In case you haven’t noticed, I was raised in a traditional white, Christian, Republican, American household. That means holding on to a lot of conservative traditions, including Thanksgiving. I was told that the local Native Americans helped the stranger Englishmen (Europeans) how to live, grow and eat in their territory, and Thanksgiving was a celebration for a particularly prosperous harvest. We are traditional white people in every known way.
That being said, there are still good reasons for the Native Americans not to celebrate. I have heard some versions of the Thanksgiving story involving the massacre of neighboring tribes, even after they taught us how to live in the new (to us) lands.
Even holding on to the traditional story I was told as a child, there is still a ridiculously large amount of guilt on the European side of the Thanksgiving equation. I mean, how else did we repay the ultimately kind Native Americans, except completely take over their lands and kill thousands of them? That is the big divide I have to straddle every day.
After my ancestors steamrolled the lands of the Native Americans, I want to help them recoup some losses. The question remains this: What do I do now?
Just so you know, I am NOT promoting any sort of a cure. I see curing autism the way you see Invasion of the Body Snatchers. What I am promoting is a series of tips that could ease suffering for the autistic person. Recent scientific studies have confirmed that the autistic person’s stomach is different from the neurotypical type.
I don’t think treating gut health will cure autism. I think treating gut health will ease suffering to a degree. And don’t we want to ease autistic suffering?
Here are a few tips that may help with gut health:
- Lowering stress: This helps with a lot of ailments, not just gut health. Autistic people encounter stressors from the very environment we live in. This could include sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touch. It could also include social interaction. If you need to say no to a social event, say no. Those who really love you will care and understand.
- SLEEP: Always get your fill. Sleep is another thing that helps with a lot of ailments, too. I don’t need to reiterate the benefits of sleep, including stress reduction, but get what you can.
- Eat Slowly: This is the one which I have had the hardest time with. I have had to learn how to eat slowly for the past few years, because I was often escaping some stressor in the past. Anyway, eating your food slowly helps digestion and gut health, giving it more time to process the food.
- WATER: Again, another thing to help ailments. Did you know the body is 90-something percent water? It is the most helpful and hydrating liquid on the planet.
- Probiotics: This is one of the harder things to do. What are probiotics, anyway? They are live, beneficial bacteria which helps digestion and breaks down harmful substances in the gut. They are found in a high-quality supplement, yogurts, sauerkraut, and various fermented foods. (It’s okay if you don’t like one or more of these; I have trouble with sauerkraut.) I would find a food or method I liked and get to it.
- Food Intolerances: Many parents of the autistic tend to think this particular tip can change an autistic person’s behavior. SPOILER ALERT: It can’t. I happen to have a relative with gluten intolerance, so I am okay with this one in moderation. Gluten-free is a version of this tip. I would only look to this to ease suffering, which is how it helps autistic behavior.
- A Healthy Diet: Do I need to say it again? Plenty of fruits, vegetables, healthy carbohydrates and lean proteins. Many people choose plant-based diets for their health, too. (I’ve been told they get enough protein, too.) I will not object.
Now, notice I am not promoting a cure. What I am promoting are ways to ease suffering in the autistic person, child or adult. So, if you are desperate for a cure to autism, do not come to me. If, however, you are wondering how to help ease the suffering autistic, you or anyone else you care about, I suggest these tips. I’ve been told many autistic people suffer from gut health problems.
I don’t know what’s happening to me lately. I’ve been having writer’s block much more often, and for longer periods of time. I mean, how many times can you write about the same topics – measles outbreaks blamed on your existence, autism hate and discrimination, etc. – over and over? I mean, I wish I could have access to Game of Thrones and complain about the ending episodes like everybody else on the internet, but I can’t afford HBO right now. My cable bill is up to $200 without it already. Besides, do you want me to sound like a neurotypical describing autism and getting it wrong, like they usually do? Anyway, I did watch the series finale of The Big Bang Theory, even with the pseudo-autistic Sheldon. It was alright. Somebody finally explained to the pseudo-autistic what a jerk he has been to them. You can be autistic and still be kind, you know. Maybe I can complain about pop culture a bit, but even that seems like a strain to me.
Perhaps it is a lack of inspiration?
Perhaps this is burnout.
Ugh, I feel like Gudetama right now.
Controversial, no? That I can see my condition as neutral? I guess I’m really different from other people. Let me explore the ways both values can be right and wrong, and show you how I reject both of them.
Autism as a Superpower: This is not a viewpoint shared among many autistic people, though many non-autistic people think we do. Why people think we hold this is a mystery to us. Are we that arrogant to you? We certainly are not to ourselves. There are many things many of us cannot do without support, such as go grocery shopping. Perhaps the reason they think we hold this so-called belief is – maybe those dumb T-shirts saying “Autism is my Superpower.” I do not know of an autistic adult that actually owns a T-shirt with that message. The difficulties given to us by autism make us humble. Basically, it is arrogant to think that you are better than another person, simply because you are different from them. This pattern of thinking goes down a slippery slope to prejudice and scapegoating.
