Go ahead. Look it up.
Read it. Laugh. Agree.
It doesn’t matter that someone is wrong on the internet.
It happens all the time.
Most of the time, I’d agree.
Most of the time, I don’t care if someone is wrong on the internet.
But this time, this kind of wrong, I have to care.
If your wrongness on the internet didn’t endanger the lives of a whole group, I wouldn’t care as much.
If your wrongness on the internet didn’t endanger the lives of my friends, I wouldn’t care as much.
If your wrongness on the internet didn’t endanger MY life, I wouldn’t care as much.
But it does.
You might say I’m being over-dramatic.
George Hodgins begs to differ.
Daniel Korby begs to differ.
Every one of us killed by our caretakers while you called it mercy begs to differ.
Every one of us allowed to die while it was recorded as an accident begs to differ.
But they are dead, and I still live. So I will beg to differ.
If you call us tragedies, if you call ending our lives mercy, then one by one, we die.
I don’t want to die.
I want to live.
You might still say I’m being over-dramatic.
You might say no one will try to kill me. I function.
You might say I don’t know what it’s like to be as disabled as George was.
You might say I don’t know what it’s like to have a child as disabled as Daniel was.
And I don’t.
But it doesn’t matter.
It doesn’t matter if I specifically know these people wanted to live.
It matters that you didn’t specifically know they wanted to die.
It doesn’t matter that I don’t know what it’s like to be so disabled.
It matters that the killer didn’t know that either.
It doesn’t matter that I don’t know what it’s like to have such a child.
It matters that a parents job is to protect their child.
Killing someone to protect them makes as much sense as silencing someone to give them a voice.
But both of these happen to us.
You might say I have no empathy for the parents who made that choice.
I don’t. I have no clue how they felt.
You might say I have no sympathy for the parents who made that choice.
I don’t. I got the part where they murdered their children, which you apparently missed.
You might say that it’s wrong to judge when I don’t know their lives.
It might be. I still know they murdered, and that can’t happen again.
I’m not asking you to call the lives of those parents easy.
I’m not asking you to personally run the schools those children went to.
I’m asking you recognize the victims were human.
I’m asking you to react as you would to the murders that these were.
I’m asking you to stop mistaking murder for mercy.
I ask because if the wrong person hears you call it mercy, another one of us dies.
I ask because if the wrong person hears you call it mercy, and if that wrong person knows too much,
that next one of us could be me.
A Different Ability
By Amy Sequenzia
A different way to see the world
That’s my special ability
Follow me down this road
Some simple signs or words
Thinking process without comparability
A special way to see the world
Feelings disguised, lives may corrode
Some call it a disability
Follow me down this road
A unique experience of the world
Learning from life’s university
A special way to see the world
My brain has more than just one mode
Dreams and lives have diversity
Follow me down this road
Neurodiversity is the right word
It brings together all abilities
A special way to see the world
Come with me, it is an exciting road
Copyright 2011 by Amy Sequenzia
check out her blog!
Morning sun rises above the mountains the fun begins along the trail sweet pastry baking filling the air the river flowing as the wind is blowing so is sound of the birds tweeting as they fly away it’s lunch time certainly I was hungry with my honey who may not have a lot of money but I love him the flowers are blooming no dark cloud in the sky to ruin this moment happiness fills on my heart no tears won’t be falling from these eyes
Charlie (Kristina Chew’s son) reposted from Care2.com from April 2012 Autism Acceptance Month!!
Check out my friend: Robert Moran’s blogs and websites!!
Check out Scott Deutsch website!!
A message from Vorya Yarow
ON AUTISTIC SPECTRUM
The way I see it.
Here is me,
Here is you –
Those who blog,
Those who read it,
Others who don’t –
In residences- supported, supervised, group, etc.
With family – already adults,
Children, and babies –
In early intervention,
Homeless – by circumstance,
Or by choice –
Full circle that is back to me,
Not one of us above the other.
People on autistic spectrum –
Dispersed, oppressed, controlled.
Except for a few – THE OUTCASTS.
