Autism Politico

Discussing the politics of autism.

Editorial #304: In Response to Chris Bonnello (Captain Quirk)

Autism Politico seldom comments on blog posts by other people who claim to be on the spectrum, because we simply feel most of the blog posts are absolute rubbish.   But some are worse than others, and in those circumstances we can’t miss a great opportunity to tell our readers why.  We do this to educate people, and our primary message usually is: Don’t buy into the BS from autistic self-advocates who are trying to get you to cater to their every whim.

So along came this POST. It’s entitled:

“Growing Up Autistic: 10 tips for teenagers with Asperger Syndrome or mild autism”

Every time Autism Politico sees a title like this, we shudder, because we fear it’s going to be yet another bunch of “tips” that will try to get the neurotypical world to bow down and kiss our asses, with the result being that neurotypicals will further estrange themselves from us and think we are all assholes.

The post in question has content which makes us feels our fears are not unjustified.

Read the following tips (and go to the “other” blog for the rationale behind them if you must, but we wish you wouldn’t.  Any additional traffic would only encourage the author of the piece to write more).

By the way, in the prelude to the “tips” we get this bit of autobiographical trivia:

“When I was ten, an educational psychologist came to assess me. Today, one of those assessments would give me an immediate diagnosis, and my parents and teachers would be offered advice on how to help me where I struggled.

“But of course, it was 1995. So this professional psychologist wrote down “slightly odd personality” on his form and that’s where it ended. (I’m not kidding, that is a literal quote from the report he wrote and submitted.)”

So we know that the author has little knowledge in diagnosing AS.  An educational psychologist has the school district’s interest at heart, and will use any diagnosis necessary to gain funding to get assistance for special needs students, even if that diagnosis is wrong.  We also know that today, a board-certified licensed medical practitioner and specialist in autism spectrum disorders would spend at least a year assessing an individual for a diagnosis, and would subject them to a battery of tests even if it appeared during the initial visit that the patient presented with AS.  But, be that as it may, here are the ten points:

1. YOU ARE NOT ALONE

Autism Politico is sure that this is meant to be an inspirational statement, but the sooner you – as someone on the autism spectrum- understand that you ARE (almost) alone, the better.  The author of the blog article suggests that 1 in 100 are on the spectrum, but what anyone who is familiar with autism spectrum disorders knows is that when the CDC gave its 1 in 68 figure, it was for a specific geographical area, and was not to be extrapolated worldwide:

“These findings from CDC’s ADDM Network, which are based on 2010 data reported from 11 sites, provide updated population-based estimates of the prevalence of ASD in multiple communities in the United States. Because the ADDM Network sites do not provide a representative sample of the entire United States, the combined prevalence estimates presented in this report cannot be generalized to all children aged 8 years in the United States population. Consistent with previous reports from the ADDM Network, findings from the 2010 surveillance year were marked by significant variations in ASD prevalence by geographic area, sex, race/ethnicity, and level of intellectual ability. The extent to which this variation might be attributable to diagnostic practices, underrecognition of ASD symptoms in some racial/ethnic groups, socioeconomic disparities in access to services, and regional differences in clinical or school-based practices that might influence the findings in this report is unclear.”

Since autism researchers void Asperger Syndrome diagnoses 50% of the time, it’s more likely that there are fewer people on the autism spectrum than suggested. If we keep in mind that in Europe, the criteria is different, and that countries like France diagnose spectrum conditions and ADHD less often because they feel that most expressions of symptoms are really just behavioral problems, it could be that autism spectrum disorders have a very small prevalence.  Who knows? And don’t forget that parents often push for diagnoses that are not there.  But the author of the blog post doesn’t know any of this despite claiming to have autism since childhood.

At any rate, yes, if you are autistic, you ARE -for all intents and purposes- alone, and even if you believe the popular myths about the prevalence of autism, it doesn’t matter, you are still alone, because your fellow “autistics” may really be misdiagnosed people, and it may even be that you are misdiagnosed, too.

Also, mommy and daddy won’t always be here to take care of you, and given the fact that economic circumstances are almost always unstable, if you are getting support from the government now, there is no guarantee you will be getting it in the future. So in the future, if you are not alone now, you are always at risk of being alone no matter what.

2. DON’T LET OTHER PEOPLE DECIDE WHO YOU ARE

The blogger elaborates by saying:

“It’s a sad fact- for everyone, autistic or not- that if you hear people criticising [sic] you for long enough, you start to believe they’re right.”

Autism Politico says that no one just walks up to another person and criticizes them without cause.  This is true for one simple reason: Aside from the fact that they risk getting punched in the face for offering their criticism, if a person is wrong in their criticism, they look stupid to witnesses.  So, if a person is brave enough to put their reputation on the line and say “Hey everybody! Look at this guy!  He’s strange!” chances are that person has calculated that the majority of people who look where he’s pointing will agree with him, and if that is the case, it means that something really is wrong with the person he is criticizing.

We, as spectrum-dwellers, live in a society, which means we need to accept it when society finds faults with us. When they criticize us, it is not to take us down, it is to point out our faults so we can get rid of them and improve.  Society is trying to build us up, in other words.

Criticism is good.

