Daily Archives: August 20, 2006

autism (stereo)types


Someone posted on LiveJournal about supposed “subtypes” of autism, based on various celebrities, some of whom are autistic. [Edit: I was responding apparently to a work-in-progress posted illegally. What I say below was in response to what I saw, as written, not to all the things I didn’t see and didn’t know. It would still be my response if this were the finished product, and is still my response to the many finished products that look very similar to it. See comments for details.]

This reminds me of when someone asked me a question several years back, “Are you a Temple Grandin type or a Donna Williams type?”

I’m an Amanda Baggs type. As in, I’m myself. Not Temple Grandin, not Donna Williams, and certainly not a point on a line between the two of them as if they’re another “spectrum” unto themselves. There are more than two kinds of autistic people in the world, and even if there were truth in this stuff, I doubt that the first two major autiebiographies would be written by perfect representatives of each.

I wonder how many newly-identified auties sit there trying to force-fit themselves: “Am I autistic? Or am I AS? How high-functioning am I exactly? And am I more like Temple Grandin or Donna Williams? Or more like Andy Warhol or Albert Einstein? Can I really be autistic if I don’t fit the standard descriptions of any of these?” And how many auties end up totally alienated by this stuff.