No dog for him –
He loved it too much
All he wanted was to be with it
It was not fair to his father and mother and little brother
No girl next door –
he was getting too attached
No mirrors –
he was too fond of that little boy in it
And now his shadow –
the last remaining friend
How do you rid him of it?
His loving parents would like to know –
For his own good.
What do you tell them?
They come onto us with airs of superiority, protected by the coat of ignorance and contempt, and some by malice and pernicious intent, and the parents shielded by their grief and desire to not let their kids become us, but most dangerous are those who make business on our heads, because their suit of armor is their profit and livelihood.
And we ask them for acceptance and accommodation. There’s no acceptance without RESPECT. It doesn’t have place in the ANT House. The ANT House is what the human world has become – it makes rules of its own in a peculiar way. Right now it’s starting to weigh the benefit of the few who profit of us, against the cost of Autistic Disability on the entire House. Will it hear your voice? What do you say? That you’re not a BURDEN?
You are not a BURDEN. They are! They are the burden of the Earth – the ones raping it to no end. They are the burden. They want everything; there is no end to them. They are a burden to every creature, and every plant, to the rock, and the water, and the air. They are a burden to themselves.
And they want you to be like them, or to be of use to them. That’s what the ANT HOUSE is deciding on. And if IT can’t find how do deal with you and those who are to come, it’ll do what the ANT House does with Outcasts…
They count the money you cost them – you who have nothing but your life. They want it too. They want you to go and do their work, raping the world for them. You might make such a good working ant. Perhaps just a few chemical or genetic changes; it needs research. They’ll find it eventually and they’ll use it to their own peril; the ANT House is known to run itself into extinction.
What can we do – isolated, controlled, without resources, disabled? It will not be easy. We must CHALLENGE ourselves and become strong. We must fill ourselves with Spirit – Each one of us.
The World has Reason and Purpose. You are here for a purpose. You’re here to lift yourself above their world, and show them the way to be. That’s our purpose. That’s why you’re here – each one of you.
We are a Great Force! There are millions upon millions of us in the growing world of the OUTCASTS. Because that is who we are in this world; and that will not change without a FIGHT. Nothing will come to us without a fight – NOTHING! We must fight for our rights among them, and the way to be, and the way to live.
How do we do that? Come out of your SHELTER. Challenge yourself. Challenge yourself to an open sky; challenge yourself to the day and the night; to the rain and thunder; to a storm and lightning coming upon you; to the wind, and the water, and the fire; to hunger and thirst, to cold and heat, to pain and danger. Challenge yourself until you are filled with SPIRIT – The Spirit that soars above the world.
Challenge yourself to go among people; let them see you – filled with Spirit, shining like Blue Steel. Look at them – they are the ones in dire need.
To Autistic People:
There are many of us hidden away. Go to the places where they – who are deprived of freedom and choice – are being kept. We must try to reach each one of them and tell them that they are not alone, that there are millions of us, and that the time to MARCH ON is near. We must reach them and tell them to CHALLENGE themselves; tell them to become ready. The Best of NT will come to our side – they are an endangered species as well. We must help each other to become strong. This can be done.
To ASAN Self Advocates:
It was before your time – The Occupation of France-Resistance -Vichy Government -and those who worked with oppressors trying to gain acceptance and a better accommodation for some, trying to prove their usefulness. Their name is known as Collaborator, because they closed their eyes on what was done to SOME among them.
Do not become a collaborator. It is a thin line that you walk. The fight you do not take on behalf of the most vulnerable is that Line. There is no middle ground!
Five Things that you wouldn’t Think were Anti-Autistic
As Autistic Pride Day approaches, I find myself thinking about the progress of the autistic rights movement over the past few years. It is certainly comforting that statements that were considered acceptable in 2006, (some of which can be found in the film “Autism Every Day,”) are now viewed as politically incorrect. In autism-related circles, those who state that the world would be better without autistics are given the title “horrible person.” As a result, people are more careful about what they say regarding autistics. Unfortunately, this is not entirely due to a mass change-of-heart. It seems that many people and organizations are still professing anti-autistic opinions, but are doing so more subtly. Of course, being more subtle in one’s bigotry doesn’t make one any less horrible or neurelitist. Here, I have compiled a list of several examples of this subtle spreading of anti-autism agenda. I’ll start with one of the older and more well-known tricks:
#1: Portraying autism as a childhood condition
Let’s be honest with ourselves for a moment. We hate children. At least, we hate the things children do. Those who dispute this claim are asked to reconcile the following: If a five year old child behaves like an adult, we may find it funny or weird, but we wouldn’t say that this child was “messed up.” If, on the other hand, an adult were to frequently watch children’s shows or listen to traditional kids’ music, etc, we’d say something was wrong with him or her.
