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Hannah Gadsby on her autism diagnosis: ‘I’ve always been plagued by a sense that I was ...

Updated: Aug 3, 2022

Th is is an extract from Ten Steps to Nanette by Hannah Gadsby "Hannah Gadsby on her autism diagnosis: ‘I’ve always been plagued by a sense that I was a little out of whack’ Even as a child, the comedian knew her brain was atypical. But it was only in her late 20s that her anxiety, depression and meltdowns finally made sense."

This is a terrific article. I identified with much of what she has to say including what she says about meltdowns, shutdowns, executive function, selective mutism, on and on. Here is an excerpt from the extract:

"But even if I hadn’t stumbled into success, I would still need a lot of help just to navigate life. It is absolute bullshit that the only way I could access the help I needed was by accidentally activating some kind of exceptional potential I didn’t even know I had until I was nearly 30 years old. Please stop expecting people with autism to be exceptional. It is a basic human right to have average abilities."

"Most people who struggle to find stable employment also contend with things like intergenerational poverty and/or trauma, cycles of abuse, mental illness, systemic discrimination, disability or neurological disorders. Not only are these all chronically stressful and traumatic circumstances, they have all been linked to a high incidence of impaired executive function. Welfare systems are not built to be easy for people who are anxious about using the phone, or people who mix up dates. They are not designed for people who are bad at keeping time, filling out forms, or people who can’t easily access all the relevant bank, residential and employment details from the past five years, if they thought to keep that information at all. Welfare systems don’t accommodate transience because welfare systems are not built to be accessible, they are built to be temples of administrative doom, because, apparently, welfare is a treasure that must be protected. Can somebody please do something about that? I am not good enough at organising to be an actual activist. But searching for the connections between the big picture and the little picture is a very ASD thing to do. I am never not cross-referencing the trees with the forests, and it can be a very exhausting way to engage – but I wouldn’t change it for the world, because I believe communities need thinkers like me."

I really recommend you read the whole article. And add your comments, please if you're comfortable.

On a side note we now have the functionality that anyone can create a blog post so if you receive an email from talking about permissions, that's what its about. Accept and create an account on (you will use the same login for both sites) if you'd like to create a blog post.

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