Weekend Reading Wrap-up

I appear to have stuck myself with the name, but I’m not actually doing this weekly… oh well.

As I started this post (ummm weeks ago?), I noticed the first few articles I was sharing all had a theme of “autism stereotypes” – so let’s go with it. Here are a few posts I’ve read since then all around that topic.

As a result of Kanner’s theory that his syndrome disproportionately affected hyper-ambitious, upper-middle-class families, two generations of clinicians and researchers would view autism primarily as a condition of white children. With only a few exceptions, black children were virtually absent from the autism research literature for decades.

The Invisibility of Black Autism

“Autism services are not always LGBTQ friendly or affirming, and yet LGBTQ community events are not necessarily accommodating to autistic people,” she says. “So then I end up feeling kind of stuck in the middle, [and] unsure where to go or which one can be my community. What I’m worried about is that because scientists and researchers and doctors and medical professionals are trying so hard to figure out what autism looks like in girls and women, they’re going to accidentally end up coming up with a gender stereotyped idea of ‘girl autism’ versus ‘boy autism.’”

— Understanding Gender Bias in Autism Research

Leading researcher Simon Baron-Cohen likened Autism to an ‘Extreme Male Brain’, arguing men are innate at logical thinking and women are wired for empathy. The soundbite of this study upholds sexist stereotypes by refusing to explore gender roles as cultural constructions.

Represent Autistic Women in the Media 

I can’t just be autistic, I have to be vocally autistic. I have to be louder, bolder, more willing to put myself out there, if I’m going to be seen at all. I have to be willing to be told repeatedly that I’m not the person I know I am, because if I don’t make it a point to tell people, they’ll never know.

— The Purgatory of Passing: I AM Like Your Child

This last one… is definitely something I’ve been feeling lately. However, with that also comes some complicated other feelings, which I feel like Lydia X. Z. Brown hit on perfectly in their piece on internalized ableism:

But it’s also scary because I’m becoming intimately acquainted with my own internalized ableism in all the little dark crevices in corners of my mind I forgot existed and haven’t thought to check, and I can’t shake the immediate thoughts that I should try harder not to seem so autistic in public or else what am I doing wrong that other people can tell? Essentially, I’m finding that my reactions to this ongoing realization of just how much my neurodivergence shows are that there is something wrong and that I should feel ashamed and self-conscious if (non-autistic) people can tell that I’m autistic.

Hello, Internalized Ableism

I will probably revisit this ^ in another blog post… I think I’m coming at the same idea from a slightly different way, but at the same time this really resonates with me.

That one syllable haunted me. In a room full of autism awareness, it signaled that autism acceptance is still a distant goal.

— Acceptable/Unacceptable

This one is more hopeful than the quote I’ve picked makes it sound – there’s the feeling that at least autism acceptance is happening, even if it’s just one family at a time.

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