Friday, August 31, 2007

Wonderful Expressions

Friday, August 24, 2007

He Ain't Heavy (script)

Script for: "He Ain't Heavy"

What I'd like to speak about today is the value of labels. My reason for the title of today's video, "He Ain't Heavy" is that I am reminded of an old tune named, "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" that always gave me reason to look at people beyond their labels.

The way each of us sees another person by their label that they give to themselves can greatly enhance the respect we show for that person.

If, for example, someone can tell you who they are and how their culture often communicates, the label by which they identify themselves can aid in our understanding of that person or allow us the opportunity to say," I don't know a lot about that, but I am willing to learn." When we see beyond that person's label and remember that we are all connected as brothers and sisters and fellow humans ,
we can expand our knowledge of the diversity within each subset of people.

Unfortunately, the way we use labels is often much less respectful. Our judgments are not made with a great deal of patience. It is all too easy to decide whether a person is good or bad or whether we like them or we don't.

Beyond that we are not likely to change our view of a person once we have decided what their labels say about them. This makes it difficult for people to be seen as who they are and can greatly impede their opportunity for growth.

In this case, we may not need to judge the judger, but we can certainly show the error in their judgment.

We must also accept that there are societal power structures that create the need for people who are more likely to be oppressed to show how they are proud of who they are. This is important.

Amomgst those who need to struggle for respect and dignity, we need to give that to each other. Otherwise we cancel out the efforts of each other. Creating dignity and respect for one already oppressed group at the expense of another will create the same oppression that caused the problem in the first place.

In the case of autistic people, we must be careful in the ways that we use our
inherent talents or even our accomplishments as a badge of honor that promotes our label. What society calls our level of functioning, cannot escape the subjectiveness
of how each function is seen to be a contribution.

Diversity must play a dominant role in these decisions, otherwise every autistic will be expected to function in a more socially acceptable way rather than what is commonlly and thoughtlessly referred to as a level of functioning. There are too many variables within each autistics experience for such evaluations and the expectations that go with them.

Professionals often speak to and of autistics in a patronizing tone. Autistics have been more likely been seen by what we can't do instead of what we can. The discrimination against our culture has been a great burden to how we are seen and how that effects our self esteem.

This self esteem is essential for us to know that we can contribute. We must remind ourselves, and others that it may very well be the social skills that seem awkward and
even the behaviors that seem difficult for ourselves and/or others to manage that is a part of a package that is not being adequately evaluated.

The same sensitivities to an environment that was designed without us in mind may be the very thing that indicates that a person is inclined to be very creative and inquisitive.

Everyone is connected to autistic people, and we can all design opportunities for autistics and help people to approach the label with more dignity and respect.
Thank you

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

He Ain't Heavy

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Sophisticated Aspirations

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Script for "Conformity" video:
The subject of this video is conformity and more specifically how expectations of conformity might impact diverse expressions such as those of an autistic person.

Certainly there are conforming expectations in every society that help to preserve law and order. However, as is often the case when society encounters the diverse expressions of an autistic person, there are expectations of that person to conform that has no other value than creating a temporary and false sense of comfort for others who are more motivated by conformity and are suited for it.

When a group or society demands such a sense of comfort for themselves, the group mentality can lead to unreasonable judgements that lead to unreasonable efforts to support and maintain thier delusions of immunity.

While these delusions may begin by making them feel safe and that their own differences will not be targeted as unacceptable, unless reason, understanding, and a more accepting veiw of diversity is incorperated, everyone will eventually fall prey to these types of demands.

Exclusion, bullying, and negative stereotypes are just the begining of the negative path such conformist's veiws can enable. Eugenics, murders masked as "mercy killings", and even the atrocities commited in Nazi Germany are not beyond the scope of what could happen if the ignorance of discouraging diversity is allowed to flourish.

I accept the responsibility of seeking a peaceful means of interacting with others who veiw the world differently than I. I accept that many who are more typical than I will design places and situations that are not ideal for me but I CAN benifit from them.

I also realize that for me to provide the most to others and to society as a whole, I will need accomidations to help me realize my potential for this. While these needs may be different than others and in some ways I may require more extensive supports, no one is exempt from some of this type of help.

While my acceptance of responsibilities and the adjustments I must make to live in a world that was designed in many ways to accomidate people that are very different than myself may be phrased within a set of seemingly acceptable terms, it may surprise many people to what degree these terms are not accepted by society.

