The notion of value based on the societal standards set in place in order to distinguish who is a “functioning” individual is extremely unfair to those who are able to function or deeply relate to their surroundings, but do so differently.
Because autism is a spectrum disorder, there are different degrees to which those who have autism are able to navigate socially constructed normativities. These posed social barriers may be more or less of a hinderance based on an individual’s capability in surmounting them. Placing value on judgements of who is “normal” based on how well people are able to function within societal bounds is understood to be a restriction that stems from socially driven short-sightedness. Our society as it is currently constructed is not particularly suited for those who are differently abled. Were these circumstances to change, then those who are differently abled would not be viewed as having extreme deficits.Amanda Baggs’s experience of language as interaction between the self and one’s surroundings speaks to the notion that this type of experience is not necessarily meant to be communicated outwardly, particularly for the benefit of others.
By “being in a constant conversation with every aspect of her environment, reacting physically to all parts of her surroundings,” Baggs is able to respond to her surroundings through a natural way of thinking, though it does not necessarily align with standardized concepts of “normal” interaction. Baggs, as an example, is not a disabled individual, but rather, is differently abled. She is intelligent and cognent of her circumstances and their perception, and her message is incredibly powerful.There are a multitude of ways for individuals to think and experience and live. They’re equally valuable; though general, normatized interaction may be more difficult at times, those barriers do not lessen the importance of an individual’s existence or experiences.
Shifts in complex attentional and prioritizing mechanisms may come across as deficits in some cognitive domains. Were more information to be provided about the actual, legitimate experiences and cognitive abilities of affected individuals, stigma could be lessened, and society functionality may be perceived as more socially subjective.