Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Self-Diagnosed Autism


Recent research shows that the prevalence of autism among people age 18 and over who are on Medicaid doubled between 2011 and 2019.

I wonder if this includes people with that new strain of autism that’s been going around lately. I call it SDA, which stands for self-diagnosed autism.

I notice that there seem to be more and more people running around claiming to be autistic. But they seem like regular folks.

This seems like a triumph of marketing. Because in recent years, we’ve developed a much better understanding of autism, which is a good thing. When I was a kid, autistic people were considered to be hopelessly oblivious and so we segregated them away in institutions so we wouldn’t have to be bothered with trying to figure them out.

But now,  autism is viewed as a spectrum with a lot of different variety. Autistic people are referred to as neurodivergent. That sounds much cooler. To be neurodivergent sounds like you’re a little bit weird. And it’s cool to be a little bit weird as long as it’s the  cool kind of weird and not the weirdo kind of weird.

All this makes it easier than ever to proudly proclaim that you are autistic. I’ve never seen anyone who goes around saying that they’re crippled for the same reason I ‘m crippled. No one ever claims to have what I have, unless they really do. It would creep me out if I met somebody like that, just like autistic people are probably creeped out by people with SDA.

 Maybe people don’t try to appropriate my kind of crippledness because there isn’t much that’s vague about that which makes me crippled. There’s no spectrum involved. You either have it or you don’t.

But I think the reason people don’t self-diagnose as being crippled for the same reason I am is because there’s nothing cool about it.

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