For instance, while competition can bring out the best in people with pure and compassionate motivations, it can corrupt those who confuse winning as an end unto itself, and people with fewer skills in certain areas will be hurt by this veiw.

Contrary to the shortsighted veiws of too many of our blindly ambitous decision makers, accepting diversity requires no expense to the resourses of our time and money.

Insted the opposite is true. Unless the ideals of including diversity becomes our most important goal, every individual expression and ultimately every individual will suffer as a result.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Time to Learn

Script for "The Time to Learn" video:
The question I'd like to explore today is, "When is the best time for a person to learn?" The only answer I feel is appropriate is "Between the time their birth and the time of thier death." Any other answer will suggest inappropriate decisions by individuals, about themselves and others, and such veiws lead our society down a very destructive path.

It first needs to be understood that if a person in thier youth, in thier advanced years, or even throughout thier whole lives, does have what some may consider a learning impairment, the value of who they are as people must be recognised for a society to maintain its humanity. If someone needs support to learn, society must veiw this as a priority.

While it is a problem that we often dont show the respect that we should show toward those who aren't considered learners, we also place standards on how fast someone learns, the way that they learn, and what they are compelled to learn. The reasons behind why we choose these standards and what they say about who we are as people dont reflect well on who we are at all.

In the case of an autistic person, the labels of retardation or pervasive developmental disorder are not appropriate or even practical.

Of course I dont see what good the label of retarded has ever done anyone. Negative stereotypes, bullying, discarded, disempowered, excluded, aborted, abused, and even murdered is just the beginning of what this label and this veiw of people has brought us. No person is retaded! This label has no value.

If anything is retarded its a society that refuses to admit that it was a mistake to label people in this way in the first place.

When describing a person's developement, the idea that it is pervasive is unnecessary at any stage of developement as well as being totally subjective. All jugements about developement usually imply unreasonable standards of the speed and the way a person developes.

And disorder....The only thing disorderly in our universe are the pathological decisions that people make when they hurt other people.

As more is understood about different neurologies, those of us who didn't have the advantages of our teachers understanding of this when we were growing up, want the opportunity to utilize teachers understanding of it as adults. This gives us a chance to contribute more. We need this and our socity needs us to have it.

Children must be provided with support beyond some arbortrary age limit such as 18 or 21. Senior adults dont stop learning or contributing when they are age 65. They are among our most valuable resources.

And finally, we need to take our focus off of what makes people autistic and how to change the autistic characteristics that may be misunderstood, uncomfortable, or even just inconveinient for others.

We need to provide autistics with the opportunity to learn. To do that we need to listen and be observant of who they are.

Each autistic has similarities that can teach us more about autism and more about who we are as the collective human race.

Our dilligence will help us understand how each autistic learns best and what they are most interested in. Remembering that the speed at which each individual learns is dependant on many factors and patience will make learning faster and better.

Society must learn that people are our most valuable resource and our best investment.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Liberation Matters

Script for "Liberation Matters" video
I'd like to speak today about liberation matters and how it matters in the lives of individuals as well as the entire collective human race.

Throughout my lifetime I have explored how so many people become inpassioned by thier beliefs only to inprison themselves by loosing sight of what started out mattering to them the most.

All too often people loose sight of thier goals when the very thing that motivates them to liberate themselves and others becomes confusing and thier own expressions begin to sound the same as every other voice they hear.

Freedom creates identity and the will to be free leads to the expressions that remind and teach us who we are. As we learn who we are, our individualism becomes a part of more and more sets and subsets of a growing population. We are exposed to more and more diverse expressions until there are times when we are bound to doubt how important any cause could be.

Certainly I have doubted the sincerity of others but mainly because of my own self-doubt.

Human rights are often described as luxuries by those who have them TO those who don't but we must be vigilant in our fight for the dignity and respect of all people.

The truth is that the people who fight for causes are the only ones who get scrutinised for thier fighting for causes and the only one's who have any critisism to internalize.

While a pure heart may choose any number of worthy causes throughout thier lifetime, and sometimes they wonder if they have thier priorities in order, this doubt they experiance is nothing compared to thier pain from apathy.

