Why Autistic and NeuroDivergent People May Not See Themselves in the Autism Diagnostic Criteria

NeuroDivergent People aren’t in control of our own narrative & the diagnostic manuals are one way the NeuroTypicals control the narratives around NeuroDivergent People.

I want to say this now, before it’s too late, as there are people working to stop me from saying this.If they have their way, NeuroDivergent people will not be able to speak out against these oppressive systems.

They claim speaking out against the medical model is to “speak out against science & modern medicine” – not understanding that SCIENCE is something that SHOULD BE always evolving. They want to silence the #ActuallyAutistic voices, sharing their stories and lived experience.

If they ever do succeed in silencing me, please never stop fighting for #ActuallyAutistic and #NeuroDivergent human rights. We ARE making progress… which is the only reason people are suddenly trying to stop us.

Patreon members and YouTube channel members had access to this video on September 24, 2021. The video’s public release will be October 27, 2021.


Hi humans Lyric here. I’m a pale skinned, non-binary human, in my mid thirties. I have short, teal green hair, with shaved sides, and plastic rim-framed glasses that match. I’m wearing a gray “I heart NeuroDiversity” t-shirt, that has a rainbow infinity on the heart.

This day, to day. This week, I am going to be talking about why some people do not see themselves in the diagnostic criteria for autism and other different forms of NeuroDiversity and things that are in that diagnostic manual.

So if you are curious about what I’m getting at here, please do stay tuned.

 A very big part of my own autism story is the fact that I didn’t find out I was Autistic until I was 29 years old. I actually didn’t find out I had ADHD until I was 33 years old, which was earlier this year.

 People are sometimes a bit thrown off or confused by how you can go long in life, late in life, and not figure this out until you’re almost 30 or you’re in your thirties.

Uh, and there- there are a few reasons for this: one reason being autism, ADHD, and other neurodivergences are- neurodivergencys- What? Words. I said a word? I don’t even know if that’s a word.

But these differences in the ways our brains process information and in the world and interact with people, like these are invisible differences, so a lot of this is hidden, so you might not know what’s going on below the surface, because you kind of lone- learn to cope with the world and you-you learn to get by.

 You learn to compensate for your struggles and your weaknesses and your difficulties, especially if you feel like you need to hold yourself to NeuroTypical expectations and standards, like a lot of late discovered/late diagnosed NeuroDivergent People do.

 People assume, when they hear that I was late diagnosed or late discovered, that I didn’t struggle, because this wasn’t sorted out, until I was older, which is not the case at all.

Like I struggled fairly early on, like right away when I went into public school as a young person and I had a lot of difficulty in school.

 The school did want to get me tested for learning disabilities. When I was probably in, I’d say, first grade, but the school approached my guardians in a problematic way, which is very common with the medical model, that we have.

So when the school came to my guardians, they said, “there’s something wrong with that child. Uh, we’d like to test them for learning disabilities.”

And my guardians were like, “how dare you – NO! You’re not going to put a label on that child. There’s nothing wrong with the chi- that child.”

And so they bristled up and no further testing or investigation was, was put forward, uh, and I didn’t figure out what was going on with me for many years, until I entered a new system.

Once again, I entered the public school system and my struggles were very obvious.

 Then entering the workplace, in a new type of workplace organizational structure system, I needed to be able to make some changes to the workplace, as I had needed to be able to do back in school, but wasn’t able to do, because I didn’t have the diagnosis, or the information that I was Autistic.

In the workplace I also didn’t have the diagnosis, or the information that I was Autistic.

When you don’t have that language, it’s put on you, that you need to try harder and do better- do more. You know, you’re not doing enough, to fit into this NeuroTypical system, and these NeuroTypical systems have been set up without, taking neurodivergent needs into account.

We’re struggling, these uphill battles, uh, and a lot of us don’t know why, for a lot of years, and so that’s damaging. That’s a problem. Uh, and then there’s the other problem: even if we have these close contacts with almost finding out we are Autistic, or almost finding out we are NeuroDivergent, we look at this medical book, that is used to identify us, and many of them can’t see ourselves in that book.

