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Jackie Schuld Art Therapy Blog

Exploring Autism in a Neurotypical World

I recently categorized over 150 of my essays on autism. One of the themes was “Autism in a Neurotypical World.”

It’s an ironic name for the category, because I’ve even written about how I’m uncomfortable separating into an us vs. them mentality. Autistic vs. Allistic. Neurodivergent vs. Neurotypical.

Autistic Art Therapist Jackie Schuld shares an illustration of a girl in polka dot pajamas lying on top of a dog covered in polka dots
"Similar and Different" Watercolor illustration by Jackie Schuld

And yet, I’ve also written about how it is a distinct human experience to grow up with an autistic mind. There are ways that I feel vastly different than my fellow humans. It’s also important to me that other people understand these differences, which I explore in my essay "The Harm in "They're a Little Bit Autistic."

There are also many aspects about a neurotypical world that make it especially challenging for autistics like myself. I explore this in my essay "Autism Does Not Directly Cause Socializing Problems." Many autistics would have far less trouble socially if our cultures’ social norms were different.

I frequently advocate for change and name harmful neurotypical norms that don't work for autistics, such as hustle culture and overachieving.

I also discuss physical changes that would be nice, such as living communities that don’t allow leaf blowers.

I think the majority of suggested changes for our world would benefit all people, not just autistics.

This is where we return full circle to the point that we are more alike than we are different. “Neurodiveristy” and “Neurotypical” remain a difficult topic to navigate though. In some essays I’m teasing out how we’re different (like in But Neurotypicals Experience That, Too!) and in others I’m weaving us back together (like in How to Meet an Autistic Adult Exactly Where They're At).

You can see the remainder of my essays on the topic here:


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