Feminist Aspie

I’m Not Sick: A rant about neurotypical privilege.

on February 12, 2013

Blogger’s Note, written 28/6/2015: Wow. This post is getting a LOT of traffic. It seems to be fairly high up on Google searches for “neurotypical privilege”, and last night it was posted on various social media sites by the wonderful Autistic Self Advocacy Network and my stats have exploded and it’s scary and wonderful. Thank you so much! I wrote this almost two and a half years ago, when I’d only been blogging for a couple of months, so apologies if the wording isn’t perfect. I absolutely stand by everything I’ve written here, but that might not necessarily apply to all my other really old posts that may appear near this one; I’ve learned so much since I started this blog, and I’m so grateful to those of you who have helped me on that journey. If you’re new, which you probably are, you might be interested in checking out my more recent posts! In particular, because I’m conscious that people might come here looking for a full explanation of neurotypical privilege, I feel like I should point out that this post is based on my experiences as an autistic person specifically, and whilst autistic activists coined the terms of the neurodiversity movement, there is far far more to neurodiversity (and neurotypical privilege) than just autism. As you can probably tell, I lost track of replying to comments on this page a looooooong time ago, but I’m still reading and I really do appreciate your feedback. Finally, sorry about the big Buzz Lightyear thumbnails on social media – it was meant to only be a temporary avatar, honest… Okay, take it away, younger self!

I am autistic, and I’m sick of neurotypical privilege.

I’m sick of hearing that I and others like me can’t live a full life. We can, and we do. We just need a little help sometimes.

I’m sick of being told my experience isn’t real, that I’m just an attention-seeker or a special snowflake, or having those accusations directed at my parents.

I’m sick of the myth that vaccines cause autism. And even if that were true, I’m sick of people avoiding vaccinating their children because they’d rather they get ill or even die than be like me.

I’m sick of autism being compared to cancer and AIDS. The latter two are diseases which can and do kill. Autism is not.

I’m sick of hearing that autism is an “epidemic”. The reason that more people are diagnosed with autism now is that there is so much more awareness regarding autism. The numbers will probably continue to increase for a while, for that reason.

I’m sick of being told I have to pass for neurotypical to be liked and accepted by my peers. I have a great circle of friends who are really understanding and supportive. If  people judge me for not being neurotypical, that says more about them than it does about me.

I’m sick of hearing that stimming is a bad thing. If it’s not hurting anybody, I don’t see what the problem is. And if rocking and flapping and twitching is what’s going to stop me having a meltdown, that’s what I’ll do. I’m sick of being told in one breath that you have to learn to cope and in the next breath that you can’t do that to cope.

I’m sick of being told not to scream after I’ve screamed at a sudden loud bang. Emphasis on the word sudden. It’s not like I thought about it and made a conscious choice to scream.

I’m sick of the people around me saying “Stop that, it’s embarrassing” or “That must really annoy your friends” when it doesn’t. I’m especially sick of that under the guise of “We’re used to you, but other people…” when they seem to have more of a problem with it than other people.

I’m sick of all this driving me to a meltdown and then being told that that’s embarassing too.

I’m sick of “quiet hands”.

I’m sick of most of the “treatment” for autism being based on making people on the spectrum pass for neurotypical, rather than social skills or advocacy or something else that might actually solve some problems. I’m sick of living in a society in which the most important thing, above all else, is to comply.

I’m sick of conditioned compliance.

I’m sick of literally greeting people with apologies because of the constant fear that I’m screwing up, that I don’t know how to comply. Everyone who knows me is sick of it, too.

I’m sick of struggling to make minor decisions in public (like what to order for food) because there’s only one right answer, only one way to comply, and I’m sick of not believing people (at the time) when they tell me they really don’t mind what I choose. Again, everyone who knows me is sick of it. Everyone is sick of conditioned compliance, so it seems.

I’m sick of being spoken for.

I’m sick of all the media, the panels, all the publicity surrounding the autistic spectrum focusing on people who aren’t actually on the spectrum – the family, the friends, the “experts”, everyone but the person who knows what it’s like. I don’t want to attack all those people – they’re usually well-meaning and really want to help, and please keep fighting the good fight – but seriously, an all-male panel discussing sexism clearly isn’t a good idea, and I’m sick of people not seeing that an all-neurotypical panel discussing autism isn’t a good idea either. Especially when they don’t listen to people who are actually on the spectrum

I’m sick of not being listened to because I don’t have a child or another relative on the spectrum. am autistic. Is that not enough?