With this in mind, think about what people see when every autistic they see on TV is a child.
#2: Showing statistics of the high/increasing prevalence of autism
First, let me make it clear that there’s nothing explicitly wrong with showing these true statistics. There is no denying that the number of officially diagnosed cases of autism has increased very rapidly over the past generation. Whether this means that the prevalence of autism is also increasing is a matter of debate, and in some contexts, it doesn’t matter. For example, the demand for autism specialists depends more on the number of people who know that they’re autistic than it does on the actual number of autistics.
It becomes a problem when these statistics become the core or even the entirety of an advertisement. I’m sure many of us have seen billboards, online ads, etc, which consist entirely of statements about the prevalence of autism. What these pieces do not mention is…anything about what autism even is, or what their organization even does. One would wonder why a company would spend so much money on a campaign that presents seemingly irrelevant information. The answer to this question reveals a darker nature to these campaigns disguised as the benign statement of facts.
First, consider your emotional reaction when you read that some group is getting larger and larger. Unless you include yourself in that group, the natural reaction would be fear. It goes without saying that an ad campaign designed to make people fear autistics is hardly intended to increase autism acceptance.
Second, consider how the level of autism awareness has changed in the past decade. Ten years ago, most people didn’t even have a vague idea of what autism was. Now, that has completely changed, as most people currently do have a vague idea of what autism is. Unfortunately, this vague idea is not very autism-friendly. Between the portrayal of autism as a childhood condition, (see above,) the older definition of autism, and the current definition of autism, (more on that later,) it seems like the best way to keep someone anti-autism is to keep him or her uninformed. With this in mind, one could argue that these campaigns are the best way to get people involved in the autism world and still maintaining the view that autism is a problem. While this may seem like a stretch, there doesn’t seem to be a more likely explanation for why autism charities are focusing their entire campaigns around these figures.
#3: The “Black Box” Model of Social Skills
Some readers may be unfamiliar with the phrase “Black Box.” In this context, it refers to the acknowledgement that social skills exist, while the questions “What are social skills?” and “How do social skills work?” are considered irrelevant. Of all the items on the list, this one seems to be the most widespread, and often those who use it don’t even realize its anti-autism connotations.
The issue is the following. We all know that autistics tend to have poor social skills, and that most autistics, even those in the neurodiversity movement, would like to improve their social skills. With no description of how autism inhibits social skills, it is difficult to make any progress on the matter. Without a theory on how the neurotype relates to this set of learned behaviors, it is difficult to distinguish between them. The perception is that the absence of these “magic” skills is part of the condition, and will remain in place as long as he or she remains autistic. Thus, it becomes useless for an autistic to ever try to learn social graces.
Note that, in the above two paragraphs, I have been using the very same “black box” model of social skills that I have been criticizing. Surely, there must be some other model that I should be using. One such explanation stems from the theory that autistics have a decreased ability to learn by observing that things are true, and a greater ability to learn by making logical connections. This model easily explains about half of the symptoms of autism, while many of the others can be connected via a few additional hypotheses. For example, physical coordination, judging based on appearances, and recognizing vocal changes in tone and inflection are all based on associating one’s current input with the history of one’s previous input. There isn’t much of a logical reason why having a piece of cloth around one’s neck (i.e, a necktie,) is considered formal, but we associate these pieces of cloth with the other similar pieces of cloth we’ve seen on people’s necks and the circumstances under which we’ve seen them. Meanwhile areas such as math and science are all about making logical connections and understanding the rules. No mathematician or scientist would be able to remember all the necessary facts if they didn’t make logical sense. The subject of language is weird. To add words to one’s vocabulary, it is beneficial to recognize some root in the new word, giving it some logical reason to mean whatever it means. This explains hyperlexia in autistics. However, when it comes to pronouncing and writing words, one must use the same skills that one uses to develop good physical coordination. This seems like the most logical explanation for autistics who can read and understand spoken language better than their neurotypical peers, and can even write and type with greater command of the language, but have great difficulty with the act of speaking and have very poor handwriting.