3. USE YOUR OWN METHODS, AND GO AT YOUR OWN PACE

Autism Politico disagrees.  If society is an escalator, you are not going to be able to hop aboard if you are moving slower than it is, for if you do, you will stumble and fall. So do what everyone else is doing, and at everyone else’s pace. Society is an amalgam of many different races, religions, ethnicities, and people with medical and psychiatric diagnoses, and society has found a common level of functionality in which the majority of people within it should be able to function adequately.  We must endeavor to meet and exceed that level of functioning if we are to succeed in society.  Otherwise, society will shun us, throw us out, or else put us away.  They will house us in institutions or public housing, and feed us like mother birds feed their newly-hatched young, and we will forever have to worry about when we will be thrown out of the nest so that the mother bird can move on with her life and maybe nest a better batch of birds.

Remember, YOU are the one with the difficulties, and so it is not society’s fault if you fail at anything:  It is yours.

4. SECONDARY SCHOOL MEANS LESS THAN YOU THINK

Autism Politico actually agrees with this point. The diploma, of course, is important.  But no one else is. Chances are, when you graduate, you won’t see most of your school mates ever again.

5. WHATEVER YOU DO IN LIFE, FIND A PLACE WHERE YOU CAN PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTHS

Autism Politico actually agrees with this point… to an extent.  Spending too much time trying to overcome your deficiencies is a waste of time.  But you should try.  People on the spectrum give up too easily, and they also give up so that they can avoid criticism by others as others witness them failing in their attempts to do things.  In these respects, they are wimps, and this may be one of the reasons why so many people on the spectrum are treated with disdain.

6. NOT EVERYTHING IS ‘YOUR FAULT’

The author of the blog article goes into a discussion that tries to explain what is and isn’t your fault, and that is a noble attempt, but Autism Politico has a different perspective: If a person expresses any hateful or dreadful reaction toward you, you have done something wrong, unless the person harboring that reaction is mentally out of whack themselves, in which case, ignore them.  We’ll leave it to you to figure out who is or isn’t mentally out of whack, but one hint we’ll give is this: Most of the world is not out of whack, otherwise most people would be as nonfunctional as people on the spectrum are.

7. DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP

Autism Politico believes #7 enables people on the spectrum to become dependent on others.  People on the spectrum often give half-assed tries at something and then demand help from others.  You should only ask for help as a last resort, and even then, think twice. You probably do not need the help you are asking for. And remember, if someone treats you poorly because you asked for help, it’s because you’re inconveniencing them, and you deserve it. If other people didn’t have to waste their valuable time helping you, they’d treat you much better.

8. OTHER PEOPLE FIND STUFF HARD TOO

Autism Politico agrees with the statement in principle, but the difference between AS people and NTs is that NTs are so ashamed at having to ask for help from others that most of them try over and over again to do “stuff” themselves before they ask others.  Spectrumites tend to want everyone else to do the hard work for them so they can avoid the stress and anxiety and fear that comes from doing that hard work. So while you should recognize that other people find stuff hard to do, they’ve probably tried much harder than you have also.

9. IF YOU HAVE THE CHOICE BETWEEN BEING NORMAL AND BEING HAPPY, CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY!

Autism Politico believes that following #9’s advice is the primary reason so many people on the spectrum are on the public dole. Spectrumites are all about happiness in the first place.

Wanna know why NTs are always so cranky?  One reason is because, in addition to having to support themselves and their families, they have to compromise their standard of living and pay taxes which go to pay for spectrumites who are living on the dole. Another reason is because if you try to get some people on the spectrum to actually buckle down and focus on things they will have a tantrum to avoid doing those things.

Everyone in the world needs to pull their fair share of the weight, don’t you think?  That means we all sacrifice a little, and no one is 100% happy.

10. IN ALL YOU DO, REMEMBER HOW MUCH YOU’RE LOVED

Autism Politico believes #10 is crap.  If you are teased, bullied, criticized, etc., then you are not loved by the people who are doing or saying those things. And if those same people who tease, bully, and criticize you are praising others, and being friends with them, this shows that they are capable of loving others, but just not YOU.  Why?  It’s your job to find out what it is that makes people hate you so much.  You would want to do this because you are loved far less than other people are loved.  Once you fix what needs fixing, you will find yourself being accepted more, and you will feel loved.

11. FINALLY, LISTEN TO OTHER PEOPLE’S ADVICE.

The above statement is #11 on the blogger’s top ten list, and Autism Politico hopes you follow it by listening to what we have to say here, although what we are giving are opinions, and not advice.  We are not doctors, lawyers, or professionals in autism spectrum disorders.  We’re merely people on the spectrum who are sick of the autistic self-advocacy movement hamstringing the future of autistics by trying to make them believe that they are more special than other people, and more deserving of support than other people.

There are autistics with all kinds of impairments and comorbidities who are functioning very well in the world.  Why aren’t you? You think you’re life is hard?  Be thankful you aren’t starving, or inflicted with a worse diagnosis than what you have now.

Try harder, and listen to what others have to say by way of opinions and advice.

Replies to this editorial are welcome.

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July 6, 2015 - Posted by | Autism Community & Its Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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