Acceptance and Inclusion – Not Assimilation

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Autistic Reflection

neuroatypicals need to realize that neurotypicals don’t primarily communicate in the same ways (analogies, patterns, etc) and develop tools for communicating in ways that are more easily understood by neurotypicals if they want to fit in better.

This statement is so offensive and ableist it is beyond the pale. What this statement says, is that if I want to be accepted as a human being, equal to other human beings and included in society, I need to adopt a neurotypical way of speaking, processing speech and express non-verbal communications. I.e I need to behave like a neurotypical person, appear to be neurotypical, I need to become neurotypical. That is like saying that a black person, to be accepted as a human being, equal to other human beings and included in society, needs to become white.

The above quoted statement was made by a person with physical disabilities, in response to a discussion that covered why I may not use physical disabilities as analogous with Autism –  unless I accept ABA as a valid treatment for Autism.

What the above quoted statement is talking about is assimilation. Assimilation is when a minority group make themselves indistinguishable from the majority group in order to appease and achieve tolerance for their existence. Assimilation is not inclusion. Assimilation is living life in disguise.

I do not want Autistic people to assimilate, any more than I want black or gay people to assimilate. I want neurotypical society to practice inclusion. Autistic people should not be expected to undergo years of painful and intrusive behavioral therapy (ABA) to be accepted and included in society.

But we are. Thanks to the idea expressed in the initial quote. Because some disabled people went through years of physical therapy, or speech therapy, to become less visibly disabled and thus assimilated and ‘accepted’, Autistic people should too.

That sort of thinking reminds me of the Chinese tradition of binding women’s feet for the sake of fashion and class expectations. Mothers would forcibly bind their daughter’s feet, despite knowing how painful it was – because they had had their feet bound, and because it was expected by society. The practice of foot-binding was fortunately been abandoned in the mid 19th century.

It is time that we abandon the idea that disabled people must undergo painful and intrusive physical or behavioral therapies to be included in society as equal human beings with equal human rights.

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Living with Autistic Burnout – Lethargy

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LethargyThis post – tells you what Autistic Burnout is. But it does not tell you what it is like living with Autistic Burnout. So lets start with the first symptom on the list that affects me.

Lethargy.  Lethargy3

I wake up in the morning. I have no energy. No enthusiasm for anything. All I want is to go back to sleep. However, once I am not sleeping my brain still lists all the things I NEED to do. All the things I WANT to do. They are usually household chores – I do not like household chores so I avoid them. The things I WANT to do are usually artistic stuffs – writing, creating art, reading, playing with my cat. Things I used to find joy, self-esteem and peace in doing. Things that used to fire me up in the morning at the mere thought of doing them. There is no fire in my furnace. I still do them – but there is no joy, self-esteem or peace in doing them. Just an even grey mixed with black and dark brown.

Autistic Burnout

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earthworm-2.pngThe warning signs of Autistic Burnout are actually quite easy to spot if you know what to look for, either from an external point of view, as an observer, or loved one or internally, from an Autistic self’s point of view:

  • A growing lethargy
  • An increase in irritability
  • An increase in anxiety
  • An increase in over-sensitivity to sensory information
  • A dramatic decrease in sensitivity to sensory information
  • Heightened Auditory processing disorder
  • A decrease in verbal language
  • A decrease in text language
  • An increase in Shutdowns and heightened withdrawn state
  • An increase in the frequency and severity of Meltdowns
  • A diminished ability for the person to self-regulate their emotional state
  • The slowing down of the thought processes
  • Brain fog
  • Memory loss 
  • A decrease in your ability to effectively communicate what you want 
  • A decrease in motivation
  • An inability to generate momentum of body and of action
  • An increase of rigidity, narrowing of thinking
  • A feeling like your vision is tighter or narrower
  • Extreme forgetfulness
  • Extreme overwhelm
  • A massive increase in guilt
  • An increase in Executive Dysfunction
  • An increase in Demand Avoidance
    From The Autistic Advocate

The symptoms in bold and italics are symptoms I have and struggle with daily.

