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coldalbion:

grace-and-ace:

neddythestylish:

memelordrevan:

rosslynpaladin:

iamthethunder:

s8yrboy:

“If autism isn’t caused by environmental factors and is natural why didn’t we ever see it in the past?”

We did, except it wasn’t called autism it was called “Little Jonathan is a r*tarded halfwit who bangs his head on things and can’t speak so we’re taking him into the middle of the cold dark forest and leaving him there to die.”

Or “little Jonathan doesn’t talk but does a good job herding the sheep, contributes to the community in his own way, and is, all around, a decent guy.” That happened a lot, too, especially before the 19th century.

Or, backing up FURTHER

and lots of people think this very likely,

“Oh little Sionnat has obviously been taken by the fairies and they’ve left us a Changeling Child who knows too much, and asks strange questions, and uses words she shouldn’t know, and watches everything with her big dark eyes, clearly a Fairy Child and not a Human Like Us.”

The Myth of the Changeling child, a human baby apparently replaced at a young age by a toddler who “suddenly” acts “strange and fey” is an almost textbook depiction of autistic children.

To this day, “autism warrior mommies” talk about autism “stealing” their “sweet normal child” and have this idea of “getting their real baby back” which (in the face of modern science)  indicates how the human psyche actually does deal with finding out their kid acts unlike what they expected.

Given this evidence, and how common we now know autism actually is, the Changeling myth is almost definitely the result of people’s confusion at the development of autistic children.

Weirdly enough, that legend is now comforting to me.

I think it’s worth noting that many like me, who are diagnosed with ASD now, would probably have been seen as just a bit odd in centuries past. I’m only a little bit autistic; I can pass for neurotypical for short periods if I work really hard at it. I have a lack of talent in social situations, and I’m prone to sensory overload or you might notice me stimming.

But here’s the thing: life is louder, brighter and more intense and confusing than it has ever been. I live on the edge of London and I rarely go into the centre of town because it’s too overwhelming. If I went back in time and lived on a farm somewhere, would anyone even notice there was anything odd about me? No police sirens, no crowded streets that go on for miles and miles, no flickery electric lights. Working on a farm has a clear routine. I’d be a badass at spinning cloth or churning butter because I find endless repetition soothing rather than boring.

I’m not trying to romanticise the past because I know it was hard, dirty work with a constant risk of premature death. I don’t actually want to be a 16th century farmer! What I’m saying is that disability exists in the context of the environment. Our environment isn’t making people autistic in the sense of some chemical causing brain damage. But we have created a modern environment which is hostile to autistic people in many ways, which effectively makes us more disabled. When you make people more disabled, you start to see more people struggling, failing at school because they’re overwhelmed, freaking out at the sound of electric hand dryers and so on. And suddenly it looks like there’s millions more autistic people than existed before.

“…disability exists in the context of the environment.”

Reblog for disability commentary.

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