Polly's pages (aka 'Donna Williams')

Ever the arty Autie

Naturally autistic?


Donna Williams aged 12

What do you think of the term ‘Naturally Autistic’? I think it depends on what made you so autistic in the first place
if it was brain injury related agnosias or gut, immune, metabolic disorders or if one developed combined mood, anxiety, compulsive, dissociative or personality disorders that presented ‘autistically’ then is this being ‘naturally autistic’? On the other hand if you were born dyspraxic (probably all babies are) but lacked the equipment to gain neurological integration or had the type of personality traits that predisposed you to respond and adjust to life in socially/emotionally ‘autistic’ ways, then is THAT ‘naturally autistic’? Are there those who are naturally and those who are naturally autistic and those who are combination of both?
And of course if we accept the term ‘naturally autistic’ then are others similarly naturally schizophrenic? Taking it further, then can one enhance ones natural autism? In which case would it still be ‘natural’ or would it now be ‘enhanced autism’? For example, if one is already solitary can one self isolate and lose social/communication skills, become more depressive and withdrawn and hence more ‘autistic’? Or if one already indulges sensory phobias (as opposed to challenging them) or avoids everything but peanut butter, then becomes neurologically more impaired from a severely imbalanced diet, then is that considered part of one’s ‘natural autism’
Maybe we can have acquired autism, natural autism, enhanced autism… as well as reduced autism in those who decided to challenge and work on all their phobias, aversions, weaknesses, poor integration, excesses, imbalances in pursuit of being a more balanced human, autistic or not ๐Ÿ™‚
Personally, I’d say I had a combination of acquired and natural autism (brain injury and fallout from health disorders on top of inherited dyslexia/dyspraxia/agnosias within a relatively ‘autistic’ collection of personality traits) and that in childhood when I lived on sweetened condensed milk, cheese or in my early teens on cream donuts, when I sided with my Exposure Anxiety in war against the world, or indulged my depression/Selective Mutism etc then I was enhancing my autism. But I’d say I progressively became someone more invested in being all I could be as a human being rather than invested in how autistic I could be/remain. That didn’t mean I invested in hiding my autism, nor in demonising it, but I saw myself as more than a walking autism package.

Donna Williams, BA Hons, Dip Ed.
Author, artist, singer-songwriter, screenwriter.
Autism consultant and public speaker.

I acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the Traditional Owners of this country throughout Australia, and their connection to land and community.