This question popped up in a recent FB discussion.
I have to admit that I find the amount of anti-NT rhetoric a bit frustrating; I don’t think that criticism of the majority of people on this planet does us any favours. However, I understand its origin. As an autistic person, I’ve suffered all sorts of grief due to neurotypical people. This makes it difficult to formulate a balanced argument. Positions are taken up, and mud is slinging. It doesn’t help that so-called educated, grown men are going out of their way to criticize an admirable teenage girl. Why is this happening?
Well, I think that some of the people attacking Greta achieved their success through social posturing – NT hierarchies, paradigms and backroom deals that autistic people (with diminished social skills) struggle to access. We may not have the social skills to achieve the shallow success of some of today’s politicians and media personalities, but – like Greta – we have skills and insight that challenges those tattered social conventions propping them up. Which leads us to the strongest human emotion, rearing its ugly head in the words of those arrogant guardians of the pearly gates of politics.
Unfortunately, fear is the strongest human emotion and it can lead to ignorance and lack of acceptance of anyone different. I think jealousy is also a factor here; everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame, these days – hurts to see anyone else get it. Not to make excuses, but I also feel that this is a chaotic and trying time for any movement, or group of people, looking for acceptance. I think some NTs, and their families, are stressed out beyond belief; this may cause them to lash out irrationally at anything new. In this environment, I think acceptance and understanding of ASD will take time – and diplomacy.
Interestingly, Greta, in my mind, would generate different responses compared to some of the more “outlandish” autistic personalities out here, each vying for attention via YouTube; they have only one thing in common – autism. As a teacher, and a former biologist, I think Greta Thunberg is a fantastic role model for any young person – let alone autistic people. If she’s a bit tame for you, you don’t have to look far to find another autistic role model to suit your own personal modus operandi.