Tuesday, April 28, 2015


            For “Autism Awareness Month”…which most real live autistic people and parents of kids on                             the spectrum feel should be called “Autism Acceptance Month.”
My friend Heather, @ Changed for Good, wrote a companion piece to this one; please check it out over at: http://changedforgoodautism.blogspot.com/2015/04/day-28-acceptance-is-not-awareness.html

I received this email last month:

[Swan Ayi {Auntie Swan}]
to me

Odd, NH [New Hampshire] Senate just voted to have Autism Spectrum Disorder printed on individuals' drivers licenses.  What's the point of that?

My reply:

[Full Spectrum Mama]
to [Swan Ayi]

EFF you, NH.


[Swan Ayi]
to me


This is flat out DISCRIMINATION.

Suppose you heard that from now on all blonde people would be stigmatized in this way? Or all people with depression? Obviously, some blondes (depressed people…) may be precise, single-minded, “excellent drivers,” but others might have trouble focusing, or erratic behavior, or compromised intellectual ability, or – who knows?

Yes, they passed the rigorous driver’s test same as everybody else with a license. And, true, some blonde or depressed people might not need to have this factor listed on their licenses, but since some blonde and/or depressed people are “different” -- and therefore possibly dangerous drivers – the state of New Hampshire needs to make their condition perfectly clear to cashiers, police officers, airline personnel, restaurant servers, and so on…just in case.

No, I am not going to address the possibility that being autistic might affect some individuals’ driving or demeanor. So might being tired, or being an a-hole, or being worried, or distracted…

G’s shift to confidence has been so gradual, so delicate, so life-changingly wonderful. What does a ruling like this tell him and the rest of us on the spectrum, many of whom work so hard for our confidence and accomplishments and inclusion in a neurotypical world? As lame and wrong as they may be, such rules send a strong, potentially devastating message.

I’ll be letting those politicians know where we stand: My family, for one, will be spending as little time and money in NH as possible following this decision.

Full Spectrum Mama


  1. I agree- this is absolute discrimination! Thanks for bringing this to light and for advocating for what is right. It was an honor to link up with you today. :)

    1. Thank YOU - so much!
      I'm going to add some more details to this saga soon...
      Let's do it again sometime!

  2. Erm, well, hair color is already on your license, including height, weight, and eye color. Along with "restrictions" like poor vision. I'm blind as a bat without my contacts, so I'm able to answer with a clear conscience when an officer asked me if I had my lenses with me. Never start the day without them! Or so it is in my state, I don't see many other states' licenses.

    That is odd they're putting it directly on the license. I know they'd talked about making wallet-sized cards in some states so people could hand them to an officer at traffic stops and stuff so the officer wouldn't over-react if the individual wasn't as chatty as the officer wanted or shied away excessively from the flashlight and strobes. Whichever states that were discussing those cards were supposed to also be trying to train their officers a little better on how to read autistics so if they were presented with that card adjust their behaviour. (Not shine a light in their eyes? I dunno.) New Hampshire might have an entirely different reason for doing it, but until I can dig up an article on their reasoning I'm going to assume for now they're trying to keep autistics from getting locked up for being "uncooperative". I certainly hope that's the case anyway.

    It seems it'd still depend a bit on the individual's honesty when getting their license. The DMV isn't connected to my medical records, so I told them of my own free will that I can't see worth beans. Perhaps in that way it is still optional for those who wish to have their diagnoses on their license? Autism is still considered pathological, and thus, medical. If you pass as normal, they never have a reason to demand your medical records.

    1. Dear @Ashe,
      Thank you for your deeply thoughtful and also funny at times comment.
      I'm going to add more to this post later as the bill did stir up some angst and is being changed - some of the wording, and made strictly voluntary, and for the purposes you describe (don't even write about light in eyes, please ;) ) - and voted on again, probably today...
      Pathologically yours,


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