Assuming this theory to be true, we can begin to address the issue of social skills. The short version is that these “magic” social skills are really just the ability to compare a social situation to the many similar ones one has encountered before and subconsciously draw conclusions from it. The short version of a remedy is to figure out why people reacted a certain way to various social situations. Of course, this is just a theory, but it is better than the “black box” model, in that it allows people to decouple their lack of social skills from their autism.
#4: The Official Diagnostic Criteria
This applies to both the current criteria in the DSM IV and the proposed criteria in the DSM V. While the criteria do have their blatant factual inaccuracies, this piece will overlook them for now. Readers unfamiliar with the “official” definition of autism can find it online.
First, there is the issue that the diagnostic criteria seem most suited for the diagnosis of children, not adults. At a time when many adults are seeking official diagnosis, this is unacceptable. What aggravates the problem is the aforementioned issue that the portrayal of autistics as children is inherently harmful to autistics. Many psychologists argue that the diagnostic criteria are not supposed to be an official definition to be used as a reference by the public, but as a tool only to be used by trained professionals. With no alternate “official” definition, however, members of the public have no choice but to use the criteria for that purpose. How these psychologists who are supposedly trained in ethics overlooked this problem is confusing. That they have been through so many editions of the DSM, and still have not corrected this error makes it difficult to forgive them.
Next, there is the removal of all positive symptoms from the list. The traditional defense of this practice is that the diagnostic criteria are usually used to determine whether or not to administer a treatment, and that no one would bother to treat a positive symptom. This argument ignores the fact that these criteria are used as a de facto definition. If someone finds out that a potential employee, or co-worker, or friend, etc, is autistic, and reads such a negative description of the neurotype, he or she can hardly be blamed for distancing his or herself from the autistic. This situation brings to mind the quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. “It is cruel…to tell someone to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps when you are standing on their boot.”
The worst issue, however, is the repeated use of words such as “deficit” and “impairment” when what they mean is “different from what is normal.” For example, a supposed “deficit” in social interaction could be the result of a difference in interest from one’s peers, or even just extreme introversion. The “inability” to sustain a conversation could merely be a mutual desire to talk about things that the other one considers boring. What makes this an issue is that it is a validation, (from respected scientific authorities,) of equating “normal” with “ideal.” If we permit scientists to make this claim, then we also have to permit abusive parents and discriminatory employers to act on it. Note that the big problem with the autism cure movement is that they do not say that it’s okay to be autistic, and that it is okay to force autistics to be normal. Perhaps the autistic rights movement has been too kind to the psychological community, and similar criticism should be directed at the APA.
#5: The Important Studies that Aren’t Being Done
While there are many studies being done on autism, they mostly focus on autism as a problem that needs to be removed, or techniques to make people less autistic. Meanwhile, there are many other important questions that need to be answered. Unfortunately, either they are being ignored or their answers are being kept covert. For example:
Why do some autsitics develop savant skills, and why excellence in math, art, music and memory in particular? With this information, autistics may be able to learn to develop savant skills intentionally.
Why do autistics stim? If it turns out that stimming is a healthy behavior for autistics, might it be considered abusive to forbid an autistic from stimming?
What is the extent of the language impairment in so-called “non-verbal” autistics? It is known that many to most “non-verbal” autistics can understand spoken language. How many of them can learn to read and write?
Note that the answers to these questions will probably be very helpful in enabling autistics to live better lifestyles. Additionally, they are all based on the mindset that autism isn’t particularly bad. It would seem that this last point is enough to prevent these studies from being proposed in the psychological community, or funded by autism charities, or publicized in the autism-related media.
Last, but not least, Yvona Fast