April Post 1: Neurotypical Supremacy
Autism Speaks had largely hijacked the dialogue about Autism. And as we know, Autism Speaks is just as mean and hateful towards the autistic person as the Ku Klux Klan is toward other races. Sure, they don’t say they want a cure now, but it still searches for “solutions.” Autism Speaks still describes our genomics as “MSSNG,” which is “MISSING without the I.” How negative is that? They want to “crack autism’s code.” To me, that means they still want to rid the world of autism.
Why do I hate Autism Speaks? Simple. I am their worst-case scenario. I am what they fear. I am different. I am an autistic adult.
You see, their way of thinking and processing the world is thought of as “right” and therefore “supreme” by them, the exact same way that whiteness is supreme, if you ask any Ku Klux Klan member. It makes me shudder to think how similar they are to the Ku Klux Klan in their hate.
April Post 2: Calming Down
I must admit, that last post was mostly reactionary. It’s terrifying to know you’re the worst-case scenario for a lot of people. Well, maybe they don’t quite know about me. I don’t want to be all hate and vitriol. It’s really dragging my blog down into a negative space. Perhaps we need a new and more accurate version of autism; not one that’s all doom and gloom. That is just why I have decided to mention the new, for 2017, Blue Power Ranger. Billy does a LOT of good things for autistic people, and I haven’t even seen the movie yet! First of all, Billy is a Power Ranger. He is a member of a superhero team. I hear he even contributes to the team’s success. If we can contribute something to the success of humanity, please, let us know. Oh, and another thing: Billy is the Blue Power Ranger. I must admit, I was a little scared that Autism Speaks might take that as a clue to hijack him, but Billy is too positive an image for Autism Speaks’ anti-autistic rhetoric. I mean, Billy contributes to the Power Rangers’ success! That, according to Autism Speaks, that cannot be. To them, autism is the enemy. So, unless Autism Speaks gets itself together and accepts autistic people as they are, then Billy is taking the color blue back from them. And that is the upside of the blue Power Ranger.
April Post 3: Blue Day… Wait, Not So Much
So, I went to church this morning and looked around. There were a few people wearing blue, but not anyone whom I would suspect is working for Autism Awareness. Well, maybe one, but I do not think she is particularly concerned about her one-year-old being autistic. Truth is, I am the only known autistic in the church. And here’s a photo of me after coming back.
As you can see, I’m wearing red. I have decided not to begrudge most people wearing blue today, because most people wearing blue are utterly clueless about how the #ActuallyAutistic feel. Most of them just want to do some good, and they are clueless that Autism Speaks wants to rid the world of us. (No cure is known at this time.) The only people I will call out are those like Donald Trump, who are willfully ignorant. Those who actually ignore facts that do not line up with their way of thinking. Some people may accuse me of the same thing, however. The reason I cite Donald Trump is this:
I don’t like to disrespect the President, but when he willfully ignores facts-and the fact is, Andrew Wakefield’s study was debunked and the results never duplicated in larger-scale university studies-he needs to be called out. He’s being willfully ignorant.
Enough about the President. The point it, willfuly ignorant and hateful people have hijacked the conversation about autism, and we have to fight HARD to get it back to those who know it best – autistic people. We’re here, we’re autistic, get used to it.
April Post 4
This was a link to another article.
April Post 5: Glimmers of Hope
As I have said before, previous Autism Awareness Month(s) have been hijacked by the “Destroy All Autism” rhetoric of Autism Speaks. Now, we autistics are breaking through. I can see it in a local Kroger store’s Autism Awareness Month display. I was initially put off because it used puzzle pieces in decoration, though those puzzle pieces had words such as “Accept,” “Love” and “Hope.” It looked like your basic puzzle piece poster at first, though. I had to look much closer. With the traditional puzzle piece, you are literally forced to look closer for hope. I found that hope breaking through as many of us autistics grow up, and often find themselves finding about autism later in life, especially if you’re a woman. Now, I’m turning forty this year, and was diagnosed as a child myself, but at the time of my diagnosis, autism was considered a rare condition. I’ll tell you what changed: the diagnostic criteria was loosened considerably. Now that is why we’re getting a lot more diagnoses these days. But learning that autism actually has benefits, and breaking away from the Doom and Gloom of Autism Speaks, we find our hope peeking out through the pain.
