I was prompted to write this post by a fellow blogger, Ashley Peterson from https://mentalhealthathome.org
I’m attempting to answer a question here if we, (highly functioning) autistics are disabled or not. If you’re looking for a quick answer I can tell you that I believe that we are, although a few of us are probably enjoying circumstances that let them not to face the disability element very often and somehow this is being used by some people, including autistm researchers, to draw a conclusion that autism is not a disability.
The problem is, however, that approach reduces chances of the rest of us to get the understanding and support that we need. Not all autistics are good at computers or maths, and this is me speaking: someone with first class degree in IT and two courses (including a postgraduate one) in mathematics from Open University.
The problem that I’m having my entire life is the confusion about my own abilities. The fact that I am great at solving complex maths problems doesn’t mean I’d be a good mathematician. I’m only good at repeating what I already saw being done somewhere else, without having much of an understanding why it was there in the first place.
The first time I realised I didn’t understand what I was doing at maths lessons was when I was in the second grade of a primary school. No one ever took my concerns seriously because I was managing so well.
The other thing about both maths and IT is that I find it rather boring at best of times. As soon as I realise how something new is being done I’m not interested in exploring it further. There’s not much I can do about it, I’m not being lazy, it just doesn’t interest me any more.
The thing (I am sorry to use this word here, it’s more due to me not being a native English rather than disrespect) that really interest me is people. As I already stated multiple times before, I think about other people the entire day: why they behave the way they do, what are they going to do next and what can be done to influence them.
Sometimes I get it right but, unfortunately, more often than not, I get it totally wrong. Yet, failing to influence or befriend them doesn’t put me off of trying. This is just one of the reasons why I consider myself disabled: I constantly invest in the area that is not going to bring much of a result for me. If I was in fact interested in computers as much as I am in people I could, possibly, consider myself not disabled.
The other problem are my social needs: even though I don’t need many friends I still have problems finding those that I want to make friends with. When I really think that someone is nice, outgoing and accepting person that I could befriend it always turns out they were just being friendly with me but didn’t want to be friends. Does that mean they rejected me? Not at all, it’s just that with their personality they make friends so easily that they don’t really need me.
This is just one of the problems about the ‘we’re not disabled’ approach.