“With the right strategies and understanding in place, most autistic people can thrive. Without them, life can be incredibly difficult, and much of what we have to give to the world gets lost. I wouldn’t change very much about my brain — I mostly like being who I am. I would, however, like to change many things about this world and how it deals with people who think differently.”
Autistic people are often misunderstood. Clinical models of autism often focus on the outward behaviors of autistic people, emphasizing their inferiority to neurotypical behavior patterns. When this happens, autistic people’s inner experiences often get lost, and neurotypical partners may lose sight of the ways in which they can best support autistic people in their lives. While the below account is just one autistic person’s experience, much of it is consistent with research (cited at the end). Specifically, Oolong describes how “monotropism” (attending to a few interests or concerns at a time) could explain some of the characteristic strengths and challenges exhibited by autistic individuals. Reading this account may help us to consider how supports, such as allowing more time for task transitions or greater control of the sensory environment, could greatly improve the quality of interactions between autistic and non-autistic people.
Starting Points for Understanding Autism