April Post 6: Hairstyling
There is an article on the BBC website regarding a barber who will cut an autistic child’s hair. Apparently, you have to go to a special hairdresser or barber to get it done. What a surprise! We autistic people are such terrible people to deal with that it takes somebody special! Before I go down that road, I think I might offer a valuable point. Now, I don’t specifically have an episode where cutting hair was an ordeal, but I have a sibling who did. Apparently, it’s hard for an autistic child’s parent to get their hair cut and styled, prompting many hairdressers to completely turn autistic children away! Now, I think I might be able to give some insight to why this is so: to me, a haircut is very hard. Some of the time, the comb or scissors pulls on small hair in my head, making it feel as if someone is sticking a bunch of needles in my scalp. I prefer when my hair is wet, so I don’t get that feeling of needles as often. I have been able to sit through an appointment without crying easily, but my sibling was not able to for a few years as a child. There have been studies that prove siblings of the autistic have autistic traits. Perhaps this happens to be one of them with my sibling.
April Post 7: Why We Fight
Where does this “Accept” and “Love” position I give come from? Why, it’s from viewing autism as what it really is: a different operating system, which anthropologists are now coming around to as beneficial to many aspects of life. Autism, like any other trait, has benefits. Sure, you’re not sitting around talking to people in a bunch of flowery chitchat, but the autistic person has real focus and drive. Most of us can cut to the point quicker than most. There are more than I can think of, but here’s the point: I have come to believe that autism is not some divine punishment. I believe autism has its purpose in this life, and society. The fact that I have to wonder if the autistic will be destroyed before we find the purpose out is what troubles me. According to anthropology, most religion, and technology, there is a purpose for autism. Do we autistic people have to be destroyed before we find it out? I hope not.
April Post 8: Meet Julia
This is a reaction post: I must admit I haven’t seen Sesame Street in a long time.
10:32 – Julia is not taking greeting very well. She seems to be rubbing Big Bird a little wrong.
10:33 – They’re explaining Julia’s autism to Big Bird in very simple terms.
“Play, play, play!” Is her first real line. She’s very sweet.
10:35 – Uh-oh – sirens. She’s holding her ears. A little insight: it’s apparent to Julia that sirens are much louder to her. It’s common for an autistic person to experience things more or less.
10:38 – Big Bird is getting that people are different from each other. Elmo seems to get Julia a little more, as does Abby.
10:40 – They’re singing about differences, and friendship.
10:42 – They’ve changed things a bit. Now they introduce the Letter of the Day with a song. Cool. By the way, its “F” for Friendship.
10:43 – Boy, this is FAST. We’re now in a segment about friendship. I’ve forgotten how quickly the child’s brain processes information – at least with Sesame Street.
10:45 – “Hey, come play with me” is a great song.
10:46 – Now were learning how to take turns with the Two Headed Monster.
10:47 – How Many Cookies Today? 2!
10:48 – Now Elmo and Abby are learning to count to 2.
10:49 – A song about 2!
10:50 – Whew! I have to go FAST.
10:51 – Now we’ve got Smarty the Smartphone. And we’re talking about friends. (I’m sensing a theme here.) Now they’re playing Tic Tac Toe.
10:54 – A man and dog teaching how to play with a friend.
10:55 – Elmo is doing the Happy Dance Dance. 🙂
10:56 – Big Bird and Julia are now good friends. Goodbye NOW?! (That’s OK. It only lasts for a half hour.)
10:58 – Roll Credits – with a song!
I’m happy Julia has made the jump to TV Sesame Street. If Julia or some type of autistic child had been around Sesame Street as a kid, maybe I would have been more accepted instead of teased for being a crybaby. (To be honest, I’m getting jealous of autistic kids today. They’re having opportunities for love and acceptance I never did.)
I guess you have to start the acceptance and friendship with different people REALLY young. Hopefully, they’ll get the message one day.
April Post 10: Meet the Angry Autistic Woman
Looking over my behavior when I am alone, it disturbs me. I swear, I give obscene gestures to random people that are not there, and I am a constant simmering volcano of emotion. I don’t know where all this anger comes from. My mother does not know about this I don’t like being an angry woman. I don’t like wanting to explode at people all the time. I don’t like having to relive every single day simmering at the edges, and literally stuffing down my emotions with anything I can find in order like a
But, when I look over all the injustice that I received as an autistic person, I get why I am so angry. The rage I feel inside when I see anything that reminds me of my childhood is unbearable at best. Tonight, I saw an episode of “The Goldbergs” which revolved around theater. I never really fit in anywhere in high school, not even theater. I even tried to spell it “theatre” in order to fit in. Then, as I learned later, I was made fun of behind my back for talking to myself. There is a post about that called “Facebook and the Mellaril Nightmare” if you want to read about it. Truth is, the only time I ever really felt accepted in school was on Grad Night. I guess everybody was trying to make a good last impression. Truth be told, I was finally relaxed and relieved that it was all ending.
