Autistic people have rights just the way everyone has rights to be a leader of their life; Autistic people are thinking the way they want to think and are also human beings too with our own mind. Autistic people have feelings often feeling for others and have feelings that often feel pain by many other people who do not understand us. Autistic people grow up at different paces while others may just grow at the same pace as their physical age. Because many Autistic people grow at different paces, we are often thought of as less than human, deviant from the norm, and due to our impairments many in society look down upon us thinking we do not have a mind of our own nor are we able to make logical decisions about the life we want.
Though, Autistic people are vulnerable, and depending on the impairments, depend on how vulnerable the individual will be. It does not matter if the person is less impaired, they can be more vulnerable. Just because Autistic people are vulnerable does not mean we are not our own person. May be so many do think that way because Autistic people feel so many emotions at once, that at times we either do not know how to use our emotions scaling back inward or use our emotions too much being considered to be over-emotional, rageful, and illogical. Whichever way Autistic people are, we are misunderstood by society as a whole, thus society is misguided in the way everyone should think of Autistic culture and human society in general.
From all of this misunderstandings and misguided ideas from years of a perception that someone with cognitive and sensory impairments is not capable, not competent, some in society are finally learning today. The tragedy of this kind of thinking has created this between Autistic people and the rest of society. There are a lot of people who need to take responsibility for these actions.
Many people before Autism Speaks have contributed to this between Autistic people and the rest of society. Unfortunately, the mainstream mass media has contributed to this as well by conforming to the ideas of this subjective interpretation. Many people are suffering from a society that lacks understanding. This war against Autistic people is really a war against humanity and human nature. The battle to fight for either correcting the genome from disability to embracing the genome and realizing cognitive disabilities like the way Autistic culture is, is something that needs to be accepted just as many other neurodivergences need to be accepted too.
How far do we go to changing the human genome? Is it our right to change the genome that mutates and changes randomly over time? Who gets to say which parts of the genome are bad or not? And, is the human genome really a bad thing as many medical researchers are trying to correct it to make a perfected flawless human being? Is eugenics or genetic counseling really needed?
My feelings as a person who is Neurodivergent from outside the norms of society and as an Autistic person leads me to believe that I often feel like pushing to be who I am while getting pull back from society to make me the same as how others are. The fine line between autonomy and being who we are versus depending on others to conform to the standards of society is enormously thick, yet we need to pull one way and push another to be included in the community. Autism Speaks as an organization has been through a rough war because many people feel their misguided thinking for almost 13 years has been too hurtful to many who feel they want to embrace who they are regardless. This makes me feel that everyone needs to re-think what we have done in the past.
Our society created the mindset of the perfect mind and body back when Francis Galton created the word ‘eugenics’ and the world decided that between Darwin’s evolutionary theory and his cousin, Galton and his creation of the word ‘eugenics’, that everyone became instantly obsessed with the human genome. To perfect the body and mind is to deny disability and separate from the imperfect human body to create a monster master race of the human genome that everyone will strive to be. This monster master race that everyone has been striving for since the late 19th Century, created the thinking that Hitler wanted to first exterminate people with varying degrees of impairments to eventually exterminating certain races, religions, and other peoples in the Holocaust who he thought society could do away with. I am sorry to say, but the world created the way Hitler would eventually think about how the human genome, race, and religion whether we like it or not. We couldn’t control how some people would interpret this thinking even today. However, this is not the only thing we need to take responsibility for, we also need to take responsibility for many other things throughout history both in our private lives and in the public.
Everyone seems to not understand that trying to perfect a human genome is trying to perfect something that is constantly mutating, constantly changing, and constantly moving around in our bodies just like the universe is constantly moving. We are human beings so I understand why many people are obsessed with perfecting (and perfected) bodies and minds. However, perfecting a body and mind, is a very fine line between what we think is autonomy and what we think we need to depend on others for help. As we are Human beings who live in this world, we are connected to each other regardless of the way we identify through race, religion, sexuality, gender, or disability cultures. The way we represent ourselves is independent of being human because being human really means that we need to support one another regardless since we all go through the same trials, tribulations, and rewards in life.
Supporting decisions and the way we as individuals experience life is important. The person centered approach most are beginning to learn now, is something that is a part of human nature since the beginning of time. Yet, we have in the past, and in some ways still do, only respect the decisions some people made, while others we felt could not make decisions at all and could not think on their own. We need to give everyone the tools to decide and think about what they want in their life on their own. This thinking presumed (and in some ways continues to presume) many people that their decisions are illogical and not right. Making decisions for our life depends on what kinds of decisions we are making. Some decisions we can decide on our own, but many other decisions we need support from people who can help us choose in making the best decision our life. In the end, the final decision is ours.
Whenever anyone makes a decision, it not only affects us, but it also affects everyone close to us in that decision, and in some ways can affect the rest of society as well. For example, when any one decides that they want to change the way their child is, they are making a conscious decision that will affect the way their child will feel about themselves and toward others as well. These decisions we make affect us individually in many different ways. If a child rebels against their parent’s decision to change who they are, then the child and parents must take responsibility for their actions. Deciding on changing the way a person is, also changes the way everyone feels about themselves. It is important to attribute every decision we make to the way we think about others and ourselves in our life. When we think about who we are as a person, we think about where we came from, and the people in our life that affect what we think. Sometimes what we think can hurt who we are and/or other people.
Autism Speaks may not have been thinking everything through in the past how they are helping Autistic people in society may not be actually helping Autistics in society, but they are learning over time slowly. Every organization has their own agenda to what they think they are doing is right. Yet, everyone and every organization, through medical charity or self-advocacy, cannot know exactly how everyone feels because we all have our thought process and experiences that are different than others.
When thinking about supported decision-making, everyone thinks about the way they want to live their life. For example, an individual may choose a different way of living than many other people do on an actual daily basis, but that does not mean that individual is not living a quality life. A quality life is subjective to what an individual actually feels they want in their life. No one can suggest a better quality of life or social skills to make others conform to a society that is not universally designed for everyone. We need to remember who the person is as an individual and how individuality really is what everyone wants as a single mind of their own.
This leads to too much frustration because of a social construction of conformity the mainstream media has used every day. Some people may be more frustrated with who they are than other people because their experiences with how society treated them or how individuals who treated them in the past made them feel particularly unjustified and unaccepted living their life. This responsibility is what everyone needs to fully grasp and think about how to create a unified world with justice.
Everyone has their own way of living while having their pride and joy that makes them feel good about who they are. Everyone does what is right for them, but no one has a right to tell a person that the way they are living is not quality of life. Many times some impairments create situations that make a person feel they cannot function enough and in fact need accessibility and universal design to help them get by or even thrive in society. So, why cannot we create universal design in everything we do in society so that everyone feels that they can live their life the way they know best? Our society has always conformed to the idea that its citizens are vulnerable and need to be corrected to fit in, not in their natural way of living.
The world is a tough place to live in. Autistic people can be vulnerable, everyone is different to the person next to them, and simultaneously we can all be vulnerable to what others are thinking. However, it does not mean as individuals that vulnerability is a weakness. Everyone is an individual who can think on their own. Human culture is defined; all of us think whoever is standing out in that moment yelling their voice the loudest, is the leader. This is not true, we are all leaders of our own life.
In order to think through how to create a less vulnerable society, we can help by providing to strive for universally designing a world that everyone can live in with dignity, respect, getting their voices heard, and able to function with everyone around them no matter what. Everyone can lead their own life whatever way they want to live. We need to do better and we need to ease the pains of so many people, including Autistic and non-autistic alike.