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Autism Welcome Here

Updated: Feb 7

What kinds of contexts are ideal for certain expressions of Autism?

I mean, what are the places in our world where Autism’s not actually even a thing? Where can Autistic attributes that might be vilified as “disorderly” elsewhere be exhibited with pride, ignored by virtue of their invisibility, or even celebrated as strengths and adopted by others?

Here are some examples that immediately spring to mind:

  • Religion, where endless repetition of prayers such as Hail Marys and adherence to monastic rituals can be obligatory

  • Manufacturing, where consistency and standardization are literally synonymous with quality

  • Publishing, with its myriad careers in enforcement of grammatical and semantic law

  • Documentation, such as in the library sciences, where researchers live and die by others' compliance with cataloging expectations

  • Diplomacy, where rigorous attention to another party’s nuances of behavior, along with emulation of customs despite not understanding them, can generate trust and safety for the exchange of information in negotiations

  • Military and Civil Service, where authoritarian hierarchy and rigid codes of conduct enable massive, complex operations to take place

  • Art, where isolating “retreats” are encouraged and obsession with minute details can provide glorious new ways to experience the world (Chuck Close, anybody? Yayoi Kusama?)

  • Choreography, where repetitive behavior is rewarded with thunderous applause

  • Music, where performers repeat compositions over and over and over without variation, communicating feelings in extremely unconventional and abnormal ways; and where relentless pursuit of perfection is celebrated

  • Transportation and Utilities Engineering, where vast networks of interchange are made possible by elimination of deviation

  • Meteorology, where accuracy requires intense maintenance and care for precision of instruments

  • Programming and Computer Coding, where nobody cares if you’re antisocial, mumble, or speak with a tic, because you're probably communicating through a keyboard, and you’re rewarded for the quality of your problem solving (the character "Justine" in the 2016 Ben Affleck movie The Accountant is a great example)

  • Experience Design, the field I trained in, where you get to identify friction in the user experience and figure out ways to remove it

  • Poetry, whence cometh my personal hero e.e. cummings (abnormal communication, anyone?)

Feel free to message me if you have suggestions for additions to this list. It is obvious to me that every field benefits from Autism, and I’m eager to make this more obvious to others.

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