Acting as host for a forthcoming women with autism conference: http://www.brookdalecare.co.uk/Women_with_Autism_Conference
I wanted to introduce the day in a thought provoking way and ventured into the parrallel world of writing parables:
Just by putting on this conference we are part of a rising tide of people challenging a key assumption that autism is male. Female autism is important because as our recognition grows we can see more clearly where we get it wrong and more clearly how to get it right.
An old farmer grows fruit; apples, oranges, pears and plums on a remote hillside. He knows what kind of fruit they are by their colour; his apples are red, his oranges orange, his pears green and his plums purple.
This is important because it makes a difference where he plants them and what he feeds them on. He has also published a book on the subject ‘How to tell your apples from your pears’.
One day when he is at market he is approached by a stranger who tries to sell him a green apple tree. He puts the man straight and tells him it is not an apple it is a pear, but buys it anyway and plants the apple tree in his pear orchard and uses his special pear fertiliser on it. The result is disappointing and he notes this variety as problematic.
His expertise with ‘normal’ apples continues unabated as does his reputation with ‘normal’ pears. However his strange green pear tree, well it goes from problem to problem.
Our belief systems helped create socially constructed androcentric diagnostic tools which chiefly recognise males, which in turn then reinforce our belief that autism is de facto male.