Autism isn’t just “blue.” It’s a spectrum. Except that nobody’s including the pink. Talk about autism and you’re talking about men and boys. Aside from the more “classic” story of my friend and colleague, Dr. Temple Grandin, there is no girl talk. No from-the-inside-out women’s perspective. The girls are barely visible. The women are missing. Which means that I am missing. And my daughter is invisible.
And that’s not good for anyone. The impact of mis- and under-indentification is SERIOUS (read: eating disorders, self-harm, dating violence….big, bad, avoidable stuff).
Frankly, autism needs pink. Maybe some lipstick. Or not. I don’t really care how any particular woman “does” her own version of female, so long as we get to be part of the club. It’s ironic, really. For those of us who spend so much of our lives feeling just outside that magical place of easy friendships and happy Happy Hours, we girls are outside the outsiders, still knocking on a door. Well, you know what? Ginger Rogers once reminded a sassy reporter that she’d done every single dance move Fred Astaire had, only backwards and in heels. Folks, let’s cha cha. Because the next verse of “Autism: the Musical” is ready…and I am ready for some fabulous dancing shoes.
– Jennifer O’Toole