Mette Harrison
3 min readMay 27, 2022

What If the World was Autistic?

So much of my life was spent seeing all the autistic parts of me as “wrong,” as “deficient,” as something that I should “correct.” Can’t understand jokes? Let someone explain them to you. Don’t understand cultural references? Spend more time doing “normal” things like listening to popular music and watching popular shows — and less time reading every book written in England in the 1700s. Can’t understand non-literal language? Just try harder. Unable to make eye contact for extended periods of time? Practice. Need to have more quiet in a darkened room? Ignore that and make yourself pretend to be the socialite.

What if we lived in an autism-normal world? What if everything was flipped upside down and it was allists (neurotypical) people who were the odd ones out? What if they were seen as the ones who needed to be “cured,” who were constantly corrected and sent to special classes so they could learn how to behave “properly?” What if autistic parents got a diagnosis of “alllism” for their child and mourned the loss of an imagined future where all the things they had expected would be taken from them? What if the world was run by autistic politicians who never ran popularity polls, who never lied, who just got to work to make things better? What if artists and actors and musicians were all solitary performers who had no adoring fans because they just didn’t get out that much and people didn’t expect them to do anything other than create in their own spaces?

I’m working on a novel with this premise, thought it’s not ready for publication. For now, it has been enormously healing to imagine a world in which all the ways I exist aren’t seen as pathological, but are praised and encouraged. I just wanted neurotypical people to see that their way of being in the world isn’t the only possible way.

You know me with lists of ten. Here are ten things that would be considered “wrong” in an autism-normal world:

1. Constant eye contact.

2. Need to constantly be measuring your place socially and to try to move up a social hierarchy that doesn’t exist.

3. Obsession with making language into metaphors that make no sense.

4. Needing other people around ALL THE TIME.

Mette Harrison

Autist, Ironman Worlds triathlete, Writer, Right-Brained