My Autism Checklist
I was a child in the 90’s, during the Asperger’s diagnosis boom. More and more kids were being identified as on the Autism spectrum. The checklists were getting to be well-known and more widely utilized, leading to more identification of something that had always been there. Some people mistook this as an increase in Autism, rather than an increase in knowledge. These people typically panicked, assuming more Autism (and more Autistic people) had to be a bad thing.
Autism was getting to be well-known, but in very limited, stereotyped terms. Trouble with eye contact. Repetitive play, lining up trucks or cars. Meltdowns that were obvious and troublesome. Poor academic performance, at least in some areas. If you weren’t “bad enough”, or weren’t bad in certain ways, you wouldn’t even be considered. I was not diagnosed with anything.
Are you the parent of a child?
Is your child not meeting developmental milestones?
Is your child excessively interested in trains?
Does your child thrash or bite and scream?
Does your child rock in place?
Is your child a boy?
Is your boy child disruptive but good at math?
Does your child not talk much, and not make eye contact?
Do you feel burdened by your child?
If so your child is “a person with autism”!
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Common knowledge carried even more weight than these checklists, even in the minds of doctors, psychologists, and teachers. Autistic children were boys. They were rude and blunt, the type to kick mom in the shins or chew on the rug for hours or shit themselves with rage. They were interested in machines and very good at math. They were trouble. They were not nice or friendly or kind. They…