A universal assumption about autism is that autistic people tend to be
inflexible and it is NOT GOOD to be inflexible. Let’s take a look at that assumption.
Neuro majority people talk a lot about the inflexibility and the rigidity of autistic people. Seems like they get stuck in that train of thought. Isn’t it quite a narrow perception to believe that everyone should be just like you and should conform to your ways?
And yet, as an autistic, if I want to get anywhere in the world I need do just that – to conform to the ways of the world. In this case I need to appear to be flexible – flexible as defined by the neuro majority.
And while I am busy conforming to the expected arbitrary standards of a
neuro majority society I am to embrace diversity. Everybody is expected to embrace diversity. It is a good thing. It is politically correct.
Seems to me that if you want to hold a job and have a place in society at large it is important to embrace diversity, but not so close as to actually live out the concept fully. Diversity can be represented by a spectrum. It is politically correct to support the full spectrum of diversity. But in reality, we are not quite there yet when it comes to accepting the full range of the spectrum!
For me personally, to make a living and support myself, I find I cannot
actually BE too different. Even though society prides itself on the concept of diversity, in reality they do not embrace it in everyday life. In fact, I have found that the closer I stick to the midline of the diversity spectrum and the more I appear to be flexible, as defined by society, the better my chances of supporting myself.
So, at the end of the day, who is it that is inflexible – the autistic or the society that sets arbitrary standards to which all must comply?
And if diversity were truly accepted wouldn’t “autistic inflexibility” be just one more GOOD THING?
Endow, J. (2013). Painted Words: Aspects of Autism Translated. Cambridge, WI: Cambridge Book Review Press.
Endow, J. (2009). Paper Words: Discovering and Living With My Autism. Shawnee Mission, KS: AAPC Publishing.
JUDY ENDOW, MSW