Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Specialist

The goals that I've seen people to have for me and other autistic people often seem to vary between the strict lines of the boxes they know how to control. Some of these peoples ideas sound like this to me:

"I'll treat you as a well behaved higher functioning autistic until or unless, you show me that you are a lower functioning autistic who needs to have their behavior managed by me."

"I'll treat you as though you want no contact with others until or unless, you show me that you do in a way that I can conveniently recognize." or "I'll keep you in the environment that you claim is overwhelming to you but just right for the rest of us until you claim that you can't handle it."

"I'll treat you as though you have no sense of humor until or unless, you show me that my jokes make sense to you."

and this is the one that really bugs me "If you want to be seen as special, I'll treat you in the condescending, patronizing, and pitiful ways that special people get treated. Otherwise, say goodbye to your terminal uniqueness and hello to the mediocrity the rest of us know and have learned to tolerate."
Hmmmm....
Excuse me,but are there any other choices? Adding cheese to road kill and putting a fancy French name on it still doesn't make it very appetizing. I know it's the excepted diet around here but I really didn't "choose" to become a vegetarian for the glory that comes with individualism.

One of the most inappropriate suggestions that I see too often as being described as a part of who autistic people are is the view that we are not concerned enough about the needs of others. I don't see this as a behavioral problem that autistic's have nor do I see it as a lack of maturity. It is however these things to all people (autistic and not) at different stages of their lives and certainly this would apply even more to when we are young, small, weak, and vulnerable and in the most need of assistance.

I think there are many reasons that an autistic person is seen this way more often when the opposite may be true and the reason for others' misperceptions are not explored often enough.

The best example that I can think of that illustrates the difference of how an autistic's behavior can be completely misunderstood is how our eye contact has been described. If one of your most firmly held beliefs was that honesty was revealed by one particular type of eye contact, and you now know that this is not the case when you evaluate the eye contact of an autistic person, can you also see how vastly different an autistic's diverse thinking patterns may compel people to not have a solid base for evaluating our behavior due to autistic's with what is considered inappropriate eye contact also seen as being more honest?

I would hope that this reminder of how behavior is sometimes misperceived would help people to understand that what they may see as a person who is aloof, indifferent, or even uncaring about others may not be showing you a behavior that you can relate to that would appropriately indicate how that person is really feeling.

Some of us who are older than the average autistic (as age is described by the statistics) know very well, that life is about choices, we know the joys of loving, caring for, and providing for others, and we know the benefits that accompany our being responsible. I don't think anyone at any age can be fairly evaluated as not knowing these things or not being willing to be caring and responsible until they have also been given an appropriate opportunity that would clearly indicate that.

Autistic's not being given the opportunity to show more clearly who we are and how we really feel is the result of often being confined to only being seen by evaluators who continue to insist on using some very old and really wrong thinking to view us. I would like to believe that since there may now be a better understanding of autism, this would provide more opportunities to be viewed in better ways.

Unfortunately, the rise in the numbers of autistic diagnosis's has instead often encouraged many doctors , teachers, therapists, and specialists (who are just oh so special), who are prone to being irresponsible in their evaluations of those people who are more likely to be seen as inconveinient, (based on how they are taught) to repeat and/or continue this ignorance and avoidance of reality by continuing to go around who autistic's really are.

The older methods of avoiding who autistic's are may have been more convenient for many people because fewer of us were labeled autistic. Now avoidance seems to be packaged by spreading propaganda and showing in detail every specific part of our labels (along with some that don't even apply to us but that they decided to throw in any way) and how those parts should be fixed, cured, and eliminated. Since no disease or its cure has been identified, eradicating the people that they can't find a way to fix would of course be the ultimate plan within a world where that's the way things are done.

Unless school systems, therapies, institutions, and agencies, are using dramatically new, more understanding language to empower autistics (which absolutely includes the acknowledgment of how the current most dominant view of autistics in the media is WRONG) are guilty of causing the problem, if not in any other way, by continuing to avoid what needs to change for our very survival (and by that I mean everyone's survival). Often their most common and encouraged language indicates to me a much more active role in causing the problem.

If special is how you describe someone or something about someone that you resent and feel the need to ostracize and belittle, and you can't be more creative with how you evaluate others, then yes, it's best to see us all as special or no one as that way (which then makes the word special similar to the word inconsistent.... it cancels itself out....) If you can't use the label respectfully maybe it's better not to use it at all. However, if you do decide to evaluate someone as trying to obtain the benefits of being special that isn't willing to pay the price, it might be in your best interest to investigate further why they are even in the position that would indicate to them that they needed to make a choice about such matters . You may also want to look at why you think any such attainment such as being described as special could provide someone with a free ride. If you don't understand that, you may want to explore your personal definition of responsibility more thoroughly.

If you want to really do something that's special, try evaluating what's good about someone and how you can make them feel more special rather than how they need to be fixed, isolated, and eliminated if necessary to suit and protect your convenient, exclusionary, peace-through-dictatorship hold on your mediocre environment.

4 Comments:

At 1:02 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said. I too am upset by the professional arrogance I am treated with. Maybe they (rude professionals) need someone to talk down to them for a good bit.

Patrick

 
At 2:09 AM , Anonymous CS said...

"I'll treat you as a well behaved higher functioning autistic until or unless, you show me that you are a lower functioning autistic who needs to have their behavior managed by me."

"I'll treat you as though you want no contact with others until or unless, you show me that you do in a way that I can conveniently recognize." or "I'll keep you in the environment that you claim is overwhelming to you but just right for the rest of us until you claim that you can't handle it."

"I'll treat you as though you have no sense of humor until or unless, you show me that my jokes make sense to you."

and this is the one that really bugs me "If you want to be seen as special, I'll treat you in the condescending, patronizing, and pitiful ways that special people get treated. Otherwise, say goodbye to your terminal uniqueness and hello to the mediocrity the rest of us know and have learned to tolerate."

Brilliant.

 
At 10:27 AM , Anonymous Amanda said...

sorry to get here so late Ed.
its excellent!
especially LOVE the last paragraph


"If you want to really do something that's special, try evaluating what's good about someone and how you can make them feel more special rather than how they need to be fixed, isolated, and eliminated if necessary to suit and protect your convenient, exclusionary, peace-through-dictatorship hold on your mediocre environment."

 
At 5:00 AM , Blogger Ed said...

Hi Patrick,

I don't what will will get through to these rude professionals. I know that us keeping silent about will only encourage it.

Hi CS,
The thing is that I've heard people express those things to me and others almost that blatantly and not see anything wrong with that attitude.

Hi Amanda,
Those specialist are just oh so special. :)

 

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