Autism is a not a disorder. It is a neurotype. It is a natural manifestion of traits within the expanse of human neurodiversity, "the infinite variation in neurocognitive functioning within our species". The Medical Model of Disability has pathologized naturally ocuring variance in neurocognition and neuroexpression.
Autistic people experience a range of cognitive, communication, and sensory differences that shape the way they (p)receive, interpret, feel, respond, engage, and interact. Autistic characteristics (not "behaviors") are a result of having a different way of thinking, experiencing the world, and self-regulating.
For some Autistic people, these differences result in impairments and they can be disabling within neuronormative structures and expectations. Autistic people do not have functioning levels, rather, they have access requirements and support needs, which can be low, medium, or high AND can be consistent OR variable.
The best way to understand autism is to listen to and engage with Autistic-led organizations, groups and self-advocates, and to do so with a Disability Justice lens.
If you are not Autistic, understand that the labor of creating this window for you is labor. You should find ways to acknowledge and, if possible, compensate.
Autistic-led Organizations and Groups
Disability Justice and Advocacy Organizations and Individuals
Disability Together (@disabilitytogether)
Sins Invalid (@sinsinvalid)
Autistic / Neurodivergent
Activists on Instagram