I think the weirdest thing I’ve discovered through this blog is that people respect me so much more as an autistic person than they ever have as an NT-passing person.
I make a pretty miserable excuse for an allistic, but apparently I’m pretty awesome at being autistic.
It’s annoying because I’m still closeted to 90% of people and I can’t help but wonder how life would change for me if I said ‘screw it’ and decided to be autistic all the time. I know there’d be some people who’d abandon me, but I feel like others might be more understanding and accepting of me if they knew why I do the things I do. I might even have an easier time finding work or getting educational services.
And yet I’m still too terrified to be open about who I am.
It could be different in your community, but I know several openly autistic people in Atlanta. We have not lost all that much. I applied to the law school at UGA with a personal statement partly about being autistic, got in, and got a merit scholarship that is, if anything, a little high for my numbers. UGA is a pretty respectable law school. You have to do your own cost-benefit analysis, but it has gone alright for at least some people.
Abled people complain about disabled people needing accommodations, because “in the real world there are no accommodations”.
But abled people receive accommodations all the time. Cars are an accommodation for those who can’t run a steady speed of 60 mph. Stairs are an accommodation for those who can’t jump from one story to the next. Phones are an accommodation for those who can’t communicate telepathically. Calculators are an accommodation for those who can’t do large math problems in their head. Lights are an accommodation for those who can’t see in the dark. Stoves are an accommodation for those who can’t heat things with their eyes. Clocks are an accommodation for those who can’t tell what time it is just by the position of the sun. Jackets are an accommodation for those who are susceptible to frostbite when it’s cold.
Abled people receive accommodations all the time, but since it’s considered socially acceptable to need those accommodations, they’re not considered accommodations. But imagine if you lived in a world where you needed those accommodations but most people didn’t. That’s what it feels like to be disabled.
This is an incredibly important post. As one of my favourite professors said, “Technology is not innocent." As in, all technology had to be designed by a human being. And chances are, if that human being had any biases or assumptions that could be translated into the technology they created, they probably wound up in there. Practically everything is designed specifically for abled people. Think about cars, for example. Could you drive a car one-handed? Well, yeah, very likely, but since most people have two hands, they designed the cars to use both hands. Two hands to grip the steering wheel, buttons and levers on both sides of said wheel, etc. There is nothing that says cars are better when you design them for one specific degree of physical wellness, but yet that is exactly how they’re designed. This extends to virtually everything human-made you see. I do mean everything.
So for the love of heaven, please don’t whine and complain when you see disabled people of any variety getting “special accommodations.” All technological design is purposeful. Every piece of technology you see was designed to accommodate someone. If you’re lucky enough to be accommodated by something’s most common design, don’t be an ass to people who would be better served by an alternate version.