‘She Will Thrive’

The bulk of this response to someone concerned about their partner’s 18-year-old autistic daughter “becoming a huge source of worry and resentment for us both” is pretty much gold, and does a decent job of (gently) putting said someone in their place—something much needed given such victim-blaming statements as, “It feels sometimes that she purposely lets my partner down over very minor jobs, just so that she is not asked to do anything again.”

It’s worth reading the entirety of the long, detailed response. As so often seems the case, though, there was one thing with which I had to take issue.

Once this young woman understands herself, feels understood and supported with the challenges she faces on a daily basis, she will thrive.

You can’t say this, because you can’t know this. No one can know this. One thing that’s become clear to me post-diagnosis is that while the sum total of my physical and psychological resources are sufficient to allow me to live independently, in fact they do not allow me to add atop that foundation actually supporting myself financially.

This doesn’t necessarily equate to any definition of “thriving” for which the original questioner might be looking, judging on their impatient and exasperated tone, and it’s entirely possible that it could end up being the same kind of outcome for the young woman at issue.

Some of us, as I repeat ad infinitum, are neither savant polymaths nor high support needs. Some of us are just “mediocre” autistics, stuck in the unnoticed middle and not recognized as a real potential outcome for young autistics just starting out.

In a culture that fails to value anyone incapable of generating economic value, that certainly sucks, but to pretend any given autistic person will “thrive” in that culture is disingenuous and possibly setting up all concerned for future surprise, disappointment, and (likely misdirected) anger.

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Bix F.

The unsupported use case of a disordered*, mediocre midlife in St. Johns, Oregon—now with added global pandemic and climate crisis. Read more.