TRIGGER WARNING: Use of “retardation” and discrimination
My mother encountered a barrier with my autism development: that I was so smart. She was warned about it time after time. I mean, I passed with high intelligence marks on most tests. Even at my last counseling center, my diagnosis was changed to “Asperger’s” because I showed no signs of intellectual disability. This troubled me greatly, because even today (August 10, 2016), I struggle with various effects of autism daily. For example, the washing machine running in the background even as I write bugs me today, simply because it makes a lot of noise. It is a lot of struggle that nobody really sees. Most of the internal symptoms of autism are there. But the thing is, people think that the autistic are stupid, too stupid in fact to be very successful, if at all. I think this is the stereotype that Benedict Cumberbatch still believes.
I’m curious to know why people with autism are lumped in as stupid, or, dare I say it, “retarded,” or otherwise not smart. Is it because we do not think exactly like you? Nobody thinks exactly alike, because nobody is raised or experiences exactly the same thing. Even identical twins have different thoughts.
Maybe this is just plain old fear of the different. Fear of different is a major theme throughout all of human history. People have tried to segregate, ostracize, beat (think Applied Behavior Analysis and Conversion Therapy), shun and otherwise rid themselves of differences throughout all human history. Isn’t it time we finally accepted difference and realize it is all part of humanity? Or do we have to keep pushing difference out of society until we are all small-minded, like the people of Lilliput in Gulliver’s Travels?
More to the point, how do we explain to the general public that we are not as stupid as the general public thinks we are? That is the real trouble. I am very insulted by this particular stereotype, or should I say myth? I knew people were making fun of me. I heard about the stuff behind my back later, too. I also know that people make fun of those they hate, aka the different. I hope one day that the fact that I have intellectual capacity is not news to the general public, but if the general public stays stubborn and obstinate the way it does….
Maybe I am losing hope.