Please remember that a person's condition or thier experience will not determine the purity of thier decisions and this will be tested throughout thier lifetime, but the masses of people who choose apathy will always envey and scrutinize those who don't. They will stand as an army against diverse expressions, against minorities, and they will find thier greatest leverage when those who are different and persecuted choose to stand alone.

My veiws have been altered by the way I have seen society treat myself and others with differences. This has changed the way I think and it has and it is continuing to change the way I act.

Being born autistic is not just how I was born, how I was diagnosed, or how I identify myself and diversity is not just a cause I have chosen. My life and who I am is all these things and more.

I do not expect that my fear of scrutiny will ever completly go away and doubt presents me with an ever present threat. My only hope is that more often than not, I make choices based on what I feel is right rather than how I'm afraid I will be judged.

Buying Blue Sky (Script)

This video was made on August 10,2007
Today's video is entitled "Buying Blue Sky". For the purposes of this broadcast "blue sky" represents a romanticised veiw of hope. We all seek hope but often we choose the wrong means for obtaining it.

Years ago there were traveling merchants who sold what they refered to as "cure all tonics". These merchants were described as "snake oil salesmen" by others and were not very well respected.

These tonics often included alot of alchohol and while they gave you a temporary buzz, ultimately no health problems or any other problems were really solved. People were just buying bluesky.

Today our news media preys on peoples fears in a similar way.
The reasons that people respond more to fear has mainly to do with how we've been conditioned. The news media promotes this condition of fear and profits by how the public craves what has long been a major part of our viewing diet.

When it comes to children with disabilities or differences, much of the general public has never been given much of an opportunity to be educated in how to best raise and/or care for this diverse population.

These ways do exist. As a matter of fact, I read alot of good ideas about this on the internet everyday. Many of them are coming from parents who are choosing an alternative and eclectic method of raising thier children that is tailor made to fit the individual needs of thier kids.

While all kids, like all people, are different, the open and observant ways these parents learn about how each one learns, can be beneficial for everyone to hear. I'm glad they are sharing it, and hope more people will take advantage of thier willingness to share it.

Those who our society considers disabled have been misunderstood and often mistreated. The concept of these people having diverse abilities is a very new concept to many and is too often not being embraced.

Certainly people do have medical needs and many autistics need this kind of help. We also think in different ways and need an educational approach tailored to these differences.

However, the claim of an autism epidemic has brought out the worst in opportunists who would prey on peoples fears. There are far too many bad treatments for autistics and far too many dangerous veiws that would naturally occur in a society that is so often fearful and intolerant of diverse expressions and diverse populations. This needs to be understood.

Parents of autistics need to be supported and encouraged and there is much we can learn from how many of them are approaching parenting.

The idea of an autism epidemic is based on biased reasearch and promotes more of the same.

While there are conditions that modern medicine can cure and even daily living it can enhance, the ideals of diversity must be our top priority. Until there is a shift in how our diversity is viewed, there will be more unreasonable, romantic, blue sky views of conformity, more standardized tests to support them, and more fear mongering.

This will do nothing to support different approaches that encourage different types of people, and ultimately all expressions may be seen as needing to cured or fixed.

Monday, August 13, 2007

How We Function

In this video I'd like to explore how we function as individuals, how we function as a society, and how these two functions are related.

When it comes to individual functioning, society will make judgements on how well we function based on what they choose to believe our goals should be. This is based on a collective mentality that will create standardized measurements of human behavior.

Ideals such as what is decribed as normal are often thoughtlessly enforced as unwritten social laws that serve only to provide comfort for conformist's. These conformist's may begin by creating situations that exclude those who dont follow a path that makes sense to them. However, the problems this creates don't stop there.

Even for those who may choose to be less aware of the consequences of these standardized veiws, they often do make choices that lead down a destructive path. They are also apathetic about change. Often we are unaware of where apathy can lead until our individual set of values and those that become woven into the fabric of our society cause many problems and are harder to change.

There are many things that influence how people within minority cultures make decisions that are not understood by the mainstream. The choices that are just different and do not hurt anyone beyond making them feel fleeting discomfort and false pride do not deserve punishment.

In the case of different neurologies such as what autistic people have, there are many behaviors that may simply seem odd or strange to others. We may also have intense responses and intense expressions based on how our environment effects us.

I am not suggesting that autistics are beyond responsibility. Quite the contrary. I am also not suggesting that any minority that is persecuted can be permitted to hurt others and turning around persecution takes alot of time and effort.

