The autism spectrum as a spiky profile

There are many misconceptions based around autism: from us all being geniuses, socially awkward, unable to make eye contact to not wanting to connect with others – to name but a few. Then aside from these misconceptions, I find that there’s a general miseducation around the autism spectrum itself.

Often it’s assumed that it’s a linear line, with high functioning/mildly autistic at one of the line and low functioning/severely autistic at the other. It assumes that every autistic person fits neatly onto this static line, etched into its lineage, never to move again. This couldn’t be further from the truth and in reality, there is no beginning, middle or end of the spectrum. Plus using terms like ‘mildly autistic’ simply aren’t factually correct – nor helpful in any way – in that they don’t tell you how someone is impacted through being autistic.

To suggest someone is ‘higher-functioning’ than another with the same neurodivergent condition creates a misguided hierarchy that is harmful and furthers misunderstanding around neurodiversity. This is never helpful!