What was the most interesting thing you discovered while writing it?I was surprised to learn how large the autistic L.G.B.T.Q.+ community is. A lot of autism events I’ve been to have had a large number of LGBT+ attendees, but I hadn’t given it much thought until recently. While there are more autistic people who identify as LGBT+ than there are neurotypicals, the data shows that this is not the case.
“We’re Not Broken: Changing the Autism Conversation” by Eric Garcia
Another factor contributing to the rise in autism diagnoses was the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which classified autism as a disability and required schools to report the number of students they served. The DSM, or “The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,” was updated in the 1980s.
Because of this, I was able to develop the central thesis of my book: that the only reason people like me, born in 1990, had access to resources was as a direct result of public policy decisions. Because of that, I came to realise how much better my life had gotten as a result of it. For the first six years of my life, I attended public schools, and received special considerations that wouldn’t have been available had I attended private school.
Tutoring and disability services were also available to me at university. the result of ADDA was this. Things outside of our control have a lot of influence on how we live our lives. Because of those deliberate public policy decisions that hadn’t been made before I was able to control my own destiny, people like to talk about personal responsibility and personal choice.
Is your book different from the one you originally planned to write in any way?
In the beginning, I aimed to be much more ambitious. I wanted to report from all over the world, so I set out to do that. However, due to time constraints and the pandemic, things had to be rearranged.
My first inclination is to write about it. Even though I have many friends who have written excellent memoirs about their experiences as autistics, my gut feeling was that my story was compelling, but it wasn’t the complete picture of my life on the spectrum. Despite the fact that I wrote a book about my personal life, I’m a very private person and don’t feel comfortable disclosing certain details. In addition, there are things that don’t seem to represent the entire spectrum of autistic behaviour. I aimed to be as complete as possible in my approach.
Who, besides writers, has had the greatest influence on your work?
Many of the chapter titles in the book are taken from songs. Black Sabbath and journalists such as Steve Silberman, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Rebecca Traister all inspire me because as a kid, I wanted to be a musician. Woodward and Bernstein have the same effect on me as Bob Dylan or N.W.A. lyrics.
The Ramones, Metallica, the Misfits, and Public Enemy are among my go-to bands when I’m pressed for time. When I was working on “We’re Not Broken,” jazz music was the only thing that kept me going. In the book’s final third, John Coltrane is credited as the primary sponsor.