What I am suggesting is that to truly accept autistics, the ways that we think and act differently, AND the adaptations and supports that many of us need, will lead to our opportunity to be responsible.

True responsibility is not given as a burden. Instead it is a human right. When we are treated with respect and dignity.... when we are not selectivly aborted and murdered.... when we are given educational and vocational opportunities that are geared for us and provide for us with more opportunities to contribute to society....THEN society will justifiably give us more responsibility and by doing so create an opportunity for us to become REAL accepted members of society. Then we will be included and resposibility will be our individual burden or our individual liberation just as it is for many others who are better equiped for what society now refers to as a typical environment.

In conclusion, our society and our world works best when individuals and subsets of diverse populations are included for being just who they are.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


My newest video on You Tube is called "How We Function". Very soon I will be putting the written script here on this blog. I hope that soon I will get the audio problems I'm having with my videos fixed. Thank you who are watching them for your patience.

Also in the coming days I will write here a script for all my previous videos (except for the first one which I already did that for).

Thanks, Ed

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Buying Blue Sky

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Liberation Matters

Sunday, August 05, 2007

The Time to Learn

Friday, August 03, 2007


Thursday, August 02, 2007

My View Script:

Script: I am an autistic adult living in the United States. There are many issues that are of great concern for everyone in 2007. I'd like to speak about one of them today.

While there are many who support the rights of autistic people and recognise our contribution to society, there is a great deal of misunderstanding that challenges our efforts to educate people about this.

People with disabilities, like all people, have a far greater value than the tasks we perform. To sum up the value of human beings this way leads us down a very destructive path.

History has shown us that any movement that encourages and works toward the elimination of any group will lead us to the destruction of more and more minorities and ultimately the annihilation of the entire race. The movement to cure autism must be recognized for what it is.

Disabled autistics are not only ignored by not providinng some of the services that we need to live but the contributions that we can make are often overlooked and we are not provided the accomodations in schools and jobs that would give us more opportunities to contribute.

Also, disability or ability does not define the autistic population any more than the ways we are defined by clinical psychologist and diagnosticians who attempt to categorize what they think they see in us in relation to the medical model of autism.
We are much more than the composite of the skills we display when given these poorly constructed tests.

While differences in learning and communication styles do present autistics with obstacles, many autistics throughout history have accomplished a great deal without what modern society refers to as "services." If someone needs help with daily living, or if they need help with doing something or learning to do something that has already been seen as a valuable skill, such needs must be evaluated as to how not providing this affects our humanity. Who we are as people must always aspire to provide people with what they need in this way. This is very important.

Actually today many autistics are making contributions to society in ways that are recognized (Vernon Smith and Steven Spielburg to name just a couple) but these people being autistic isn't sending the message that it should. At least, it has not turned a lot of popular opinions around that need to change.

As long as views of autism are spread throughout the mainstream media about the causation and cure of autism that is based on unproven science and as long as causation and cures are the focus of how autistics are seen instead of finding more ways to support diversity, people will not place their focus where it should be.

When our nation begins to focus more on ending prejudice, and finding ways to include all expressions of diversity we will create a stronger workforce that makes better use of what more people have to offer and more importantly, more peace of mind.

While I speak only for myself, there are people who share my views on this matter of how autistics are often misrepresented and how and why this needs to change. Many of these views are represented on the internet on places like Autism Hub, Neurodiversity. com and The Autism Acceptance Project (TAAP).

The focus on the causation and cure of autism in the mainstream media goes beyond being impractical. It is very dangerous, not only to autistics themselves , but to our nation's future and to everyone's future.

For those of us that are looking for political change in the upcoming election, we are, of course, looking for a candidate whom we can support. I am concerned that there are politicians who are representing the interest of the people who are not accepting their responsibility to know more than they do about autism legislation. When biased research leads to unreasonable fears, unnecessary expenses, and even dangerous medical treatments, and negative stereotypes about who autistics are, this presents a very real need for a better understanding.

There is much talk of a widespread epidemic of a mysterious disease. The real mystery is why more people aren't making an effort to learn the truth about autism.

We need to all become more educated about who autistics are. We need to educate our communities about who autistics are. We need to educate our communities and we need to educate our politicians.

Please join me in learning more about who autistics are and how we think and feel.
Thank you