I need feedback from other members of the autistic community. Below is an article I’m working on. It’s about social expectations and how they correlate with us being labelled as “disordered”. Let me know what you think.
Autism is diagnosed as a “disorder” and I don’t feel it’s because we appear and behave differently than non-autistic people. I think we’re diagnosed as “disordered” because authoritative forces and figures have reinforced a arbitrary social standards in which human beings present and function.
Many of us perform social interactions in a cognitive manner to reach these standards. I can mask myself and pretend I can naturally adhere to them. This phenomenon has opened my eyes to how autism and all autistic people are held to standards constructs of “normalcy” we can’t constantly adhere to.
I can fake eye contact by staring around the eyes in calculated intervals. If I stop doing this, I’m “disordered”. But I keep doing it because I get treated like a “normal” human being.
I can consciously project a tone of voice that may or may not be “correct”. If I’m wrong or stop doing this, I’m “disordered”. But I keep doing it because I get treated like a “normal” human being.
I can manually reciprocate facial expressions that are not genuine in order to suit a social exchange. If I stop doing this, I’m “disordered”. But I keep doing it because I get treated like a “normal” human being.
I can think of words and phrases to say during linear exchanges in order to appeal to the arbitrary “flow of conversation”. If I stop doing this, I’m “disordered”. But I keep doing it because I get treated like a “normal” human being.
I am ultra sensitive to light, sound, and touch. I have learned to internalize my sensitivities because showing that my senses overwhelm me results in being accused of faking discomfort.
We mask our traits for social survival. And there are many more examples of traits that I personally mask, but the point is that any deviation from arbitrary social normalcy results in us being treated like lesser human beings excluded from humanity.
Masking is overwhelming and exhausting, but I do it because it’s the only time I’m treated like what is falsely regarded as a “functioning human being”. And the instant I can’t mask for whatever reason, I become a social liability.
From work, to school, to private lives, perfect social nuance and normalcy is expected of us. It is morally corrupt and abusive to hold autistic people up to these able-ist standards.
Furthermore, masking to attain and sustain social standards is what the concepts of “low-functioning” and “high-functioning” autism are based on. Functioning levels are primarily determined by individual needs for accomodations. And if an autistic person’s ability to mask is deemed sufficient enough, they are only then considered “high-functioning”.
In summation, autism should not be considered a “mental disorder”. It is moreso a mental condition that results from a variation in the human genome. And this variation affects the way a human being presents themselves and interacts with surroundings environments.