Saturday, April 30, 2011

Some reflections on Autism Miseducation Month

(This was originally titled reflections on Autism Hysteria Month, but someone pointed out the origins of hysteria as a word and that's no good, so now we're on miseducation. -K)

Thank $DIETY it's over.

This month in the public sphere, we had atrocities like PBS's Autism Now (which ignored autistic adults entirely as not important; only parents matter). We had atrocities like the NHL's Face Off Against Autism. We had the ridiculous Light It Up Blue thing. Blue is totally going to make people more educated, right? Everything was against autism or for awareness.

Still people are settling for 'awareness'. But awareness is not an end unto itself, or shouldn't be. Big Autism is happy if people are 'aware' that their tragedified version autism exists-that brings donations for cure research. I hypothesize that Big Autism doesn't want people actually educated on autism, for then they may determine that supports, not cure, are what is needed and what is ethical to fund.

In my real life, awareness has done nothing but harm this year. STOP telling me I am broken. STOP telling me that I am an exception, I'm not. I am not special in the autistic world, not really. We are all unique and yet we all share so much.

In my real life, "awareness" is leading to a teacher trying to force me out of a class. I have a 4.0 GPA, am a former high level athlete, and he is afraid I cannot handle rock climbing, because of "awareness". The fight I am forced into because of "awareness" is not something I have the bandwidth for, yet here I am doing it. I will probably collapse from burnout before it is over, as I am running on fumes and stubbornness right now.

Awareness doesn't cut it in 2011. It won't cut it in 2012. Educate people or shut the hell up-awareness as your whole goal does not help us. It hurts us. And contrary to what you think, you are hurting really real people with the fallout from your scare tactics.


lurker said...

"Big Autism is happy if people are 'aware' that their tragedified version autism exists-that brings donations for cure research" The truth of that tragedy should be coming out, and research into cure as a result should follow. It is important who is "educating" others on autism. Supports are nowhere near enough to ensure a standard of living. I'm currently receiving services for my ASD, and so far it's a joke, and I'm not the only one.

You basically are an exception, in particular as you are among the elite of the spectrum. Why don't others on the spectrum deserve your large prosperity while those many others are so heavily impaired while they try so hard to get by? PBS' callous lack of outreach to actual autistics shouldn't be an excuse to legitimize the agenda of the fortunate on the spectrum who get publicity so prominently and whose prosperity shapes that agenda.

Neurodivergent K said...

Oh boy oh boy! Fighting the straw aspie!

I am not 'largely prosperous'. I live below the poverty line, doing a job that I enjoy but that is well below my supposed abilities and my education. I have been egregiously abused. I have to fight a thoroughly exhausting fight whenever I want to do ANYTHING because of the fallout of awareness. I have speech difficulties and life threatening seizures.

Saying that people are not human is not acceptable regardless of who you say it about. And tragedizing anyone's existance is unacceptable.

Haha, "elite". There is no 'elite' on the spectrum. There are people who are not listened to because they are 'too disabled' and those who are not listened to because they are somehow exceptions. Either way we cannot win, as you so helpfully demonstrated.

lurker said...

I don't particularly mean economic success. I'm referring to success in ability/aptitude. I bet you eventually will get to what you're capable of doing. I've heard about some of those on the spectrum who are successful in many areas due to their high aptitude. I can't ignore the disparities. I wish I had what you have. With opportunities, less suffering is likely to occur due to others' negligence. The lack of being listened to causes trouble especially for those who are significantly dependent on others.

I don't approve of anyone saying someone isn't human. Some think it's tragic when someone has to endure things that are unbearable for humans.

The Cranky Autistic said...

Not buying into the bullshit culture of helplessness they want us to adopt is the "exception" and as an a-neurotype parent of an awesome HF-dx kid I really fucking appreciate you. Don't stop fighting.

Solidarity from Australia.