Opinion: Autism Isn’t a Bad Thing

Opinion: Autism Isnt a Bad Thing

We’ve all heard the “vaccines cause autism” argument before, but the stigma behind autism isn’t confined to anti vaxxers. The question I raise in response to the fear mongering is, why is that a bad thing? Why is having autism a worst possible outcome? I’m here to tell you it’s not; autism isn’t always easy but it certainly isn’t a curse. 

The first thing to look at is, what is autism? While this should be easy to answer, a lack of education has ensured that a lot of people don’t really know. Until I was diagnosed with autism myself, I thought it was just a weird condition where people were incapable of speaking – because that’s all I’d been told. Simply put, autism is a developmental disability that varies in severity and can cause people to be (among other things) nonverbal, hypersensitive to light and sound, and incapable of processing certain social cues (facial expressions, hand movements, etc.). 

While severe cases can greatly impede the natural flow of life and make things harder, many hardships experienced are not because of autism but because of society’s hostility to neurodivergent people. So to anti-vaxxers I say, vaccines prevent lethal diseases and autism is certainly not something worse than measles, polio, and other fatal conditions. 

Vaccine fear mongering isn’t the only time autism is the target of unjust hate. If you’ve ever opened Tiktok (or any social media platform for that matter) then you’ve seen plenty of memes making fun of “weird kids” being a “menace to society” or “some kind of freak” that makes people uncomfortable. This rhetoric is extremely damaging, especially when you know that kid could be you. Often these so-called freaks are stimming (uncontrollable movements resulting from autism, adhd, anxiety, etc.), wearing headphones for noise control, struggling to communicate in certain settings, or just sitting in a chair in a position that’s “weird”. These are not weird behaviors, yes they can be unconventional but they aren’t weird – at least in the derogatory sense. 

This isn’t to say that autistic people are the easiest to be around – yes, I am referring to myself – but that doesn’t mean they should be generalized, feared, or degraded. Autism is an uncontrollable condition that doesn’t have a treatment aside from various forms of therapy, and that’s ok. Being autistic means seeing the world in a different way, and while it can be difficult, it can make the seemingly unimportant amazing. 

Personally, I have three specific bowls I have to use for cereal. I can’t eat cereal from any others, and if I do, it makes me feel gross and uncomfortable. While that is seemingly illogical, it means that we always make sure they’re clean and ready to use. On the flip side, being autistic means that those bowls make me happy – a strange but simple pleasure. 

Autism isn’t one thing, it’s a spectrum for a reason, but I can tell you what it’s not. Autism isn’t a curse, a fate worse than death, a freakish condition that makes people weird, and certainly not some incomprehensible disease. It’s ok to not understand, but what isn’t ok is to treat autism – and those with it – like something to be feared, something that should be excluded from the norm. 


For more info and resources, go to:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/autism-spectrum-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20352928 for basic autism info

https://autism.unc.edu/resources/local-resources/ for access to local (NC) resources and more in depth info (UNC’s Autism research department is a great place to start)

https://nationalautismresources.com/ for materials to help with overstimulation and more