Autism as a Tragedy: This is the other extreme viewpoint we try to ignore. This is ableism in a nutshell. Basically, a disabled person is tragic, and the only way they can make the world a better place is to remove themselves from it. In movies such as “Me Before You,” suicide for the disabled person is seen as good! How disgusting is that? It infuriates me. Just because we operate on a different level is not a reason to advocate for suicide! We are denying autistic people the basic right to live! Another slippery slope appears: If we kill off all the people who are different from us, whoever wins that war would be the last person on earth. I’m not going there. One person can only do so much.
Why do people assign value to neutral events? Is this another symptom of the Power and Control addiction?
I have decided to reject both viewpoints, because they are gravely erroneous. They both lead to the same conclusion: prejudice, scapegoating, and eventually, death to the autistic. I want to live. I want to be able to access the rights that only White Men!!! can currently: the rights to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. I want my life to matter.
Content: Religious Talk, talk of cruelty and miracle cures, suicide, ableism
Now, I know that many of us autistic people are atheist. This is not for them, unless there is a place where atheists gather. I don’t know if there is. For those of religious affiliation, sadly, the places of worship are filled with pitfalls of “autism awareness” and hatred. Miracle cures, ABA, prayer, the belief of autism meaning brokenness…this is by no means an exhaustive list of things to avoid concerning autism and worship.
If you sense a skew towards Christianity, please consider the fact that I am writing from personal experience. As we approach Easter, I am reminded that we need a ways to go in the church.
- Avoid places peddling “miracle cures.” – The church known as Genesis II still peddles that MMS stuff – basically drinking bleach for the unknowing. (Isn’t drinking bleach a form of suicide?) Do I really need to state that facing death is a risk of drinking bleach or shoving it up a child’s rear end?
- Avoid places who believe autism is a moral failing. – There is an ancient belief that any known health problems is a punishment from the Almighty. This is often a fallacy promoted by what is known as the Prosperity Gospel. “If you believed, your child would not be autistic.” Well, that is definitely not a tenet of Christianity, which is my belief system. Jesus did state in the Bible that “In this world, you WILL have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” I am focusing on the first statement for now, because I believe it to be true. No amount of belief is going to change the fact that you will have trouble.
- Avoid the anti-vaccine place of worship. – This goes without saying. If you can prevent the spread of anything with a shot, go right ahead. It is God’s way.
- Avoid the Hypocrite. – In the church, we call them Pharisees. Simply put, they look good in the pew, but there is little evidence of following their faith outside their place of worship. Pharisees were even called “whitewashed tombs,” meaning they look good on the outside, but inside they are full of death. Unfortunately, you may not be able to avoid them in any church.
- Avoid the Graceless. – There is a parable in Christianity in which a man was forgiven a large debt, though did not forgive another man a debt against him. In short, the larger forgiveness was canceled. Do I even need to explain the pain of holding a grudge?
- Avoid those who will not accept you. – This is what I dislike about the Church of Scientology. In the case of John Travolta is literally took a judge asking him under oath for him to admit his son Jett was autistic. And by then, Jett had died. What kind of church is so cruel that it rejects autism’s existence? You may need to educate on Autism Acceptance to the place of worship, but if they accept the teaching of Autism Acceptance, stay. Do I even need to explain the pain of rejecting people with real problems? The church is a hospital for sinners, not an elite club for saints.
In short, a church that only accepts the perfect and those without problems is empty. If they will not accept you, shake the dust off your feet and go find another one.
I recently came across a theory that older parents are more likely to pass on autism to their children. But can we give this theory to ALL of the autistic children? My own father was twenty-five at the time of my conception. (My mother was twenty-eight.) I think this theory cannot hold the water in every single case. Perhaps there are younger parents who pass on autism to their children without any so-called “inferior” genes. Regular genetics, whether by chance or design, is a much stronger theory, and autism existed long before it was discovered and named.
If you don’t believe autism existed before its naming, consider the behavior of the “fairy changeling.” In many changeling legends, there exists behavior similar to autistic meltdowns and stimming. Wikipedia has several examples of this behavior listed in the various cultures of changelings. But I digress.
Since there is evidence of autism and other conditions in fairy changeling folklore, I propose that autism existed long before its naming, and that its existence is purely due to genetics – not genetic mutation caused by older and therefore “inferior material.”
TW: Talk of Functioning Labels and Their Fallacies
I’ve got two special things to talk about: New Jersey autism rates and the struggles of autistic adults.
Let’s get into the autism rates of New Jersey. I hear they’re the highest in the nation. Other high autism states are Oregon, Maine, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, in that order. Google the rest. So, what are we, the autistic people, supposed to do with this information? I don’t know, maybe offer our practical and empirical help to the parents and medical community there? It would be their fault if they don’t take the help.
There is also the so-called surprising data finding that the autistic adult labeled “high-functioning” struggles as an adult. Why is it so much of a surprise? I don’t know. Have you asked the autistic adults themselves? I don’t think so. Then it would not have been so much of a surprise! The fallacy of the labels such as “high functioning” lies in this fact: Autism is the only condition whose affects are decided by people who are NOT affected by it! How wrong is that?