I’m sick of being treated like a child.

I’m sick of people telling me I’m “not really autistic” because I’m not like another autistic person they know. It’s called a spectrum for a reason. This counts double when they’re a child; if I’m a lot older than them, of course I’m going to be more able with some aspects of life, autism or no autism. Nowadays, I rarely have public meltdowns and I can follow the major social rules (e.g. personal space), but I’m sick of people assuming this also applies to my childhood. It doesn’t.

I’m especially sick of the above when the person telling me I’m “not autistic enough” isn’t on the spectrum themselves. How is it logical that I’m “not autistic enough” to know what I’m talking about, but you’re qualified when you’re not autistic at all?

I’m sick of functioning labels and the assumptions they carry with them.

I’m sick of the assumption that people who are verbal are “high-functioning” and people who are non-verbal are “low-functioning”.

I’m sick of people on the spectrum being told they’re either too “high-functioning” to know what they’re talking about, or too “low-functioning” to know what they’re talking about.

I’m sick of worrying that people won’t understand my needs because I’m apparently “high-functioning”. Similarly, I’m sick of the potential of other people on the spectrum being ignored because they’re apparently “low-functioning”.

I’m sick of being told that Asperger’s syndrome isn’t “really autism”. I’d imagine that people with PDD-NOS are sick of being told the same about that.

I’m sick of the constant thought that one day, there might be a pill or an injection that could wipe out people like me, that could turn me into the norm, that could make me comply, that wouldn’t care that most of my personality is eradicated along with it.

I’m sick of being told I’m selfish for not wanting such a cure, and that the people telling me I do need a cure are somehow not selfish.

Autism isn’t a sickness. Neurotypical privilege is.


136 responses to “I’m Not Sick: A rant about neurotypical privilege.

  1. Spencer says:

    While I do agree with most statements on this list, I have to disagree with the severity of them. I admit I don’t know what your situation is, but for me, (and I’m not sure if it’s just the fact that I don’t make my autism as public or not but anyways) I don’t face these problems. And while I’d love to hop aboard the victim train, I’m not going to. We’re all human.

    • Philip Zamora says:

      Oh, thanks goodness. I thought I was the only one who felt that way. Look, autism diagnosis doesn’t give one the right to forego social rules and self-restraint. If the author of this blog thinks they should receive special treatment for being, quite frankly, a horse’s rear end, that’s their deal. But, as for me, I’ve been autistic my entire life on this planet (33 years) and I am grateful that I was taught to knock off the stimming and the outbursts and the meltdowns and adopt how other people deal with stress. It can be learned, yes, it does take time. But, the author of this blog may never understand that because they appear not to want to. That’s all fine and good for you, miss, but don’t be surprised if you get negative responses to your negative behaviors.

      • J says:

        That is a good point to be made, however I believe the point the author was making was that society wants everyone to conform to society’s expectations whilst people on the spectrum should be able to exhibit their characteristics without being seen as less than neurotypical individuals. People on the spectrum shouldn’t have to learn to deal with stress in a way that’s perceived as acceptable (although having outbursts is rather extreme and it would be nice to be taught how to calm down), stimming is extremely harmless and if that’s something someone finds enjoyable or calming they should not be restricted in doing so. And in regards to viewing it as a “negative behavior” it is because it is perceived as not normal as neurotypical people don’t do it, I think so long as your behaviours are not hurting yourself or others it is perfectly fine to continue doing it.

      • J says:

        That is a good point to be made, however I believe the point the author was making was that society wants everyone to conform to society’s expectations, when people on the spectrum should be able to exhibit their characteristics without being seen as less than neurotypical individuals. People on the spectrum shouldn’t have to learn to deal with stress in a way that’s perceived as acceptable (although having outbursts is rather extreme and it would be nice to be taught how to calm down), stimming is extremely harmless and if that’s something someone finds enjoyable or calming they should not be restricted in doing so. And in regards to viewing it as a “negative behavior” it is because it is perceived as not normal as neurotypical people don’t do it, I think so long as your behaviours are not hurting yourself or others it is perfectly fine to continue doing it.

