I know it seems simpler sometimes to speak in terms of basics. Autism is a square peg. You’re trying to hammer it into a round hole. It doesn’t fit. People who are autistic can have a challenging time fitting into society’s expectations of what is expected of them.
But the idiom isn’t true. Not in this situation.
According to the “square peg” theory, we are all square pegs. All autistic people are a square peg and if only we found a SQUARE hole we’d be all right.
We all know that’s not the way autism works.
Every single one of us is different. Some of us hate talking. Others of us adore talking non-stop all the time. Some of us hate going outside. Others thrive in the outdoors and get upset when cooped up inside. Some adore trains. Others despise trains. Some love math. Some detest math. Some love soft textures. Others find it beyond upsetting.
There is no square peg. There is no hypothetical square hole which will fit everyone.
Some of us are like octopuses. We can squiggle through holes when we want to, by contorting ourselves. Some of us are chameleons. We can put on masks and pretend to fit so we pass through the gate. There are countless varieties of us. Each of us is different. And many of us change from day to day, or even from minute to minute, depending on what is going on around us.
An infinite variety of shapes. An infinite variety of options.
The answer is not for us to find square holes. The answer is for society to release its expectation of a shape to “fit” in the first place. We are all different. We all have different gifts and challenges. That includes people on the autism spectrum, it includes people in wheelchairs, people with vision issues, people who can’t read, people who don’t speak, people with sensory issues, people with mobility issues, and any number of other aspects of our community. The word “spectrum” is too limited to describe what we are. We are a universe of options, in four different dimensions. Pretty much every combination of traits has existed at some point and could easily exist again.
We need to support all of us. We need to support each one of us.
We are all one community.
Featured image was created by me as a composite of images I own the rights to.