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Not all autistics have supportive families. Some have parents who describe them as vile and appalling, and refuse to acknowledge their disability, or to learn anything about it. Some have families who just don’t want to know, because knowing would deprive them of the right to dismiss, to belittle. Once they allow it as truth they are denied their righteous anger, denied the right to interpret every event their own way.

Not all autistics have supportive workplaces. When colleagues use ‘autistic’ to mean annoying, disruptive, obstructive, self-centred… or whatever the negative personality trait du jour is, then it’s hard to feel anything other than unwelcome and unwanted.

Not all autistics can shrug off their constant failure to understand the why of other people’s actions. Maintaining a facade of constant understanding to cover lifelong confusion is exhausting, but knowing that the moment the mask slips is the end of any form of acceptance leaves little choice.

Not all autistics have the strength to keep fighting every autistic behaviour, or to deal with people’s response to their failure to do so. To realise that the mocking smiles exchanged behind your back at school are still being exchanged thirty years later and know that this won’t stop until the day you die, well, you’ll have to forgive me for feeling negative about the future.

Not all autistics have no interest in people, though I wish I was one of those who liked being alone. I’ve always thought it an especially cruel form of disability that gives someone a need for human contact and then denies them the ability to maintain it.

So if you’re wondering why I’ve given up on friendship, on anything but the most superficial of interpersonal relationships, now you know. It’s not personal.

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