A few centuries ago, it was believed that magical creatures (elves, fairies, goblins and trolls) would often steal a human baby and leave one of their own children in the stolen baby’s place. The magical child was often either very beautiful or very ugly, and when older, behaved in an other-worldly manner. This is known as the Changeling myth. The myth can be explained by conditions such as Cerebral Palsy and Autism, amongst others. Autism researcher Uta Frith believes that autistic children were often thought to be changelings.

Trolls with a human. Painting by John Bauer.

Some autistic people refer to themselves as changelings for this reason and their own feeling of being in a world where they do not belong and of practically not being the same species as the “normal” people around them. At one time I was indifferent to this meme. I am now openly against it.

The Changeling meme involves viewing autistic people as not quite human…

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