 That’s really long intro to the biggest problem with this video: why don’t we see ourselves in that medical?

When I was first discovering the idea that I could possibly be Autistic, it was because I was studying something else, and Autistic Person shared their experience about being Autistic in relation to that topic of study, that I was studying, and they were describing how their mind works, and I went, “wait a minute, you just described how my mind works! OH, there’s some implications there.”

 Then I went to look up autism and found that diagnostic criteria and reviewed it and went, “oh, I don’t know that that’s me though” because it was written in a way that is all very negative, very one-sided. And not a very realistic or human view of a person. Uh, it’s not a healthy way to view a person.

With people, we are all a combination of our strengths and our weaknesses, and our strengths and weaknesses are all different, and that’s okay, because those are part of our human experience. This is something I teach in some of my trainings with organizational culture in businesses.

We’re all parts of humanity and streaks- strengths and weaknesses, shouldn’t be taboo. It should be okay to admit that we have them, and we should celebrate both our strengths and our weaknesses.

But, in this book, this medical manual, it only talks about NeuroDivergent People, for their weaknesses, and even make some things that can be stranths out to be weaknesses.

For example, in this manual, Autistic People are described as being obsessive, and unable to let things go, and being really interested in these narrow topics, and it being a really big problem. And yes, sometimes this can be a really big problem, but as I’ve said before, my inability to let things go is something that is a problem sometimes, but it’s also my biggest strength.

 It talks about Autistic stimming, uh, which I’ve done videos about in the past, as if that is a bad thing, and that was just part of something my body did. I didn’t see it as a bad thing.

Everything is written as if it’s a bad thing and they don’t talk about any of the strengths, or anything that is good from being an Autistic Person, like finding joy in little things that other people don’t seem to appreciate, or having an intense experience of the world.

It’s neither good, nor bad. It’s just kind of something that I’ve found is part of my truth as a NeuroDivergent Person: my experience of the world is often very intense when compared to neuro-typical people -“when compared to”.

That- that is the other problem, with this diagnostic manual. It is comparing NeuroDivergent People, to NeuroTypical people, and thus holding us to NeuroTypical standards.

Who says we are “too interested” in something? Why aren’t the NeuroTypicals not interested enough?

Who says that my reaction to a sensory experience is “not appropriate”, “appropriate” – air quotes, “to who, in relation to what” a lot of these things, defining NeuroDivergent/Autistic, uh, people have been observational definitions, by non-Autistic/NeuroTypical people, based on behaviors that they are seeing, from the outside, and not experiencing themselves, and often not understanding.

 For some reason, people don’t just ask Autistic People why we do the things we do. They rather assume, and watch us, like ants under a magnifying glass, “the Autistics do this, they seem to not like this. Autistic people are BLA. Look at these Autistic People.”

Okay. Hi, I’m an Autistic Person. I’m right here. I, I, I I’m, I’m here. I’m sharing with you why we do a lot of these things.

Uh, it’s-it’s just frustrating that so much of this narrative, forever, has been about us without us. Right- that hashtag nothing about us without us?

Autistic People aren’t in control of our own narrative, and the diagnostic manuals are, once again, the NeuroTypical narrative, of the NeuroDivergent brain.

All right, humans, thanks for hanging out this week. I’m really grateful for each and every one of you.

Uh, also that special thanks, I always shout out, to the Patreon, YouTube supporters, and Facebook subscribers, who do that little extra monetary support, to help me with web hosting, closed captioning, transcriptioning software, and all of the things that helped me make this high quality content on a regular basis. I put out new videos each and every week, and that takes some work.

So thank you for helping me. You get tools to make that process a little bit easier.

This video is still going to take me eight hours to make, but it would be a lot longer, without the help of viewers like you. I am so grateful.

All right, humans. I will talk to you next week.



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With gratitude, – Lyric

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