What are good videos and books about high functioning autism?
September 28, 2019 3:26 AM   Subscribe

What are good videos and books about high functioning autism, especially in adults? I would love to find great materials to help me think about autistic adults, especially those that are smart and high functioning in society, such that they are often passing as neurotypical. Fun materials like YouTube videos and comic books would be especially appreciated.
posted by mortaddams to Grab Bag (13 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm not in this space but I'm under the impression that many reject the label of high functioning.
posted by k8t at 3:30 AM on September 28, 2019 [9 favorites]


I've heard a lot of good things about Steve Silberman's Neurotribes.
posted by crocomancer at 4:12 AM on September 28, 2019 [2 favorites]


(Side note, "passing as neurotypical" is increasingly often not the goal since masking is stressful and can have negative effects on things like mental health.)

You can find some good content from autistic adults on twitter via the #actuallyautistic tag. I'd also recommend John Marble.
posted by needs more cowbell at 4:28 AM on September 28, 2019 [5 favorites]


It’s fiction, but Gemma Files’ horror novel Experimental Film deals with being autistic and parenting an autistic child as central themes.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:15 AM on September 28, 2019


Autism isn't an area I know tons about but I do see some issues in your premise.

>help me think about autistic adults, especially those that are smart and high functioning in society, such that they are often passing as neurotypical.

"especially those that are smart" implies that some are... not smart, which is disrespectful and inaccurate

"high functioning" is a term many people dislike

"passing as neurotypical" isn't a goal for many autistic people and the assumption that it should be is harmful to them.

I might suggest making an effort to listen to stuff BY people on the autism spectrum to get their own point of view.

Temple Grandin's books are great

John Elder Robeson's "Look Me In The Eye"

Climate activist Greta Thumberg Tweeted, "When haters go after your looks and differences, it means they have nowhere left to go. And then you know you’re winning! I have Aspergers and that means I’m sometimes a bit different from the norm. And - given the right circumstances- being different is a superpower. #aspiepower"

We are given a lot of messaging that being on the autism spectrum is bad- but a great way to rethink this might be to look at autism not as a detrimental diagnosis, but more as a neutral, normal set of personality traits with the same potential for "value" as any other personality trait.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 6:28 AM on September 28, 2019 [9 favorites]


How about the book trilogy that starts with The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion?
posted by arabelladragon at 6:29 AM on September 28, 2019


also consider that "smart" and "high functioning" might be at odds for your average not-inspiration-porn autistic person, since the energy you have to spend to mask as neurotypical is brain energy you can't spend on being as clever or fast-thinking or whatever as you would be otherwise, and vice versa.
posted by gaybobbie at 7:02 AM on September 28, 2019 [3 favorites]


The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network is a great organization of autistic people working to advocate for other autistic people. They have some anthologies on their Resources page.

(And the thing with "high-functioning" is that it's a judgmental stand-in term for people who know that saying "normal" is probably taboo but want to get the same idea across. High functioning in what? Compared to what or whom? I'm neurotypical, and I'm high-functioning in many areas and low-functioning in many other areas, and even that depends on whom I'm compared to -- Olympic athletes? Nobel Prize winners? It's a meaningless term used to sort people into "good/easy" and "bad/difficult" in ableist ways.)
posted by lazuli at 9:18 AM on September 28, 2019 [7 favorites]


Temple Grandin has already been mentioned but there's a pretty good movie about her (with Claire Danes).
posted by elgilito at 2:38 PM on September 28, 2019


Mel Baggs has been blogging about more than a decade:
Autism-related posts at Ballastexistenz
posted by Jesse the K at 4:20 PM on September 28, 2019 [1 favorite]


I'm actually deeply worried by the fact that you've marked as 'best answer' a load of things written by non-autistic people, some of which (eg the Rosie Project) depict a really stereotypical, reductive and male-centred view of autism, and appear to have rejected anything that anyone's suggested to you that questioned that viewpoint. Anyway, you could try Songs of the Gorilla Nation, by Dawn Prince-Hughes. You could also check out Chris Packham's documentary about his autism, which he made for the BBC. And please listen to what people have been telling you in this thread about questioning your own assumptions and the terms you use to think about this stuff.
posted by Acheman at 5:06 AM on September 29, 2019 [6 favorites]


I'm surprised no one has linked to Amethyst Schaber's YouTube channel - Ask an Autistic. I strongly suggest that you start with Autistic voices first. If you want to know how to think about us, listen to what we have to say. The recent threads on the blue tagged for "autistic" would be a good fertile source of material. For example, this article about Very Grand Emotions is a FPP.
posted by stoneweaver at 5:42 PM on September 29, 2019 [2 favorites]


The author of Neurotribes (the well-regarded and best-selling tome recommended above) himself (who is not autistic) has said "One of the reasons that my next book will not be about autism is because I believe autistic people should be taking center stage in this ongoing societal conversation."
posted by needs more cowbell at 6:41 PM on September 29, 2019 [2 favorites]


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