Autistic, Not Stupid

Two years on from Asperger’s diagnosis – when I was told about the many geniuses throughout history, thought, with good reason, to have been somewhere on the autistic spectrum – it has become my entertainment, rather than my horror, to observe how knowledge of my diagnosis affects the way others treat me.

My early, startling realisations came when I sought out sources of advice and support, relevant to my new status as an autistic person – as opposed to ‘a person’. That’s when I realised that it wasn’t just the charity that I’d worked for that wasn’t quite as charitable, altruistic or sincere as one might hope.  No, many have a band of expensive, executive experts very much ‘on board’ to steer the organisation to the fullest maximisation of ‘not’ profits, with much of these coming from the public purse while delivering little actual value in relation to the number of eligible recipients of said, mythical help. Never mind, it keeps a few staff in good wages and reduces our being a ‘burden’ on local resources.

Ok, so charities (at least the biggies) were forced – kicking and screaming – to behave like big business – and we’ve seen how well big business has set examples of acceptable behaviour across the decades, haven’t we? But, it has been steered this way by successive Governments, again who only implement measures for the greater good- don’t they?, as I found when I went for my PIP assessment, conducted by someone who understood even less about autism than I did at that point.

She learned that, despite a slight processing delay, I can actually form thoughts, ideas and words that go into sentences that make sense. She apologised for her ignorance while I contemplated how much money was being wasted telling me how I would disappear into the vortex of wasted human life rather than receiving any encouragement to create anything meaningful and worthwhile – imagine what a contrast that would be to the reality of all that was being puked out by the executives and experts?

There are even organisations that believe autistic people should be euthanized.  The language they use sounds like they conduct research to support understanding about autism and support autistics and many, many people believe this without reading up on their real goals or seeing through the cleverly-worded blurb.  There are teaching and training methods that can show genuine results for their recipients but conveniently overlook the longer term effects on the autistic individual who has become repressed with the eternal prospect of their human self erupting like a volcano at any point.

Where is the humanity in all this, I wonder? But that is humanity and if I waste any more of my time being upset by those who look to undermine any progress I make instead of just recognising them for what they are – my progress will be thwarted, which is exactly what they want.  This has come from official organisations that claim to support autistic people and conduct research for our benefit and it comes from self appointed autistic advocates who are grappling with creating a place for themselves in the world.  I wish them well with that.  It’s all anyone is doing really, though I don’t hold with trying to further that goal at the expense of another’s worthwhile and meaningful efforts.  I’m truly sorry for the very capable people who could do so much to help themselves and other autistics but when they sign up as the token autistics for some rather disingenuous organisations to look more credible than they are, they’re doing themselves and autistics a deep disservice and should look to their conscience, rather than their ego for future guidance.

And there it is – showing how similar Planet Autism is to the world everyone else knows.  We’re all in the same space, just in different parts of it.  Two years ago I thought to myself ‘Well, I got this far with my Asperger’s undiagnosed and what affected me was one mistreatment too many – which would have affected many people similarly, autistic or not, because I’m just human.

My largely unpopular knack of calling a spade, a spade is just me being me and I understand that’s all anyone else is trying to be, too.  But I’m not caught up in the cliques and the deceptions. I get over the disappointments of recognising those who are and I move on.  Most happily, I’m not caught up in the self delusion practiced so widely that actually prevents knowing your true self.  I have to assume that some of the behaviour that I observe IS borne out of someone seeing themselves and not liking what they see, hence their charade.

That’s a pity when time only ever runs shorter.  For me, I’ve come to see the tremendous qualities in some of the people I know, so much more clearly having been repulsed by distractions and nonsense from those who rely on such self indulgences.  I’m grateful for knowing some amazing people; for their friendship and support.  Oddly, I’m grateful to the rest for providing the necessary contrast to make that realisation such a clear and definite thing – a fixed point from which to plan my life moving forward rather than stagnating in utter pointlessness.  It’s a choice we all have and we can take it or devour our life force in justifications and objection handling. I’ve never felt more confident about the direction of my future or the satisfaction I gain from my present life and that point has been reached thanks to the energies, efforts and massive amounts of time spent by some deeply crappy people.  How weird is that?  There are some great autistic Advocates and services but you’ll find them for yourselves, hopefully.

Self realisation isn’t a diagnosis, an education or a set of clothing, metaphorical or otherwise.  It’s not about looking around for what looks like an answer we can cling to in the hope it turns out to be the right one for us (or, at least, give that impression to others). Self realisation is about looking inwards, having the integrity to face the realities seen and the strength to make the necessary transformation.  That can only be achieved by the self.  No one will or can do it on your behalf.  The most tempting choices can be hardest, so imagine the real, deep rewards.

I know where I’m going and others can like it or not.  I’m autistic, not stupid.

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