13 March, 2011

Autistic Passing explanation

The purpose of this survey is to learn about the experience of Autistic people who are passing or trying to pass, or who have previously passed or tried to pass. Wikipedia describes passing as, “the ability of a person to be regarded as a member of social groups other than his or her own, such as a different race, ethnicity, social class, gender, and/or disability status, generally with the purpose of gaining social acceptance.”

Trying to pass as non-Autistic can be a little different from trying to pass as a different race or class. Appearing more like a non-Autistic person is often presented to a young Autistic person by parents, teachers, doctors, and peers as being similar to getting good grades or exercising--an inherently positive accomplishment. There is very little acknowledgment that meeting these goals could be seen as lying or hiding, or could feel artificial to the Autistic person. Often professionals believe that passing as non-Autistic is the same as success; this is my major motivation for doing a survey, because this belief has not been backed up by Autistic people’s testimony.

This survey asks questions about your experience passing, feelings about autism, and your general emotional state. A lot of the questions are very long because I wanted to give you a lot of suggestions of what to talk about. If you want to skip a question, or you can only write a very short answer, that’s fine. If you have a lot to say, that's fine too. I am trying to get an impression of people’s experiences and feelings, which I will use for an art project. It’s not a scientific study, so it isn’t necessary that everyone reacts to the questions in the same way.

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