Abby's Neurodiversity Blog

Thursday, July 27, 2006

It has been a long time since I've posted. For that, I apologize. A lot has been going on, including: my dog is sick, my mom is moving, my 20th birthday took place, my aunt flew down for a visit because she's having family issues, and to make matters worse Autism Speaks has started showing their obnoxious advertisement durning my Star Trek: Enterprise re-runs.

Star Trek, science fiction in general really, is always trying to tackle social issues, one of them being predjudice. They always have outlandish futuristic scenarious, involving some new predjudice, that are meant to be analogous to historical or current events. I was watching one such a program this past week.

I like to analyze shows, and nit pick any thing that doesn't seem realistic.

I was thinking "That's very not realistic. I'm fairly certain that if anything with such blatantly obvious parallels to Nazi Germany, or segregation; people would take notice. I think that far into the future we'll have learned our lesson. Some of these shows would almost make one believe it's a never ending cycle.

So, there I was feeling optimistic about humanity's future and thinking that the notion that as soon as one form of intolerance get resolved society will always automatically turn its predjudice on some other segment of the populations was wrong.

And on came the Autism Speaks ad. Well, it made the show seem a little more believable at least...

Anyhow, Autistic Bitch From Hell, wrote an entry about the fact that Here!, a gay and lesbian television network started running the ad, too:

I think it's pretty unfortunate, also quite ironic. I wrote an e-mail to Here!, this is what it said:

"It has come to my attention that Here! is now going to be running ads from Autism Speaks.
As an autistic person, I'd just like to express that this is deeply disappointing. I'd think if anyone could understand the plight of the autistic community, it would be members of the gay community.
Autistics are now in the same situation gays and lesbians were in 50 years ago. We are being marginalized, classified as broken or diseased, and having people attempt to cure us of being who we are(not only that, but wasting time and resources trying to eliminate individuality, when their efforts would be better spent trying to cure actual devastating epidemics such as AIDS or cancer) .
There is nothing wrong with being autistic. We think, feel and perceive the world differently; but difference, individuality, is not a disease. I would hope Here! could realize that.
In a deeply disturbing turn of arrogant, hypocritical irony; we may not receive any empathy from America's Premium Gay Television Network.
We are, nonetheless, here. We are autistic. Get used to it."

I was thinking perhaps if more people wrote such it might be beneficial. I wrote an e-mail, though I think perhaps hand written might be better. Their e-mail address is on their sight, I'll try to find their snail mail address and post it here later, but for now my mom's roommate needs the computer.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Prenatal test for autism.

This is really, really disturbing to me. It's depressing, it's infuriating. It's depressing in one respect to consider the prosepct of the genocide of autistics, and at least as much to consider the extent of human prejudice this represents.

I like who I am. I like the way I perceive the world. I like the way I experience things. I'm glad I exist. Someday I will die and that unnerves me. The only real consolation is, human kind will continue.

That the future for human kind may be one where diversity is not embraced, a world from which people like me are excluded, and a world where individuality is squelched, that's depressing.

I sincerely hope we are not the last generation of autistics. To eliminate an entire group of people, and ensure the nihility of that groups enire future progeny, is unfathomably lamentable. An entire way of thinking and being, a part of what makes humanity what it is, destroyed. People not being aloud to exist simply because they are differnt.

Well, what if the situation were reversed? What if I were so deplorable a person as to pass judgement on my child before he's even born?

What if I get pregnant, and prenatal test my unborn child for autism, and just terminate the pregnancy if I found out I were pregnant with an NT child, and decide right off the bat, I don't even care to meet that person and I just don't even think he should be born?

I wouldn't do that. I'd love my kid for whoever he/she was no matter what. I would want him/her to be happy, and care for him/her no matter what kind of neurology he/she had.

Well, I don't think this prenatal test business is going to blink autistics out of existence. Autism is genetic. There are multiple generation autistic families who are perfectly content to be themselves. But still the idea, the bigotry, the thought that this is even happening, and the lives that doubtless will be lost over this, is disgraceful.

Anyhow, humanity thrives because of it's diversity.

Face to face communication is less necessary with the advent of computers. In many jobs, good memory, and attention to details are more useful than motor or social skills. Expertise in highly specialzed scientific and technological fields are more prevalent now than ever before.

The fact that humanity includes individual differences, is why our species is so strong.

But, things are getting really serious now. How can humanity be strong, and united as a species, when some expressly disqualify others from their definition of personhood?

We are all human, and all of humanity deserves equal respect, but if some want to exclude and segregate us what can we do? Someday, in the future, people will give up archaic prejudices, and except others for who they are.

Until then, I guess all we can do is at least take care of eachother as best we can, try to raise awareness and gain acceptence. The whole thing is just very sad. Humanity dissapoints me sometimes.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

On monday, All Things Considered on National Public Radio did a piece on Autism. "Autism movement Seeks Acceptance, Not Cures". It can be listened to here:

This show made some very good points. One of which was the arbitrary nature of labels like "High Functioning" and "Low Functioning". It is arrogant that some proclaim themselves high functioning and deem others low functioning, and generally based on things as trivial as when/if a person develops spoken language, or how a person communicates.

I'm very glad that this side of the story is finally getting recognized. The side of the story that says that we like the way we think, we don't need to be cured, and what we need is acceptance.

In other news, unfortunately, the other side of the story has been getting more coverage as well. The side of the story that basically propagates the belief that autism is worse than death. I'm sure most have already heard about how Autism Speaks recently made a video they called "Autism Every Day".

I watched it, and it litterally made me feel ill. A mother of an autistic girl talked about how she would have killed herself and her autistic daughter if not for the fact that she also had a non-autistic daughter. She said this right in front of her autistic daughter. While holding her daughter on her lap.

"Autism Speaks"(which is a gross misnomer as the group is lead by non-autistics speaking on our behalf, as fervent supporters of a "cure"), has also recently made a television commercial.

What is this commercial about? It shows a little girl dancing around, singing twinkle twinkle little star. Then it says that a child's chance of being in a broadway show is 1 in 10,000 but their change of getting diagnosed with Autism is 1 in 166.

And went on about how that makes finding a cure important.

I was sitting there watching, thinking "OK, so we're more likely to be autistic than on broadway...and?" There are a lot of things people are a lot more likely to do than go on broadway. I don't know if the little girl singing was supposed to be autistic or not, or what having autism has to do with being on a broadway show, but it was a stupid commmerical.

For one thing, what's so terrible about getting diagnosed? 100 years ago, they wouldn't have gotten diagnosed with autism. But not because they didn't have it, just because doctors weren't so obsessed with parcing out people's individual differences and diagnosing them as diseases back then.

Autism Speaks preys on people's fears, because as soon as somone hears something like "diagnosis", they panic.

Once, when I was little, my mom was at a group for parens of kids with learning disabilities, and one woman, who's little girl had just gotten diagnosed, was crying, and carrying on about it. My mom told the woman "It's just a label. She's the same little girl she was last week." This realization alone greatly consoled the woman.

Basically, Autism Speaks just needs to shut up, and stop spreading mass panic.

A good point made on the show by Jim Sinclair was this:
"What the rest of the world needs to know about autism is that it's not something that can be separated out from the person, it's part of the person,' explains Sinclair. 'And so you cannot meaningfully say I love my child but I hate the autism. "