Whose Planet Is It Anyway?

Monday, May 01, 2006

Yes, You Are Talking About Me

This post is a contribution to Blogging Against Disablism Day. I'm sure there are as many definitions of what is variously called ableism or disablism as there are blogs, so I'll start with my own definition, which is that it's a prejudice against people who are seen as being less capable in society. I use the word "seen" because what we are dealing with is often an assumption, rather than a fact. A "disabled" person isn't necessarily any less able to communicate, or work, or learn, or take care of himself or herself than anyone else is; the question is whether or not the social environment is flexible enough to accommodate the person's needs.

This disparity between the prejudice and the reality often leads to a situation where bigots try to justify their prejudices by claiming that anyone who is competent enough to criticize them isn't really disabled and should just shut up. (We all know who they are—Lenny Schafer's crowd, those who attack Michelle Dawson for not posting her diagnosis on the Web, etc.) This is what I have to say to those bigots:

Yes, you are talking about me when your hate sites proclaim that society must act now to eradicate the horrible plague of autism. Don't even waste your breath trying to convince me that it's none of my business because I have a job and I'm not on disability. You don't think your bigotry affects me? You don't think my life has been changed by your relentless campaign to turn autistic people into the lepers of the 21st century?

I can't even blog for autistic rights under my own goddamn name because there's no way of knowing if someone from my company might read my writing and decide that they need to cleanse the workplace of tragically impaired mental defectives.

You don't think I have a right to say anything when you declare that the world would be so much better if people like me didn't exist? When your so-called charities raise funds to develop a prenatal test to exterminate autistics by the millions? Not my business because there aren't (yet) any jackbooted storm troopers knocking on my door in the middle of the night to drag me off to the concentration camp?

You're wrong. You're so wrong. You're dead wrong.

And there's one more thing I have to say to the curebie parents: Most of you are autistic, too. You just haven't realized it yet because you have a job and you're not on disability. So, the next time you launch into a perseverative monologue on the horrors of autism, take a good look in the mirror.

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14 Comments:

  • abfh: And there's one more thing I have to say to the curebie parents: Most of you are autistic, too. You just haven't realized it yet

    Probably one of the things that terrifies many parents to the point of wanting to eliminate (exterminate) autism at any cost, no matter the risk, and to blame it on something other than genetics.

    Yes they are talking about you, and me, and my children.

    By Blogger notmercury, at 9:13 PM  

  • The really rabid curebies are like the virulent homophobes who are that way because deep down inside they're afraid they might be gay themselves, and they're locked into a value system that denigrates that.

    I attended the annual GLSEN Boston conference at Harvard University last weekend, and one of the breakout sessions was about the "ex-gay" movement -- the people who think they can "recover" gay people from being gay through some combination of faith and therapy (and subtle and not-so-subtle coercion). The language those folks use is *so* much like that of the curebies!

    Fortunately for the gay community, those folks are a small minority. In our case, it's the biggest and best-funded major autism organizations which respond that way to autism.

    By Blogger Phil Schwarz, at 11:43 PM  

  • And they're talking about me.

    I don't have an ASD diagnosis. My official dx is ADHD. But I have several AS traits that aren't explained adequately by ADHD, and as the two are not mutually exclusive, I don't think it's much of a stretch to imagine that I could have both.

    But even if I don't have AS, they're still talking about me. Because most people seem to think that ADHD needs to be "cured" just as much as autism does. And I reject that idea, because I know that ADHD is a part of me just as much as my heart is a part of me. How do I know? I was diagnosed as an adult. I wouldn't be who I am today if I hadn't had ADHD all my life.

    By Blogger Jannalou, at 11:01 AM  

  • I can't even blog for autistic rights under my own goddamn name because there's no way of knowing if someone from my company might read my writing and decide that they need to cleanse the workplace of tragically impaired mental defectives.

    I liked this part.

