Scott Alexander’s autism essay includes some of the best writing he’s ever done (which means some of the best writing anywhere, ever, on the Net). A couple of semi-random snippets, selected purely in a spirit of decadent aestheticism:
I hate to have to criticize institutions – an umbrella term I’m using to cover group homes, locked facilities, nursing homes, hospitals, etc. Many are run by amazing and caring people who are doing thankless work on shoestring budgets. I’m humbled by the patience and compassion I’ve seen in their staff of nurses, techs, and other caretakers, and I can’t judge them nor claim that I could do their job for one minute.
That having been said, a lot of institutions are kind of hellish.
A worryingly high percent of the autistic people I encounter tend to be screaming, beating their heads against things, attacking nurses, or chewing off their own body parts. Once you’re trying to chew off your own body parts, I feel like the question “But is it really a disease or not?” sort of loses its oomph.
(On the ethico-political substance, as always, it seems to me that SA is addressing his argument to a basically decent world that doesn’t exist.)