  2. Hey! Love to hear it all..Newly realized my aspieness, huge struggles…as a child and now…ow!
    So many validations in the words spoken here…thankyou…

  3. autistics.org says:

    Are There Any Treatments For NT?

    There is no known cure for Neurotypical Syndrome.

    What Is NT?

    Neurotypical syndrome is a neurobiological disorder characterized by preoccupation with social concerns, delusions of superiority, and obsession with conformity.

    Neurotypical individuals often assume that their experience of the world is either the only one, or the only correct one. NTs find it difficult to be alone. NTs are often intolerant of seemingly minor differences in others. When in groups NTs are socially and behaviorally rigid, and frequently insist upon the performance of dysfunctional, destructive, and even impossible rituals as a way of maintaining group identity. NTs find it difficult to communicate directly, and have a much higher incidence of lying as compared to persons on the autistic spectrum.

    NT is believed to be genetic in origin. Autopsies have shown the brain of the neurotypical is typically smaller than that of an autistic individual and may have overdeveloped areas related to social behavior.

    Have a look here : http://isnt.autistics.org/

    Couldn’t stop laughing

  4. Mackenzie says:

    I can say that “neurotypical privelage” doesn’t exist, and autism really is bad. Now I bet you’re going to say, “well you’re just some normal asshole who needs to check his privelage” but I have Aspergers. And I hate it. Partially because I’m paired with other cancerous autists, and partially because I am a cancerous autist. And anyone who wants to not vaccinate their child has full right. Plus, there haven’t even been any 3rd party tests of vaccines, and the only tests have been done by the companies who make the vaccines. Plus, who cares if someone else’s kid gets sick because they aren’t vaccinated? It isn’t gonna affect your vaccinated kid supposedly. And I do personally blame my Aspergers on vaccine damage. Now shut up you stuck up feminist, there is something wrong with autism, and we all know it.

    • dennis says:

      Meaning ‘we’re not able to play Normdom’s social dominance (rubbish) games’?

      If ‘becoming the God’ is the goal in life – or even just belonging – then that isn’t likely to happen. If it does, it’s going to be strictly a matter of convenience from the Norms who are ‘using’ you as a means to further their own ends.

      The reason WE are not likely to be accepted by Normdom as a whole is simply that WE are ‘social liabilities’ as far as Normdom is concerned.

      Ever wonder why the other two names for ‘social intelligence’ are ‘political intelligence’ and ‘Machiavellian intelligence’? Further, do you wonder why ‘social reality’ shouldn’t have similar alternative names, e.g. ‘Political Reality’ and ‘Machiavellian Reality’. Finally, should we limit ourselves to just *one* part of the dark triad when expressing what’s going on in a given Normie’s head? As in one needs to add Narcissism and Psychopathy (gasp!) to the social realm so as to truly comprehend it (at least to the degree one who lacks the needed INSTINCTS *can* comprehend it)?

      While implementing ‘the forty-eight laws of power’ is beyond the capacity of most autists – it is well beyond mine – that book, and others like it, are useful so as to ***learn*** what Normdom does – as a rule – by instinct. That is, most Normies don’t need to be taught how to do social gamesmanship – they just do it. (Watch a group of toddlers/preschoolers sometimes. They have an ***astonishing*** grasp of social dynamics and just ***how*** to #game# each other.)

      So, if that’s your goal, then you’re absolutely right. Being autistic DOES stink THEN – and nothing short of an effectual *brain transplant* – where all that comprises you and who you are in truth is expunged, and is replaced by an utterly different NORMAL consciousness with the appropriate Normalistic instincts – will cause you to become, and be recognized as – Normal.

      • anon says:

        do you have any ides what you just posted? if i’m you, i wouldn’t be prejudiced against all autistic people. it isn’t their fault that the ways they are.

    • anonymous says:

      You’re such a hypocrite and a traitor to other autistic people, Mackenzie. It’s ironic that you called her stuck-up when you sound that way. So it’s you should shut up instead.