I was supposed to feed the family today. I managed to heat leftovers for my Wife, per her request. Then I cooked for myself – something relatively easy (made in the time it took to heat pasta water and boil the pasta). Then I sat down to eat – managed to get 2 forkfuls down – the food was delicious (most of my food is), and despite being ravenous I could eat no more – picking up food, chewing and swallowing were too energy demanding. I had run out of spoons… now I am beyond the point of being ravenous…

The Spoon Theory by  Christine Miserandino

Forced Social Interactions

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angry-bear6

I use Assisted Transportation, i.e whenever I venture out I call a cab. I hate having to deal with cab drivers verbally. *Small Talk*. This Morning I went out to fetch a package at the post office and buy some honey at the store, for my Wife who is sick with the flu. The journey out was ok. I got into the cab, handed over my AT-card and all was well. By the time I was ready to go home I was on the phone with my wife. Cab drives up and I get in, I hand over my AT-card, tell the cabbie that I am on the phone and cannot/will not speak, and sit back for the drive home. And the cabbie just doesn’t get it – he keeps talking to me. I had to tell him TWICE after the initial time that I was on the phone, and the last time I had to raise my voice to get through to him! Note that it is common that when I raise my voice (no yelling) the cabbies in this area threaten to throw me out of the cab “for being aggressive and threatening”. So I immediately had a pang of fear that he would stop the car and yell at me to get out.


I hate when people think it is my OBLIGATION to respond to their inane chirpings that violate my person by not accepting my verbal boundaries.
People don’t understand why I dislike neurotypicals so much. This is one of many reasons. They have no respect for simple boundaries. They demand that I adapt to their silly little social games, social games that has no real purpose or meaning.

ABA is torture. ABA therapists are equal to Dr Mengele.

How can someone not see that ABA is a violation of autistic children’s human rights? That it is torture on par with the treatment of prisoners of war in Japan during WWII, in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan. Treatment that resulted in severe psychological damage to adults and subsequent life-long suffering from PTSD.

ABA is used on autistic children as young as 2 years old. To force them to ‘behave neurotypical’, because their parents are ashamed of having an autistic child, they always dreamt of having a ‘normal child’, and their autistic child is not living up to the expectations. So they either send their child to various ‘clinics and therapist’ to be ‘conditioned’, ‘treated’ for behaviors that are absolutely normal, functional and empowering for the autistic child – behaviors like ‘flapping of hands when happy, sad or scared’, to regulate feelings, for comfort, to focus; ‘dancing, singing, spinning when happy, sad or scared;, to regulate feelings, for comfort, to focus; ‘rocking, stroking fabric in shirt or pants, humming, fiddling with a pen or pencil, folding a piece of paper in increasingly smaller pieces, unfolding same paper and start over, when happy, sad or scared’to regulate feelings, for comfort, to focusor simply because it feels good.

“Quiet Hands, Quiet Body” is the motto, manifesto, creed of ABA therapists everywhere. Autistic children and adults may not be or express their autism according to the philosophy behind ABA.

ABA has also been used to ‘treat’ gender-variant children – and parts of ABA is being used in evangelical xian anti-homosexual therapies.

“In addition to his extensive work with autistic children, in the 1970s Lovaas co-authored four papers with George Rekers on children with atypical gender behaviors.[14][15][16][17] The subject of the first of these studies, a ‘feminine’ young boy who was homosexual of 4 and half years old at the inception of treatment, committed suicide as an adult; his family attribute the suicide to this treatment.[14][18][19][20]

Following his suicide in 2010, the man’s sister told the news that she read his journal which described how he feared disclosing his sexual orientation because when receiving the behavior modification treatment as a young boy, his father would give him spankings if he was given a different color “poker chip” as punishment for feminine-like behavior when playing with dolls.”

ABA is torture. ABA therapists are equal to Dr Mengele.

My life through My eyes by Tiffany Joy Broskoskie

This so very much

thereluctantelfqueen

I do not have a disability, I have the ability to see the world differently
than most
people.
I do not have a
disability, I have the ability to hear beautiful sounds
that most people
do not pause to listen to.
I do not have a
disability, I have the ability to smell delicious scents
that most people
do not slow down to discover.
I do not have a
disability, I have the ability to feel various textures
that most people
do not have the perception to distinguish from
others.
I do not have a
disability, I have the ability to think in a much
more complex
way than most people.
I do not have a
disability, I have hopes and dreams, passions,
hobbies,
feelings, and an outpouring of love to give.
I do not have a
disability, I have Autism.
I do not have a
disability, I have the…

View original post 18 more words

where is the normal image of autistics?

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BiPolarAutisticImages

The Two Faces of Autism
Copyright © 2018 Henric C. Jensen

i complained to my wife this morning. about how autistics have only two faces in Media – either ‘fantastic, brave, inspirational’ or ‘a burden, disabled, abnormal’. we are only ever shown when we do things that would be extraordinary for anyone (like saving someone from drowning) or when our parents, caregivers and the general public kill us because we are ‘burdens’. no normal autistics are ever shown, and never any adult autistics – unless they are cute autistics. in which case it looks like this:

CuteAutism

Cute Autism – The Comic Relief
Copyright © 2018 Henric C. Jensen

it is never about the authentic autistic experience. it is always about the extraordinary, the tragedy or the white-washed.

this is not only abusive and inaccurate – it is insulting. it is also dangerous because it gives people the idea that they know something about autistics – “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” – but as the other saying goes –

“when you have met one autist, you have met one autist”.

i am not Alex Spourdalakis, i am not Colbi Heard and i am definitely not Sheldon Cooper.

