Summary of What It’s Really Like to Have Autism

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Renowned autism advocate Stephen Shore once said, “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.” Still, ignorance leaves even well-intentioned individuals reverting to stereotypes and hand-wringing over a “cure.” Neurodiversity advocate Ethan Lisi lives with autism, and his accessible, engaging TED Talk aims to set nonautistic people straight: Autism is not a defect but a natural variation on humanity’s rich fabric.

About the Speaker

Neurodiversity advocate Ethan Lisi started speaking publicly about living with autism after his mother was diagnosed.



Often stereotyped in the popular media, autistic people are a diverse and varied group.

When you picture someone with autism, what image do you conjure up? The stereotype is a socially awkward white man who blurts out inappropriate things and drones on constantly about the same topic. Some assume that autistic people don’t have a sense of morality, humor or empathy, or that those on the spectrum are all savants. All of these assumptions unfairly pigeonhole a wide swath of unique individuals. Depictions of autism in the popular media perpetuate these images. 

Consider autism as a different way of functioning rather than a mental health problem that scientists need to cure.

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