and acceptance of me and my ways would be absurd, not least because there will always be some who don't or won't.
Nor am I in favour of ever-more legislation and bureaucracy aimed at forcing others into doing what they don't want to do. Not only is it against my principles, but the mathematics of complex adaptive systems precludes it from being effective.
Racism, sexism, homophobia, and countless other discriminatory practices have been illegal for decades, but still they exist. The progress we have seen has come about because of education.
In short, if we educate people, then we have the opportunity of getting them voluntarily to change their individual behaviour.
And that's how we change society — by consent and behaviour, not by force.
So while acceptance is what I'd call a preferred indifferent — meaning it's preferable to be accepted than rejected — I'm indifferent to both.
The future of autism lies in education
And that starts with awareness.
Now, that I can have some influence over, if not control.
I can write. I can speak. I can post on social media.
I can get the message out there and engage others in meaningful dialogue.
Schools, colleges, universities, businesses, and big corporations. Autistics have much to offer them all and all we typically need is a willing, non-judgemental ear, and some accommodations to level the proverbial playing field for us.
That's all I ask, and the message I'll keep repeating.
And those who won't and don't listen?
I can do nothing about them beyond pointing out their mistakes, (and roundly mocking them when they deserve it, as some assuredly do).
Anyway, that's me done for this month... 30 posts in 30 days, one for each day of Autism Awareness Month.
Just remember, after April is done and May rolls along, we'll still be here.
I'll be here.
And I'll still be...
... unapologetically autistic.
Jon McCulloch, The Evil Bald Genius
Author, speaker, business owner, and autism advocate