Alex Spourdalakis was killed because he was autistic. Colbi Heard is hailed a hero because he is autistic and Sheldon Cooper is a comic relief because he displays what the public understands as autism.

neither of these images of Autistic People serve the autistic community in any positive way. honestly – autistics would rather not be portrayed on TV, in the movies and in the News at all, and definitely not this way – because it does so much harm. it gives the general public a license to abuse and kill us. it doesn’t promote acceptance, it sets us apart and demonizes us.

i am

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I AM Autismi am one with autism

i am one with myself

i am one with my senses

i am autistic

skin

nose

mouth

ears

eyes

i am one with my feelings

i am autistic

anger

sadness

fear

joy

compassion

i am one with myself

i am one with autism

remove autism from me

and i cease to be.

autistic reflection

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Autistic Reflectioni look at myself in the mirror
i do not see
broken
defective
disordered
diseased
disabled

i see me.

in the mirror of your eyes
i see
broken
defective
disordered
diseased
disabled

i do not see me

i see your reflection of me

i do not want to look at your eyes

autistic narrative, autistic reality and autistic lives matters

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#autisticlivesmatter #boycottautismspeaks

LIUG2018 2My Wife wrote:

Knowing that I would have all the “benefits” (can’t think of any right now), without the downsides (which there are a lot, even for us high-functioning ones), makes me sometimes wish there was a cure.
I suppose I shouldn’t say “I don’t want a cure”, I should say I don’t want people to treat us as disease or diseased and thus lesser, worthless creatures, not even people. I don’t want people to ignore us because we could have been “better”, had we been “normal”. I don’t want to be reduced to just the downside of Autism.
I want people to focus on finding ways of making our lives and co-existence with NNs easier, and not on finding out AS already during pregnancy so that it can be aborted. I don’t want people to think only of the worst cases when they think about Autism. I don’t like knowing people see me as walking disease and not as a person who might have something to offer, just as every other human being.

I don’t want people to think my brain is damaged, because it isn’t. My brain is developed and fully functioning. It just doesn’t function the way NN brains function. I mean, there are no dead areas or damaged nerves or cells or anything, it’s just different. It’s not even that there is less brain; we have more of some parts and less of some other parts… It’s just that the human society is created for people with “normal” brain.

So… how much of the suffering Autistic people experience is due to the NN/NT stupidity and cruelty, and how much is because of Autism itself?
It isn’t my sensitivity that causes me suffering, it’s that the society doesn’t allow me to adjust my environment to my needs. (Or refuses to adjust the environment to the needs of those who cannot do it for themselves.)
It isn’t that I get meltdowns that cause me suffering, it’s the NN expectations that cause the meltdowns. If I was allowed to take the world at my own pace and manner, there wouldn’t be meltdowns.
If I was accepted as I am, appreciated for what is good in me, and not being harassed, punished and abused for what I can’t do or be, the suffering would be much less.

it is autism awareness month.

my world is lit up in all kinds of colors, blue (a violent, abusive color for autistics), red (have not figured out why that is an autistic color) and gold (though i am not sure if i may use that color to light up my world) – and with it my world is filled of stories of abuse, violence, hatred, ignorance, indifference and above all – neurotypical using their privilege to try and silence autistics.

“but then block/unlike the content that spew this” i hear my more rational self say. sure. but those people and those pages are my tribe, the people who are on my side – and those stories are their stories – the stories of my tribe. stories that are also my story.

i am in pain.

i am in pain

for my own story, for the stories of countless autistics throughout autistic history. stories of abused and murdered autistics, stories of neglected and tortured autistics, stories of  incarcerated and restrained autistics.

for the stories of my tribe

(google “murdered autistics”)

i hurt

because there is an entire world out there wanting to abuse and kill me for simply asking that the world accept me on my terms.

because there is an entire world out there wanting to abuse and kill me for simply existing.

 because it should be autism acceptance month – acceptance means the world is not aware of autistic me, but is including autistic me treating autistic me like a person, like a human being with all the rights and privileges of any other human being – but it is not autism acceptance month.

because the neurotypical world is still dictating autistic narrative, autistic reality and autistic lives.