Yenn’s A-Z: B is for… brains! (Or why I don’t need to be ‘fixed’)

You have probably heard the phrase ‘different not less’. It is often used to describe neurodivergent / autistic people ad how we experience the world in a different way to others and how our brains are wired differently and that being OK – or actually a really good thing. I subscribe to that view. Nobody’s neurology is better – or worse -= than anyone else’s. All our brains are wired differently and that is absolutely fine, OK and wonderful. If you said to me ‘Yennski. If you take this medication it will cure your autism’ I would decline, emphatically. And I know a lot of other autistic folks who would decline too. For many of us we see our autism as being a key part of our character and personality. It can define how we see the world. It means that many of us have intense passionate interests that we become experts in and which give us immense joy. We are often honest and loyal and kind. We are often creative and imaginative. There are so many famous autistic people in all areas of life, particularly in science and entertainment but everywhere really. And it isn’t just famous people. There are autistic people everywhere in the world, in every occupation and every kind of relationship, family, interest group…. Everywhere!

Of course there are challenges around autism. Lots of these relate to sensory issues, overload, burnout and facing discrimination from others which can make life hard. I was once described as being ‘blissfully autistic’. I think this was meant as a criticism. It came from one of those people who think autism is all bad and autistic people in need of somehow being fixed. I actually took the blissfully autistic label on board and made it a positive. Why shouldn’t I be blissful? Of course life can be hard and autism isn’t all fun, and excitement and fulfilment but then being neurotypical comes with its own challenges too. And in my experience the worst parts of being autistic I have experienced have been due to prejudice, bullying or people not making spaces accessible for me. That isn’t autism’s fault. It is the fault of a world that is often ableist.

Please don’t try and fix me. I don’t need fixing. And neither does any other autistic or Neurodivergent person. We need loving, understanding, kindness, respect, a listening ear and friendship. There is no room on that list for fixes or cures. Our divergent brains are valid just as they are. 

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