    And there's one more thing I have to say to the curebie parents: Most of you are autistic, too. You just haven't realized it yet because you have a job and you're not on disability. So, the next time you launch into a perseverative monologue on the horrors of autism, take a good look in the mirror.

    You might be right. If not ASD, it's usually ADHD, anxiety, OCD or something like that.

    Much of the mercury stuff and so on is denial of genetics. Some of these guys, like JBJr, are obsessed with the idea that they are smart and autistics are dumb, a sure sign of personal insecurity.

    Jannalou: When ADHD adults are screened for ASD, the resulting prevalence appears to be something like 30%. I might write about that in an upcoming post on "hidden hordes".

    By Blogger Joseph, at 1:33 PM  

  • Thanks for writing this post. I'm really enjoying your blog!

    By Blogger Attila The Mom, at 1:34 PM  

  • When ADHD adults are screened for ASD, the resulting prevalence appears to be something like 30%. I might write about that in an upcoming post on "hidden hordes".

    Joseph, I would be very interested in this information. I'll be due to see my psychologist again in a couple of months (for progress check-in), and I want to talk to her about other testing - for comorbidities and so on. The more information I have going in, the better!

    By Blogger Jannalou, at 3:44 PM  

  • Jannalou wrote:
    "I'll be due to see my psychologist again in a couple of months (for progress check-in), and I want to talk to her about other testing - for comorbidities and so on. The more information I have going in, the better!"

    Good luck with that, Janna.
    And abfh, KOKA. (Keep on kickin' ass!)

    By Anonymous Clay, at 4:53 PM  

  • And abfh, KOKA. (Keep on kickin' ass!)

    Yeah, what Clay said.
    Great post!

    By Blogger Do'C, at 7:31 PM  

  • Joseph, I would be very interested in this information.

    See Stahlberg (2004):

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=15206005&query_hl=5&itool=pubmed_docsum

    "Thirty per cent of patients with AD/HD had comorbid ASD"

    His subjects are "consecutively referred adult patients with AD/HD" and they are probably representative. If this is so, the consequences are interesting. The prevalence of ADHD in adults is 2% to 4% (conservative estimate). Do the math for ASD prevalence from this population alone.

    By Blogger Joseph, at 9:02 PM  

  • Jannalou;
    Mercury is the part of you that screwed up your brain and your bowels. You'd be better off without poison in you. You wouldn't need all those ADHD drugs that might kill you.
    ABFH;
    Nobody wants to wipe out autistic people, only the autism that disables them.

    By Blogger Fore Sam, at 5:10 AM  

  • Phil Schwarz;
    Are you one of those psychologists who picks autistic people's pockets by helping them remain brain damaged instead of helping them get normal? You should be ashamed of yourself.

    By Blogger Fore Sam, at 5:12 AM  

  • Clay: Kickin' ass and takin' names. You bet. Thanks!

    John (aka Fore Sam): I hate to break the news to you, but you're Exhibit A for heritability of autism.

    Jannalou and Joseph: I'm aware of several adults who identify as autistic, and whose psychologist agrees that they are autistic, but they have chosen to be diagnosed as hyperactive instead because there's much less stigma in that diagnosis and they need only minor accommodations in their workplace.

    I believe there's a huge "hidden horde" in this group.

    By Blogger abfh, at 8:09 AM  

  • John (aka Fore Sam): I hate to break the news to you, but you're Exhibit A for heritability of autism.

    That must hurt John more than being called a homosexual, which would be bad enough to him.

    By Blogger Joseph, at 8:26 AM  

  • I always have the feeling that the curebies are talking about me too. I'm not autistic (either diagnosed or self-identified). But I have some traits, like liking being alone, mild obsessions (go on, ask me about Dr Who ), tendency to stare at clouds. I read their posts, and I think they'd like to cure me of all that. Because there are some people who look at me oddly for staring at clouds, who think that I shouldn't like Sci-Fi that much. Gah.

    By Blogger M, at 11:14 AM  

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