I spent years trying to find love and acceptance, because I was always unacceptable. I was unacceptable in class, unacceptable with friends, unacceptable in theater (pretentious snobs!), unacceptable in church, even unacceptable in ASAN (for being too politically conservative). Honestly, I am currently an angry, bitter, lonely recluse, and that’s what everybody wants me to be. They only want me to go away. Is it any wonder I am an Angry Autistic Woman?
April Post 11: Autism Portrayals in Media
Much of the Autism Awareness talk has died down by now. Even the store displays are showing the leftovers from puzzle piece junk, like keychains and stuff.
I’ve decided to talk about an issue that seems to plague the portrayals of autistic people in the media. The fact is, nobody is listening to anybody else about how people really are. I know for a fact that it plagues all portrayals, but I am focusing on autism here. I have struggled to find a similar portrayal that falls far short – and needs somebody to explain to these people how – and I found it in Japanese Engrish.
I’m only giving you this link to the site because it is very offensive, not only to English speakers, but it makes the Japanese look like morons, just because they don’t know the ins and outs that native English speakers do. Now, it’s kind of like this Japanese Engrish unlearnedness that plagues portrayals of autism in the media. Many of us autistic people find most portrayals offensive. So far, the best portrayal I can find is Billy Cranston in the new Power Rangers movie. Otherwise, even little Julia from Sesame Street has some traits that offend autistic people. This comes from people not listening to those of us with autism.
Now, tell me: would you rather have a portrayal of autism that is accurate and tasteful, or an autism portrayal that is like Japanese Engrish?
Autism Post 12: Autism Horns Effect
I was watching Little Big Shots, and saw there was a six-year-old drummer from Brazil who taught herself drumming. She did everything around drums. She told her story, gave Steve Harvey (the host) a pair of drumsticks, and even said her dream was to be a Super Drummer, in her childlike glory. She must be neurotypical, I thought, because she is being celebrated. Let me tell you that any autistic child who takes a special interest in drums is usually put down to a “Fixation” or “Obsession.”
Have you ever noticed that once autism enters the picture, everything seems to have a negative tone to it? A kind of “Autism Horns Effect,” if you will. Imagine a pair of little devil horns, if you will, protruding out of any autistic person’s head, and you’ll get the picture. A special interest, for example, is often encouraged in a neurotypical child (unless they misbehave), while in autism, particularly Applied Behavior Analysis, is discouraged or held over the child’s head, especially if it’s unusual, like an interest in buses. If it’s buses, then that could be a marketable trade down the line! But it’s autistic, so it’s wrong.
Here’s another example: I have linked to another article about how autistic girls’ personalities are known as “Subtypes.” If they were neurotypical, they would have simply been Personalities! Have you noticed a pattern? Interest or Fixation, Personality or Subtype, it’s all the same. Autistic people are made to think everything they are is wrong, even down to what they want to eat! No wonder so many of us are crawling out of our skin and have meltdowns when we get home. Trying to fit into this world which puts Autism Horns on our heads is trying. If you want to understand, go to a place without your social customs. You know that uncomfortable feeling you get there? We autistics have it all the time. It’s why we often become reclusive, especially when alone.
I wonder what people would think if I wore horns and a puzzle piece all the time because some people see them anyway? Okay, maybe that’s a bit too far, but do you see my point? We autistics are tired of being treated like invalids and morons. We are neither. Stop treating us like that.
April Wrap-Up: A Long Way To Go
It’s obvious we are not where we need to be. The largest known “Autism Charity,” Autism Speaks, still has a negative rhetoric when it comes to the autistic. Parents are still desperately putting their children on gluten-free and other restrictive diets, shoving bleach up their behinds or down their throats desperate for a cure, and cajoling their autistic children into making them act the way they want them to making them act neurotypical. Our current United States President believes autism is caused by vaccines. And we autistic adults are still being largely ignored in the conversation about us.
But, we have made small strides. There are some people out there who want us to be accepted. I like to call them Neurotypical Allies. Organizations are rising. Autistic adults are rising up to be heard. We are writing blogs. We are putting out information. We are learning to care for ourselves. We are learning to speak for ourselves and our kind. We are learning to speak for the autistic.
True, we are making strides. We are starting to move, but here is the truth: we still have a long way to go.