Tuesday, June 12, 2012

"But you're soooo high functioning! If you had other problems you'd want a cure too!"

I hear that all the time, and what you are saying when you say that is:

"Neurodivergent K, I have never listened to anything you have said ever. I have never met you in person, and all I know of you online is that you say things I do not like, so I made assumptions about you based on your ability to use the Oxford comma."

Cuz here's the thing: you don't know what I am like in person. Even if you could define functioning labels-protip: you can't-chances are pretty good that I'm not what you are assuming. You don't get to say what my experiences are.

 This past weekend I was at an adults mentoring teens event. After, I mentioned that I had not disclosed that I am Autistic to anyone at work. For some reason this is the most hilarious thing any of them has ever heard--something about my closet having glass doors. I am noticeably different. I'm awesome, but I am a weird weird kid with obvious sensory processing issues & obvious language processing problems. So there's some evidence that your "all you neurodiversity types are indistinguishable". I'm not.

 Nor am I without the other lovely autistic addons. You know, like sensory processing problems. Like face blindness. Like very high pain threshold and the accompanying difficulty localizing pain. Like alexithymia. I have a flowchart on my wall to help determine if I am having an emotion (and if so, what) or if I am in pain or if I am sick. But I am indistinguishable from peers, because I can write well.

And, you know, when you go on about other health cooties meaning autism needs to be cured, first: you're wrong. Those other cooties aren't autism. Second: it's mightily presumptuous for you to assume that because I do not want to be cured of autism, I've never experienced a health issue in my life. Cuz I have. And I do.

 I've got recalcitrant (ok, the doctors call it "medically intractable") epilepsy. I've got adrenal insufficiency of unknown eitiology. And I have other cooties that are none of your damn business, but I assure you, I have had health problems, and I have had to fight to get them acknowledged as NOT just autism, because of the BS people spread about autism being some part of some sort of systemic thing. I assure you, endometriosis is not an autism symptom, but thanks very much for the delay in proper treatment since they decided that abdominal pain means that, since I am autistic, I just need to poop more. It was a great 10 month delay.

 If you disagree with me, that's fine. But actually disagree with what I am saying, not with this false idea you've built in your head of who I am, who I must be to not agree with you. I am not who you want me to be. I am far more like the Autistic who would "obviously want a cure" than I am like the sort-of-quirky shiny Aspie you've built in your head. Most of us are.

(edited bc my formatting got lost. I forgot where I had had paragraph breaks so this is probably not how it started)


Anonymous said...

I love this post so very much. Especially the whole "other health cooties" part. Excellently put. Perfect rant!

Neurodivergent K said...


Now to edit it for formatting. WTF, blogger?

GirlWithTheCane said...

I think that this should be required reading for people involved in the medical and disability supports community. Society has such a hard time wrapping it's mind around the idea that a person could live with something like autism and still be okay with who they are...but until people can really accept that people have the right not to choose a "cure", I'm scared that we won't truly break down some of the scariest and most institutionalized barriers to looking at people with disabilities as truly being *people*, particularly in the medical field. Excellent post.

Jim said...

This would all be a lot clearer to me if you'd just start writing more poorly. . .


Cara Liebowitz said...

The beginning part, about online people not knowing anything about you and making assumptions, reminds me of the post I wrote for DisabilityRightNow a few months back: http://disabilityrightnow.wordpress.com/2012/04/04/murder-not-mercy/

Lindsay said...

That flowchart sounds helpful. :)

I know I shouldn't be at all surprised that you've gotten the "you're too high functioning to count, nothing's really wrong with you" runaround, since you have blogged about your other health issues sometimes, and you have one of the less easily dismissable flavors of autism.

But I guess that's just more proof that "high functioning" really means "autistic person I don't want to engage with."

Lindsay said...

WHOOPS I left out a clause.

"I shouldn't be surprised ... BUT I AM since etc. ..."

BiolArtist said...

I agree with all the compliments!

The flowchart sounds interesting. Do you have any images you could post and discuss?

Neurodivergent K said...

@biolartist, others regarding my flowchart:

I'm in the midst of making it look better right now. I'll try to post pics when I have that done.

Unknown said...

Love this post. Just found your blog. My son is 2 and autistic. Found out last month although I have had my suspicions. Great to see an adult say you don't want a cure. I was heartbroken at first, but seriously, my son is fine the way he is and he isn't broken and I am not going to be one of those moms out there looking for a "cure." People are differet! Really annoying about your issues with getting help medically.