I’ll give you a hint, none of these books were written by autistic people… I’ve spoken a lot about how “mainstream” culture gets autism wrong via pathologizing and/or distorting autism to be a “superpower.” What’s frustrating is that even in supposedly alternative circles, autism is seen as a problem to be solved, a nutritional deficiency to be corrected, a response to environmental contamination to be avoided or, strangely in one book, a “god-like” spiritual power…
Not only does mainstream culture mostly offer puzzle pieces and retreats for people “touched by autism” but good luck finding autism acceptance in alternative spaces either. Once again, we are reminded that to be actually neurodivergence-affirming is a rarity.
The only playgroups for autistic children in my area are run by BCBAs (Board Certified Behavior Analysts/ABA practitioners), the local therapeutic horseback riding program is rooted in behaviorism, and all the local assessment centers have puzzle piece logos. Heck, even the local support group for parents of “special needs” kids isn’t affirming. As an autistic person and parent of autistic kids, I’m tired. Really tired.
This photo was taken when I was on vacation to simply get away from it all. But I can’t get away from it, the pathologization of my neurotype is staring right back at me between books about chakras and singing bowls. More than likely the authors of these books and the owners of the stores that sell them won’t listen to voices like mine. But if they did, I would want them to know how disheartening it is to see my brain pathologized as something to be avoided, cured, or believed to have some weird esoteric spiritual power. It’s just a type of brain and nervous system. Nothing more and nothing less.