Books on the subject of autism are usually written by people who are not neurodiverse. So Siena Castellon, a neurodiverse advocate, has written a book for teenage girls based on her own experiences. She says many people think of the character from the movie Rain Man when the word autism is mentioned. This is similar to thinking about wheelchairs when mentioning the word disability. Neither depicts the broad range of experiences for either group. And it’s not something that needs a cure.
In a New Scientist article Siena relates the common misconception that she should look different in some way. Because she doesn’t, most people think that she can’t be autistic. This is not a compliment. The belief that boys are more likely to have autism than girls is not backed up by evidence, but this idea still prevails. Being neurodiverse poses many challenges – mainly due to the stereotypes others apply to them.
Siena doesn’t think that community awareness has improved. Regardless, awareness doesn’t mean acceptance and equality. You can see more of Siena’s story in the New Scientist article, Autism isn’t a defect – here’s why we should embrace neurodiversity. There are more links in the article for further reading.
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