There is no Autistic Community

No sooner had I written this blog post about The Autism Community vs The Autistic Community, then I realised I’d made a grave error. I’d mentioned The Autistic Community as of it were a unified thing.

But of course it’s not. Like every group of people that numbers in the hundreds of thousands (or in the millions?), it cannot be considered a single entity.

Because in reality there are many Autistic Communities. Each a group onto its own. Some groups get along, some don’t. Some don’t know of the existence of the others.

There are large groups, small groups, splinter groups. There are Aspie supremacists and other groups I’d rather didn’t exist. There are groups that rally around a central figure. A leader, a guru, a bully. Groups who bully, who accuse those they bully of being bullies. Being Autistic doesn’t immunise us against infighting. That’s the painful truth.

Sometimes it takes years to untangle who said what about whom. Sometimes we find we have friends from two groups who hate each other. Sometimes they ask us to chose between them.

Which Autistic Community do we belong to? Do I belong to? My autistic community is my group of friends. Of supporters. Of allies. My autistic community is not The One and Only Autistic Community. Because there is no such thing as that.

3 comments

  1. Agree with your observations. At the same time, to me, the notion of an “autism conmunity” is just as problematic for many of the same reasons you cite above.

    Organizations fundraise on the premise that parents of autists have to deal with a monolithic and standard set of “issues” instead of individuals. They’re intellectually dishonest, and those trying to coalesce under a single banner — where all they have in common is being parents — really can’t come together on much beyond negativity

    Like

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