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Autistic People Have Worth

Autistic people have intrinsic worth but it might not be for the reasons you think…

There is an argument I see in the neurotypical world (and sometimes from within the Autistic community) fairly often- “Of course Autistic people have worth because Newton was Autistic, or Steve Jobs, or Bill Gates, or Einstein or even Temple Grandin or Greta Thunberg. Look at the contributions they have made! You/ your child could be like them!”

Firstly some of these people are Autistic but most of them aren’t confirmed and certainly for historical figures it’s very hard for us to draw conclusions.

It can also be interesting to look into the level of privilege that many (not all) “great contributors” had or have.

Secondly how does that reflect onto the majority of us who just bumble on by in life? What does it say about the value of human life in wider society?

Well I have something potentially (but it really shouldn’t be) revolutionary to say-

  • We have worth if we can hold down a job AND we have the same worth if we have never been able to work and never will

  • We have worth if we create beautiful things AND we have the same worth if we don’t feel creativity is one of our strengths

  • We have worth if we communicate with mouth words AND we have the same worth if we use AAC or if the world hasn’t worked out our communication

  • We have worth if we excel at science and maths AND we have the same worth if we don’t.

I have heard the argument that as we DO live in a society that assigns some superior worth to those have made perceived valuable contributions it can be advantageous to align ourselves with these figures.

But as Autistics; isn't it part of our make up to see the flaws in this illogical system and highlight them? Maybe with some people it is easier to open the door to acceptance with Newton but only if there's the wonderful spectrum of neurodivergent people on the other side!

Ultimately we have worth because we are human. We are not super powered or defective. We’re just people and like all people we don’t need to justify our existence with productivity.

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