What does it mean to be Autistic in a political context?

Page 1 of 1 [ 2 posts ] 

Whale_Tuune
Pileated woodpecker
Pileated woodpecker

User avatar

Joined: 27 Apr 2018
Age: 21
Gender: Female
Posts: 179
Location: Narnia

23 Mar 2020, 7:43 pm

One of my issues with identifying myself as "Autistic" is that I sometimes don't know what I am telling people. Sometimes, it's taken to mean that I have a disease (which has some merit to it, though I don't completely buy into that model) or that I'm an oppressed minority of some sort (which again has some merit but is going a little far imo).

It seems like Autism is a pretty big tent and we don't all necessarily share the same traits or underlying factors, much less the same specific primary problems. So sometimes I feel that "Autistic people" or the "Autism community" can be a misnomer because it's not as simple as Autistic vs. Non-Autistic. So what do I mean when I tell others that I am "Autistic"? What definition or experience is shared across all of us (besides social and occupational struggle, which, while a shared experience, is not solely shared amongst Autistic people, and can't exactly define us as a community distinct from others).

You can point to diagnostic criteria, but we know that they are subject to change, and that definitions and diagnostic practices can vary from clinician to clinician and country to country, so they're not exactly the best tool for separating "Autistic" from "non-Autistic". But they're also the foundation for the label itself, so you can't just discard them... It's kind of difficult to wrap my head around what exactly defines us. And of course, if we're discussing Autism as a "difference" and not a "disability", it's pertinent to the discussion that Autism as a label was designed with disability in mind. We could "take back" the label and change it, but if we're going to do that, why not just discard it altogether? Why the attachment to it? And how would we change it-- make it not about being disabled? How would that impact people with the label that do seem themselves as primarily disabled and view the label as a disability first and foremost?

I have a hard time saying that "Autistic" is a discrete identity of mine (though it is a label I have and struggle with) because I'm not sure what the essence of "Autism" is, what makes someone "Autistic". And without something like that, it's difficult to answer questions like "Is Autism a disease/disability/difference/oppressed minority group? Do Autistic people have their own cultural identity?" that people are now asking. I'm not blaming them, but a lot of people seem to take for granted a distinct "Autism Community" with no understanding of the difficulty we seem to have even establishing one.


_________________
AQ: 36 (last I checked :p)


carlos55
Sea Gull
Sea Gull

Joined: 5 Mar 2018
Gender: Male
Posts: 244
Location: uk

24 Mar 2020, 11:45 am

Whale_Tuune wrote:
One of my issues with identifying myself as "Autistic" is that I sometimes don't know what I am telling people. Sometimes, it's taken to mean that I have a disease (which has some merit to it, though I don't completely buy into that model) or that I'm an oppressed minority of some sort (which again has some merit but is going a little far imo).

It seems like Autism is a pretty big tent and we don't all necessarily share the same traits or underlying factors, much less the same specific primary problems. So sometimes I feel that "Autistic people" or the "Autism community" can be a misnomer because it's not as simple as Autistic vs. Non-Autistic. So what do I mean when I tell others that I am "Autistic"? What definition or experience is shared across all of us (besides social and occupational struggle, which, while a shared experience, is not solely shared amongst Autistic people, and can't exactly define us as a community distinct from others).

You can point to diagnostic criteria, but we know that they are subject to change, and that definitions and diagnostic practices can vary from clinician to clinician and country to country, so they're not exactly the best tool for separating "Autistic" from "non-Autistic". But they're also the foundation for the label itself, so you can't just discard them... It's kind of difficult to wrap my head around what exactly defines us. And of course, if we're discussing Autism as a "difference" and not a "disability", it's pertinent to the discussion that Autism as a label was designed with disability in mind. We could "take back" the label and change it, but if we're going to do that, why not just discard it altogether? Why the attachment to it? And how would we change it-- make it not about being disabled? How would that impact people with the label that do seem themselves as primarily disabled and view the label as a disability first and foremost?

I have a hard time saying that "Autistic" is a discrete identity of mine (though it is a label I have and struggle with) because I'm not sure what the essence of "Autism" is, what makes someone "Autistic". And without something like that, it's difficult to answer questions like "Is Autism a disease/disability/difference/oppressed minority group? Do Autistic people have their own cultural identity?" that people are now asking. I'm not blaming them, but a lot of people seem to take for granted a distinct "Autism Community" with no understanding of the difficulty we seem to have even establishing one.


Autism is primarily a disability even those with milder symptoms such as myself are disabled in that we are unable to do some things humans have evolved to and should be able to do.

Like a tiger should be able to chase and kill zebras, if it cannot it is disabled and will not live long in the wild, In the same way humans should be able to talk verbally, live independently or conduct back and forward conversations, if they cannot they are disabled, but thankfully unlike other mammals we have evolved to take care of those disabled rather than leave die.

Although its tricky labelling autism as a "disease", since I would reserve that word for bacterial, viral or other acquired disorders as autism is a born with disability, which is a spectrum of severity on brain function, from almost unnoticeable to catastrophic.

Autistic people are oppressed by their autism not wider society, just like a wheelchair user Stuck in a mountain range is oppressed by their lack of ability to walk not the mountains, as humans should be able to deal with small mountains and rough terrain.

The word “difference” is used by NTs to be polite nothing more, like a “special school” is not special and the kids are unlikely to be gifted, it’s just a polite alternative to the old r word, (in fact sometimes used as an insult, like "he looks special" meaning he looks retarded) unfortunately its been seized upon by some interpreting the word too literally. Its difficult for us to see the various layers in NT language, like "I could kill him" usually means im very annoyed with him not I want to literally murder him for example. So when NT`s use words like "difference" its tricky for some autistics to understand the meaning of this, which probably explains the origin of the term within the autism world

As far as politics go autism like other disorders is part of the wider disability rights group that lobby for gov assistance and to promote understanding just like MS charities.

Some autistic people usually with milder symptoms are happy with the way their brain works and don't want to change things.

Now most people would take the view if your happy with your nose, don't see a plastic surgeon, but sadly in recent years a minority of autistic people have splintered off who have problems coming to terms with the fact they or rather others have a disability, they feel their only coping mechanism is the need to hijack the disorder for themselves and reinvent it into a new strand of being or normal human difference.

They want to impose their will and alternative reality on the majority regardless of the rights of others to medical progress with their disability & scientific evidence and general common observational sense. They get angry with the idea of "cure" or treating autism since to do so goes against their very fragile house of sand alternate universe they have constructed for themselves as a coping mechanism.