  5. Anonymous says:

    It saddens me that a lot of the points you bring up are actually very good ones, feministaspie. It’s sad to me because — and I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt here in assuming you are autistic — I would not expect an inherently logical person to buy into the victimhood narrative of feminism. It’s evident from this blog of yours that that victimhood narrative corrupts even your own perspective on autistic people.

    Rant and rave all you like, but it won’t help autistic people in the slightest. In fact, it makes the rest of us look bad by association and ultimately tarnishes the already bad reputation autistic people have in the zeitgeist. We’re a true minority in the world. The world will not change for us. If you actually want to help low functioning and high functioning autistic people alike, spread awareness, not hate. For someone who wants compassion and understanding from other people so badly, it surprises me that you don’t take some of Mohandas Gandhi’s most famous words to heart, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

    And just so you know, I’m not going to look back at this post of mine to check for replies. I actually used an anonymous email address to comment because I’m all too familiar with the reputation that social justice types have when it comes to dissenting opinion and contrary information.

    That said, I may as well stoop to your level for a moment and let you in on a secret: How does it feel to know that an autistic and “evil” straight-white-male MRA actually agreed with a lot of your points about being autistic?

    I saw from another one of your blogs that you’re a fan of trigger warnings. How’s this for a fucking TRIGGER WARNING(?):

  6. Chris Mcclure says:

    Anyone who is not empathic and practicing positivity and abundance toward anothers difficulties is not disciplined. 🙂

    • anon says:

      you got that right.

      • Sharon says:

        I apologise in advance for the language I am using here.
        1. If you are a neurotypical who gets his or her kicks from bullying anyone
        different to you, you’re a dick.
        2. If you grab and squeeze the developing breasts of an aspie girl, you’re a dick.
        3. If you use the s word, the r word or the m word, you’re a dick.
        3. If you ask an aspie whether he or she is gay because they don’t have a boy or girlfriend, you’re a dick.
        4. If you are a medical professional who puts an aspie on antipsychotics only a matter of minutes after meeting them, then you’re (guess what?) A DICK!
        These are the various dick moves neurotypicals indulge in, simply to feel superior to the ones they consider freaks. Oh, one last thing. If you’re a neurotypical who wants to eradicate autism, believing it to be a fate worse than measles? You are most definitely a dick of mass proportions.

      • anon says:

        you have no idea who the hell i am, Sharon. who the fuck are you to make false assumptions about me when you don’t even know me?! i only agreed with Chris because he’s right about what he posted. i mean, would you want an undisciplined bastard being unempathetic to you because of your difficulties?!

        for your information, i’m not neurotypical. in fact, i don’t like many neurotypicals. so being biased to me just because i agreed with a guy you know nothin’ about makes you just as bad as a prejudiced NT. so before makin’ false assumptions about me, get to know me first!

  7. Sharon says:

    The neurotypical types I really cannot stand are those in positions of power (namely those in the medical profession) who constantly take advantage of those considered “easy targets” by prescribing dangerous drugs in an attempt to “normalize ” and deriding any “special interests.” Then they wonder why they’re hated so much by the aspies. Yes, well, those pathetic excuses for humans didn’t break me. But they made me what I am today. I take heart in the thought that one day they will be made accountable for their actions.
    Buy your way out of that, neurotypical scum! Oh yes, they will get what’s coming to them- one day when they least expect it.

  8. tendies boy says:



  9. Helena Socha says:

    Great stuff jolly good.

  10. Sharon says:

    Regarding insight into Aspergers and Aspies, I would like to share the following story :
    A woman with Aspergers was walking along the beach one afternoon when she spotted something which looked like Aladdin’s lamp sticking out of the sand. She dug it out, rubbed it clean, and a genie came out of it.
    When the genie saw the woman he said: “Thank you for releasing me from my confined space. As a reward, you have one wish, and I will grant it if it is within my power to do so.”
    The woman considered this, then said: “Well, sir, the truth is, this world is not made for the likes of me. No one understands me at all. So what I wish for is my own island in the middle of nowhere, complete with all the comforts I am used to.”
    The genie thought this over for a moment, and replied: “I’m not sure if that is possible. There would be so much to organize and consider- electricity, food, the island’s location in the ocean- is there anything else you desire?”
    The woman thought again, then said: “Well, if having my own island isn’t an option, then my wish would be to understand those who are known as neurotypical people better- especially men, because they act in ways that confuse and upset me, such as touching and kissing me when I’m not expecting it, acting like total predators – ‘I want, I get’- all the time, and never explaining their behaviour. I would really like to know why they do the things they do and behave in this unattractive manner.”
    The genie listened to this spiel of the woman’s then asked her: “So, where exactly would you like your island to be?”

