Autism Cure vs. Autism Acceptance 

TooSmart

There are two camps in the autism debate. One camp is desperately trying to “cure” the child of their autism, while the other is accepting autism and working with it in any way they can.

You will find the majority of autism parents are in the cure camp. These are the “Warrior Moms,” the ones who do the gluten-free, casein-free, meat-free, any diet they think will suddenly make their child not autistic. They blame vaccines. They make their children drink Miracle Mineral Solution, which is glorified bleach, or they give their children MMS enemas, thinking killing gut bacteria will change brain function. In short, they are constantly searching for a cure for the way the child’s brain works. And why not? The autistic brain, in their mind, only belongs to a parasitic moron. They are also the parents who, in their frantic hatred and fear of autism, give their children the basically abusive Applied Behavior Analysis. Then, once their children display compliance and conformity out of fear of not being fed, for example, they declare their child is “no longer autistic.” And the child cannot say no to the person who wants them to stop stimming for fear of looking weird, for example. “Quiet hands,” they say. Of course, what if the child cannot say no to being raped in the future? That has happened to almost every autistic girl I have talked to. They were told not to say no, and they could not say no to sex, and therefore were raped. And the rapist got away with it. This is a hugely common story I have come across. Of course, this is just one example of how all these woo-filled therapies are harmful to the autistic child. As you can guess, the children in the cure camp generally have negative outcomes. Many of them commit suicide. Many live in institutions, drugged, isolated and restrained; beyond reach. Many of the autistic children become resentful, antisocial autistic adults. Do you want this to happen to your autistic children?

There is a better way. There is another camp, which is in the minority. These parents are accepting of their children’s autism. They understand that autism is a lifelong condition, and with proper education, training and support, their children grow up better. One of these people is Holly Robinson-Peete, and her husband Rodney Peete. Their son is autistic. He is also an aspiring model. Now, I might anticipate that due to the flashing cameras and lights, this might be hard for him, but every autistic person is as different from the next as any other person. Perhaps modeling plays into their son’s strengths. This is a good example of what can happen when you accept a condition, and learn how to work with it.

I’ll tell you something about my experience with both of these camps. On one end, my father never truly accepted my autism. He would always say “alleged” autism. He claimed that to the day he died. I don’t know if any member of his generation accepts my autism that has not died. Fortunately, even though I did not have my father in my corner when he was alive, I had my mother. She pursued an accurate diagnosis, which turned out to be autism. She worked with it, and actually praised my accomplishments and milestones, even though they were all out of proper age points. For instance, I could read before I could tie my shoes. But I digress; she praised them both as they came. As I learned to work with what hand I was dealt, it came apparent to me that accepting a child the way they were was more constructive than denying or trying to “cure” the undesirable condition. Forward to 2016: I now do most of the cooking and maintaining the house, but I cannot drive yet. I’m still out of sync with other people, but I do not care what they think anymore. Even though it’s mostly online, I now share my experiences with the rest of the world, to help those like me – even if they are only like me in being autistic. I would rather work with an Accepting Parent than a Curing Parent when dealing with autism. The Accepting Parent will have a better outcome coming for their autistic child.

My Personality Is Not a Sub-Type Presentation — Autism Women’s Network

When I was first identified as autistic around 2001, very little had been written about autistic girls. There was a page or two in Tony Attwood’s book Asperger’s Syndrome, but there were very few books and articles that focused specifically on how girls experience autism. Today, that is changing. I wish I could be happier…

via My Personality Is Not a Sub-Type Presentation — Autism Women’s Network

When Cure Means Kill

TW: Abortion, Stigma, Autism Speaks, Eugenics

In the United States, there is a rumor about the British, that they urge people to abort an unborn child if that child has Down Syndrome. Unfortunately, it is also happening in the United States and Australia at an alarming rate, too. That’s the part the urban legend does not tell you. This is kind of why I feared autism research into genetics. I feared genetic autism research, because if autism was genetic, then the only “cure” for the way the brain was wired was to abort or kill the unborn child. They would be generally killed in order to keep them from being a burden on society. Apparently, if a person has a little trouble getting around in society, then they are a burden. I refuse to believe that. It is Social Darwinism at its worst. It puts an onus on a person that they are only what we can get out of them. What a greedy, selfish way to view the world.

