[Things about Autism that are a spectrum:
I wasn’t going to do much on AH today, on a count of getting down roughly 4k on my WIP today (I’m on a roll—Sonic the Writing Hedgehog right here).
But…lately there’s been an awful lot of kerfuffle involving autistic people trying to police other autistic people about how they should behave, feel, and/or identify, and I can’t help but think, is it any wonder that I often get questions along the lines of “I do X/don’t do X, does that mean I’m not autistic/am unusual in some way?”
Maybe you stim a lot. Maybe you don’t. Maybe you talk about your stims, embrace them and enthuse about them; maybe they’re not meaningful enough to you for that. Maybe you identify as an autistic person or a person with autism or an autist or an Aspie; maybe you don’t bring it up as part of your identity at all.
Maybe you have meltdowns or shutdowns or neither. Maybe you love sarcasm or maybe you can’t stand it. Maybe you’re terribly literal or maybe you’re not. Perhaps you’re a STEM major; perhaps you prefer the arts or humanities. It could be that you love to cuddle or hug, or that you turn into a ninja anytime anyone tries to hug you.
Perhaps you’re averse to numerous food textures, or maybe most food textures don’t bother you but fabric textures get, well, under your skin. Maybe you prefer non-fiction and think fiction is silly and hard to swallow; maybe your shelves look like mine, with so much spec fic that more than half of it has to be stored in boxes in the basement. Maybe you cry during sad movies; maybe you never shed a tear.
Maybe, maybe, maybe. Maybe none of the traits you regard as part of your autism are even listed here. That’s fine too. Because autism is a spectrum, and everything we do and everything we are that is at all related to our autism is also on a spectrum. We have some traits but not others. Some of us can make phone calls and some can’t. Some of us hate loud noises; some of us love fireworks even if they’re loud. We are people who live, inherently, on a spectrum and there is nothing wrong with that.
But no one gets to tell other autistics how they get to be autistic. We may not all agree exactly on everything, but that is a perfectly human thing. Our choices are our own. Often we have so little power, so little autonomy, to make our own choices, and there are people in this world who want to take what little we have away. The last thing we should be doing is trying to take our choices away from each other.
tl;dr: We are a spectrum, y’all, and not just that, we are spectrum of spectra. Embrace the rainbows.