  11. Shellique says:

    Hi all. I was once autistic but now am NT because Jesus Christ healed me of autism. I no longer agree with autistic pride or hating NTs. Coping with life is much easier for me now. And the best thing is that I am stigma free! Please take a look at my post on my website about autistic pride: http://www.exautistic.co.za/2016/11/26/autistic-and-disability-pride/

    • anon says:

      biased much? for your information, not all autistic people are bad just as not all neurotypical folks are good. if you think that autism is something that can be cured, you’re sadly mistaken.

      if i’m you, i wouldn’t be judgmental to all autistic folks. besides, they can help neuortypicals with certain things.

      how would you like it if other people attack you for who you are? if I didn’t know better, i’d say that that you love jocks and hate nerds. without nerds, earth will still be stuck in either medieval or ancient times. after all, nerds help us progress. one example is that they can assist us in being smarter.

      so you better lay the hell off bashing all autistic people.

    • Autism is not something that can or needs to be healed. Autism is a physically different brain. I am not doubting that Jesus can perform miracles, but removing autism from someone is not a miracle, it is a tragedy. If you are neurotypical now, you were always neurotypical.

      • anon says:

        i agree with everything that you posted. if you ask me, Shellique’s an excuse for a Christian. as far as i’m concerned, a true Christian avoids bias by being open-minded and accepting of others.

    • Janine Booth says:

      Did you copy and paste from the ex-gay movement and replace ‘gay’ with ‘autistic’?

  12. Janine Booth says:

    Or, in other words, “I used to be unusual, but now I believe in an invisible deity who chose to interfere in my brain but not to prevent war and genocide. So I’m normal now.”

  13. Sharon says:

    I wish to apologise to anyone and everyone who was offended by my words. I know it’s no excuse, but I let my anger get in the way all because of my painful past. I really need to stop blaming every person on the planet for scumbags ways. I’m sure I’m not alone when it comes to being treated unfairly. But really, isn’t it time prejudice towards anyone with any form of disability was called out? After all, it’s considered wrong to discriminate against anyone of different race/colour or those who are gay or transgender. All difference needs to be accepted, not merely tolerated.

    • anon says:

      very well then, i forgive you. and to prove it to you, i agree with everything that you posted. besides, you’re so right about wrong it is discriminate against those who are different and that maybe all differences need to be accepted instead of just tolerated.

      • Sharon says:

        The more I hear about disability discrimination, the more I believe promoting the belief of “Acceptance not tolerance” is easier said than done. There needs to be understanding before there is acceptance. Too many examples of ignorance still exist- even in these so-called “enlightened, liberated” times. Two of these include an Australian footballer calling another player the r-word and still being allowed to play, and an employee of a welfare organisation in Australia who was fired but reinstated, despite the fact that he used a derogatory expression which I’m sure many aspies would find offensive (hint: starts with s and rhymes with plastic). Imagine the outrage if either of these men had used racist or homophobic slurs. They’d be vilified. But since it’s merely a disabled slur, no one cares- unless they are directly affected themselves.
        Work that out and play fair. This is one reason why I’m so angry. Why is it so hard for people to do the right thing? I ask you. Surely I’m not alone in believing that it’s unfair.

  14. transrp says:

    I have Aspergers which has its own set of problems, but I kinda agree with you. We reside in the uncanny valley, but mostly do not share a lot of your symptoms. However, because we are not “obviously different”, rather just “creepy”, (look up uncanny valley) we do not even get the benefit of knowing that we are being “discriminated against” we are just outsiders who people do not “like”. But I have been lucky enough to have a few people close to me.

  15. Gary DeVaney says:

    Complaint: Resisting life.

  16. […] It’s happened time and time AGAIN within this community, and I’m sick of it. […]

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