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[Perspectives] Insight into autism: a view from inside

In June this year, soon after the UK general election, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange levelled an insult at Prime Minister Theresa May on Twitter. This wasn’t particularly newsworthy; a great many people were doing the same. But the words he chose were striking: “It’s OK for Theresa May to be awkward, unfeeling or even autistic…The problem is that her policies match”. Sadly, the use of the term “autistic” to mean cold, emotionless, and unempathic is not a rare occurrence. Naoki Higashida’s latest book Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8: A Young Man’s Voice From the Silence of Autism is, however, a stark demonstration that this damaging and enduring assumption is incorrect.