Seth Underwood
2 min readMay 31, 2024

--

I think exploring autism and mental illness as a social construct is worth a further discussion.

For example, much of the services provided to autistics in the US focuses on level 3 and 2 autistics, and rarely level 1. As such, you end up with government data which skews towards people who cannot hold jobs and have other social issues even with these supports.

Pre-2013 merger data shows a potential higher number of level 1 or level 0 (needing no support) autistics compared to other levels. But these weren't technically autistics, but Asperger's (sorry for the use of the out dated term).

In fact, newspapers during the 1990s basically called autistics as people with intellectual disabilities (like my youngest). Whereas those with Asperger’s, were normal as everyone else with quirky problems.

These are easy and digestible boxes for people compared to today’s version of autism. After all, today Elon Musk is autistic technically. Nothing like a multibillionaire as the Posterchild for autism.

If we use the social construct premise, then the reality of autism is shaped by conventions and structures of society.

It also involves the larger community and how governments allocate resources, not just the neurodiversity movement.

Because little Timmy’s mom may see autism as what the CDC is now calling Profound Autism because of the student she sees every day being shuttled into and out of a bus. Yet, the girl, like my oldest whose autistic, get's extra time with her tests according to her IEP, but otherwise looks normal to the mom. The mom's views are skewed because the girl with extra time isn't known to Timmy, but the Profound Autisic is well known in the school.

--

--

Seth Underwood

54+ autistic, undiagnosed dyslexic, sufferer of chronic migraines, writer of dark science fiction, player of video games and Mike Pondsmith Fan. Race- Human.