If you believe the outdated beliefs about autism, autistic people do not enjoy reading fiction. Yet some of the world’s most creative and expressive people are autistic. Take for example Dan Ackroyd. A comedic actor genius.
I remember, when I was in a writers’ group with a bunch of neurotypicals, I was amazed at how little impact certain events had upon people. For example, we had to write on the topic, “Drive-In Theatre” and one woman said that they didn’t have it in Zimbabwe. I wanted to take her to the computer and show her Billy Ocean’s “Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car,” and say, “This is what Drive-In Theatre is about, but she wasn’t interested. Where I expected some people to write about experiences that they’d had, but they didn’t. I mentioned James Dean, and one woman in the group scoffed, “James Dean?” I thought, “Surely his death would have impacted upon people?” But not to them, it didn’t. To some of them, unless it impacted upon them, personally, they didn’t know or care.
I can remember where I was when news of the First Gulf War broke. I was watching TV and the time for George Bush Senior’s ultimatum had passed, but I was at the bus stop, having been to the library, when news of air strikes was being played through the loudhailer and I felt a sense of being in London during the Second World War. I felt the war, even though it was on the other side of the world.
Some autistic people are deep thinkers, and often think outside the box. I remember being in an argument with a right-winger who was pro-mining companies to the nth degree, and when I said that we had to think outside the box, proceeded to spout a load of resigned nonsense! Being able to assist the environment involves being able to think outside the box, and part of that can also be thinking that it’s not always about what you have but how well you use it.
People suspect that Vladimir Putin is autistic, and yes, he is hardly a live and let live person, but some of the social change that we have can be attributed to some of the autistic culture. And also, many of us autistic folks can see through the nonsense peddled by the right-wing.
Neurotypicality may be the dominant neurology, but it doesn’t have to be the only neurology. To remove neurodiversity is akin to removing biodiversity.