A burden on society
The energy spent in lobbying and advocacy and awareness campaigns, the fight for recognition and rights is often a misdirected waste of time, money and creative effort. They demand sympathy from an increasingly callous audience, for an increasingly disparaging message: that there is a large agglomeration of inherently suboptimal citizens who must be dragged along forever by means of institutionally funded altruism, being incapable of ‘living independently’, let alone contributing to the optimisation of our world. (As though the former were a prerequisite for the latter.)
The paradigm is wrong
The message is based on a fairly complex, false paradigm, but the more this paradigm is repeated and believed by governments, the medical profession, charities, employers, relatives of autistics and autistics themselves, the harder it becomes to change the systemic problems which it creates. The paradigm is that autism is that autism is necessarily bad and unfortunate, and that if it cannot be cured, the best one can hope for is to be ‘brave’ and ‘cope’ with autism.
This paradigm is wrong. The same science which is used to support it, can be used to refute it.
Autistic people have a neurological predisposition which has both advantages and disadvantages. You just have to optimise that system. That goes for average people too.
Until you really understand how autistic abilities work, you’ll believe they exist only in the minority of autistic people. Until then, you’ll be advocating for awareness of autism as a disability instead of for the optimisation of autistic ability. People who deal daily with autistic children often shut their eyes to what autistics who can type are saying about autism, because they think that what these people say could not possibly be true of the autistic person in their lives, who can neither type nor speak. Many of those autistic people who are now communicating using words had to face the same presumption of incompetence for years. Presume competence, and learn how to unlock it. Most people are not willing to learn from those they do not respect or regard as being knowledgeable. No wonder so many autism professionals learn so little about autism from autistics. No wonder so many of them know so little there is to know about autism and yet continue to earn good money in the autism industry.
More resources and services won’t help all that much if you’re fighting a senseless war. Presume competence. Optimise autism whilst constantly designing it into an optimised society, ecology and economy. Autistics currently form a suboptimal part of these macrosystems, and by optimising both the part and the whole, you will have optimised the entire system and all its constituents, not only the autistic ones. Optimisation alone has the potential to fund any subsidisation that may still be needed afterwards for the minority who after all that still can justifiably be called completely disabled.
What I am talking about is not “faith”, “hope” or “idealism”. It is not far-fetched or impractical. It is pragmatic, common sense, and it requires no more love and social decency than there is currently available. It just requires humility to examine a different, more neutral approach to autism, less coloured by the negative indoctrination which is perpetuated even by most of its most ardent advocates. At least, that’s the first step — the simplest, and most difficult step. The rest of the steps are by comparison complex, but easy.