Autism Acceptance is understanding that autism is not inherently bad or inherently good. It’s understanding that to make such a statement is just as nonsensical as classifying neurotypicality as inherently good or bad.
It’s accepting Autistic people and people with autism as people who are wired differently, and that’s fine. A cat is not a defective dog. A linux computer is not a defective Windows machine. An Autistic person is not a defective neurotypical.
Autism Acceptance is understanding that Autistic people are just not like neurotypical people, that we never will be, and that’s OK.
Autism Acceptance does line up well with what many neurodiversity advocates aim for – we are wired differently, and we support the strengths people have and we find ways to accommodate for the weaknesses, both the ones which are considered disabilities and those which are simply considered differences.
Autism Acceptance means supporting the Autistic person in learning the things they want to learn and in gaining the skills they need for what they want to do.
Autism Acceptance is the radical assertion that at the level of broad, overarching principles, what Autistic people need isn’t that different. We need to be accepted for who we are. We need to hear that we’re OK, we need to hear that the things we have trouble with don’t make us broken or lazy or horrible people.
We need people’s actions towards us to reflect that. We need people to listen when we say we need help, and we need people to listen when we say we don’t. We need to be taken as the whole people that we are, and we need to be met with the understanding that we are the experts in our own lives and abilities. Would you want to go without those things? No, I didn’t think so.
Regardless of neurology, Autism Acceptance is just reminding us that Autistic people are people, and that as such, we need those things too.
Alyssa Z recently finished her third year of college as a mathematics, engineering, and Chinese triple major and her tenth year of studying Chinese. She does research at her university in nanotechnology, which is among her Autistic obsessions. (Other Autistic obsessions are math and autism itself.) Between writing about her Autistic life at Yes, That Too, trying to get Because PATTERNS! off the ground, juggling three majors, assisting classes for The Art of Problem Solving, singing baritone for the student-run a capella group, and trying to make it to fencing and ultimate frisbee, she is often busier than she knows what to do with.