“But, but, but, but they are surplus population! They are taking up all our resources without giving anything back!” They may not be contributing to you personally, but you might be rejecting their contributions anyway, because they are different from you. What if “Hamilton” was rejected by Broadway because the author and original Star, Lin-Manuel Miranda, was Hispanic? I can use that example because there are people around the world who hate Hispanic people, and some of them might have been (or are) on Broadway. Of course, let’s look at this idea of “surplus population.” Again, are you saying that the less able-bodied or able-minded are useless? Are you saying a person’s worth is what you can get out of them? I already argued the point above. And what are YOU giving to society? And is it enough? Clearly, you might be less fit than Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, because you are not rich enough to run for President. Where does the line of enough contribution, and therefore, worthiness of life, lie? For some populations, like the disabled, the line lies outside of their reach, because they are different. And how do you know that autistic people are and have not contributed anything to society? Autism was coined in 1944. I believe autistic people were contributing to society long before then, especially if autism is genetic. Michelangelo, painter of the Sistine Chapel, for instance, displayed lots of traits which depict autism. Of course, it was not 1944 yet, so they could not dismiss his relative genius and put him away. Now, I am not saying finding out a person has or had autism is a bad thing. What I am saying is, there is a stigma that came with autism being discovered that has to be removed. People’s lives are in danger because of autism stigma. This stigma is being perpetuated by “cure” and “eradication” based organizations like Autism Speaks, and is hurting the autistic mind, not helping. The subhuman classification of the disabled must stop. Life is precious, even if it’s a disabled life, in my opinion.

Black Bart and the Unseen Enemy

Blazing_Saddles_inline_-_Gene_and_Cleavon.jpgI am a fan of “Blazing Saddles.” Yes, the 1974 movie about a black sheriff taming a Western town. There, I said it. It is one of my favorite movies concerning prejudice. It gives the lesson with a good spoonful of sugar. In case you missed it, the racial lessons are the medicine, and comedy is the sugar. Not to say that “Blazing Saddles” is perfect. For example, there is a lot of mockery of gays, especially gay men, plus tossing around of homophobic slurs. (Personally, I do not find them funny.) That is not to devalue the lessons in “Blazing Saddles.” As I said, it was made in 1974.

The warning of “Blazing Saddles” is that the societal ill of racism is elusive, and must be defeated in order to defeat the enemies. It is the fatal flaw that the townsfolk must overcome. The nature of the unacknowledged societal ill is plenty displayed. It works like a malevolent ghost, waiting for the right time to strike, and strike it does, in the form of the sheriff’s general treatment by the townsfolk. Of course, it takes the striking down of racism in the townsfolk’s hearts to save the town. Watch it for how it works.

Unfortunately, in real life, that ideal has not happened yet. It’s still 1874 in some people’s hearts. What some people think about racism – that it was over in 2008 – and what is going on – that it went underground only to resurface with some misguided permission – are markedly different. Racism is a poltergeist.

The Blessed Lady Autistic

Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? The “blessed autistic.” How do I justify being a blessed lady autistic? Because I got my autism diagnosis in childhood, that’s how. I was semi-diagnosed at three. My mother got the confirmation at eight. I did not know it then, but I am lucky. Most women receive their autism diagnosis in adulthood, when they have lived a large portion of their lives being misunderstood, targeted and most likely raped and abused.

Here is my story: “She’s one of ours!” Was the exclamation one doctor called to the other when they were examining me. Of course, I was on the other side of the one-way mirror. Anyway, it’s a hard road I traveled, but consider this: I was confirmed different. I did not realize this through the teenage years, but being different gave me a freedom to be weird. If I did not understand people, it could go back to my diagnosis. If I acted weird, it was explained by my diagnosis. Sure, I may have to fight for my rights, but there is a freedom to having an explanation as to why. So, why are we not getting these diagnosis to the women who are autistic until they have lived maybe half their lives in pain?

Here is the problem: most of my fellow lady autistics do not receive their diagnosis until adulthood, sometimes late adulthood. Susan Boyle revealed her diagnosis at 52. I assume she had got it recently, but my mother and I could spot it almost immediately. I have also heard of diagnoses being delayed until 68 years old for one case. Most of the bloggers who claim autism and are female are self-diagnosed, and have yet to receive their paper diagnosis. I say I am blessed because I had a woman in my corner who wanted what was best for me, fighting against people who did not want to put a stigmatizing “label” on me. So, lying to me and tossing me out to a society I do not understand to be raped and abused is better? You people throughout my childhood who fought doing anything for me, you absolutely suck.

So, what is the problem with getting a diagnosis to a girl in time to help her? Why, sexism of course. “You can’t be autistic! You’re a girl/woman!” Is a common statement made to autistic women who are trying to get their paper diagnosis.  That above statement defines the textbook definition of something wrong. You can be autistic and be a woman. Ask me. I think there is not enough study, training or education concerning autistic women. Besides, the study of autism is definitely skewed towards the most privileged individuals in society – the rich white male. Also, there is a false theory that the autistic brain is masculine. Perhaps there has not been enough study of autistic women to help find the members of autism’s lost tribe.

Why did they not study me, if I was such a rarity? I got some study and tests in elementary school, but besides standardized testing, it stopped there. Why not track my interests? Why not study my behaviors? What, is there not enough money, or not enough priority? I suspect that John Lennon’s statement “Woman is the ni**er of the world” is also the same with autism. This is the textbook definition of  intersectional prejudice. Autistic women are ignored because we are not male enough, or neurotypical enough. Until we value women and neurodiversity, I suspect I will be one of the few blessed lady autistics to get her diagnosis in childhood.