People often ask whether autism (or another neurodivergent condition) is a disability. I’d argue that it is more helpful to ask whether autistic people are disabled (to which my answer would be: in most cases, yes). It may seem a semantic distinction, but it is important: it locates the disablement not in the autistic person’s brain, but in the society they live in and the way the individual and society interact. Autism is not our disability: it may be an impairment, a difference, or some combination. Our disability is the difficulty that arises in our interaction with the specific society in which we live.
Neurodiversity is an idea for strong people, as it bites and claws at everyone who embraces it. There is no way to imagine a better world without confronting how bad things are and have been. The ensuing sense of outrage routinely changes the course of people’s lives.What Neurodiversity Is – Autistic Future