There’s been a bit of back-and-forth tweeting going on about whether self-diagnosis of autism is valid. There are strong opinions on every side. I have my own opinions, which I’m going to leave out of here, because I actually want to dig a little deeper than my own personal frame of mind, to consider this issue.
From where I’m standing, it’s important to understand why people believe what they believe? What do they have to gain from their opinions? What do they have to lose, if their opinions are not “in force” in a given situation? What’s at stake for people, as autistics or parents of autistics? And why do they feel so strongly about the issue?
It’s a complex subject, and emotions run high.
And I think it would be really useful to gather some data on who believes what they believe — and why.
As much as we may talk about these things, I’d love to have some more listening. As people promote their own points of view, I’m not hearing as much compassion as I’d like — it’s almost like there’s a sort of CDHD (Compassion Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) going on… where people who feel like they have a lot to lose, are shifting into high gear, trying to shut down the other side. At times, it feels a bit aggressive to me. But I understand there’s a ton of passion behind these points of view, so of course it’s going to get heated.
Anyway, the autistic community is anything but boring… and we’re always changing. And as with any community, deciding who doesn’t belong is every bit as important as deciding who does.
It would be nice if some of this didn’t sting as much as it does, but we can all take things whatever way we like. Nobody’s forcing us to listen to anyone else. No one’s forcing us to believe them. Or even take them seriously. We can all make up our own minds. And maybe someday we will…