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evilreligion
Snowy Owl
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29 Apr 2015, 6:20 am

I've written a piece about my journey from the "Autism Negative" to "Autism Positive" attitude.
As the good folks here at wrong planet were a big part of that journey I thought I would share. I have put this in the activism section because I think changing parents and other NT's attitudes is perhaps the most important part of activism. All the while autism is viewed as "brain damage" autistic people will always be seen as less than NT's. Also while this attitude persists in mainstream society every parents who finds out their kid is autistic has to go through a painful process and much sadness because in their minds they have just been told something devastating. The sad thing is that this pain is not necessary because it sin't devastating!

https://autisticbean.wordpress.com/2015 ... ight-path/



myohmy075
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29 Apr 2015, 11:34 am

I enjoyed reading your blog post very much. You and I think very much alike, but I do not think it's a popular or respected viewpoint.

I just spent almost 24 hours being attacked on a popular website for advocating for those with autism and autism parents, as I am both, with some of what you have said in your blog post almost word for word. I was told that I "didn't get it", that I was "ignorant", I was a "troll", told to "shut up" because I insinuated that I was successful apparently, called a "psycho", and because they assumed I was high functioning that I really couldn't speak on the subject because I didn't have it as bad as non-verbal autistic folks. These were from NT parents or siblings. All in all, I'm estimating that it was about 50 people in total, it may have been more, that continued to berate me all because I said that autistic folks are capable and life is just different, not impossible.

Your view and my view as a parent of an autistic child are the same, but we are completely in the minority. I would say be prepared to face a war if you try to say these things. Parents apparently want to stick to the idea that their child is "wrong" and it's the worst thing that can happen and they are suffering.

As someone with autism, I say, don't try to tell your point of view as to why autism folks should be viewed as capable. I was so sick last night I couldn't eat and then I didn't sleep much last night. It's not worth the feeling that you are completely incapable of anything, have zero future, and you made your parents life hell as implied to you by an entire mob of people online. And when I said that "I didn't realize before all this how I felt so normal and okay with being me." in the thread, I was called "whiney" and that I was "looking for sympathy". I'm not strong enough to tackle this viewpoint with people, so if you are strong enough, be prepared.



ASPartOfMe
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29 Apr 2015, 1:21 pm

I think it was a well thought out level headed blog and I am glad you wrote it and spent so much time listening to us.


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My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person. - Sara Luterman


Moromillas
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30 Apr 2015, 12:31 am

Completely disagree.

The whole thing sounds like a call for moderation. When we're facing eugenic elimination, by people that think of us as inferior and laugh at the idea of considering us human beings rather than a disease, we're ALREADY on the side of moderation.

It just comes across as, someone that's never had to explain to an arrogant NT, that they're not diseased or inferior, only to get "You don't understand."

With the "angry Aspies" part, it's not a case of going to town on them, and spouting abuse at NTs, that's simply NOT happening, primarily because it's ad hom, and just weakens any argument. We're doing things like; explaining that AS is the person, that you're born as an AS person. It's not a dogpile of abuse as you claim. In fact, it's very rare to ever find yourself explaining these things with another AS person. NTs flip their s**t and double down, and consider us telling them the facts to be controversial. AS people not inferior is considered controversial. Autism Speaks is a hate group is considered controversial. It's not a case of "angry Aspies", very rarely have I "flipped out" at an NT, I can only recall it happening once.

We're already incredibly moderate, we absolutely don't need to become more moderate than we are, also people should be offended by the hate speech, it's not a bad thing to be offended by it. The next step is just ignoring what they say about us, and hoping that it will magically solve itself (that's not going to happen). When NTs are comparing us to cancer or AIDS, you can, and should point out that, it is in fact bigotry, offensive, and inaccurate. There's nothing wrong with stating that, and no, it's not an extremist view.



evilreligion
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30 Apr 2015, 2:57 am

Moromillas wrote:
Completely disagree.

The whole thing sounds like a call for moderation.

The whole thing? Or just the angry aspie bit?
If you are referring to the angry aspie bit (which seems to be the focus below) then you are both correct and incorrect at the same time. I am not calling for any moderation of the message we want to get out BUT I am definitely calling for some moderation in the way that some parts of the autistic community convey that message. The reason that I call for this is because the "angry" language is alienating and will simply drive parents away and they will then get their information from autism speaks.

Quote:
When we're facing eugenic elimination, by people that think of us as inferior and laugh at the idea of considering us human beings rather than a disease, we're ALREADY on the side of moderation.

And again I am not calling for any moderation on the message only they way it is conveyed.

Quote:
It just comes across as, someone that's never had to explain to an arrogant NT, that they're not diseased or inferior, only to get "You don't understand."

That must be very frustrating and I can understand entirely why that would make you angry. I get the anger, really I do, but if you want to change peoples minds that anger need to be curbed. Or at least channeled correctly.

Quote:
With the "angry Aspies" part, it's not a case of going to town on them, and spouting abuse at NTs, that's simply NOT happening,

No it IS happening. It absolutely is I have exprienced it first hand on multiple occassions and seen it happen to other parents on dozens of occassions.

Quote:
primarily because it's ad hom, and just weakens any argument.

Absolutely correct. It not only weakens the argument but it makes that person hostile towards the cause and drives them away to find their information else where..

Quote:
We're doing things like; explaining that AS is the person, that you're born as an AS person.

Yes and this can be done in a civilised manner. When it is done in a civilised manner it is effective. When a person is attacked as a bigot and told they need to "shut the f**k up and listen" as has literally happened to me then 9 times out of 10 that person will react negatively. Fight back and then after a short few rounds of escalating abuse will bugger off to another website to get the information they want.

Now the facts are that most NT's do need to shut the f**k up and listen, but telling someone to "shut the f**k and listen" is the best way to get them to NOT listen to what you have to say. Its just human nature I'm afraid.

Quote:
It's not a dogpile of abuse as you claim.

Well there are certainly many autistic people who have explained things to me without ever resorting to any abusive language. But there are those that have not been so enlightened

Quote:
In fact, it's very rare to ever find yourself explaining these things with another AS person.

Indeed. That makes sense. AS people will be naturally far more inclinded to recieve the autism positive message. But here's the trick, getting the autism positive message to autistic people is not the main objective. It is the NT's that need to get this message.

Quote:
NTs flip their s**t and double down, and consider us telling them the facts to be controversial. AS people not inferior is considered controversial.

To you and me no it is not contraversial. To your average NT it is. This is what needs to be understood. The media have bombarded the NT world with the message that autistic people are "damaged" and "inferior". These are the "facts" as seen by the vast majority of the world. So when you challenge this conventional wisdom you will of course get resistance. Many NT parents will be emotionally invested in the idea that their kids have been damaged. For them this is reality. so they may well double down and flip out. But the question is what do you do when you are faced with that resistance?

You could flip out back and call them a bigot. But then you have lost that person forever.

Instead I would suggest considering where they are coming from as a person. Try and understand why they think the things they do and then work with that knowledge to challenge those assumptions. This is how you change peoples minds. Shouting never works.

Quote:
Autism Speaks is a hate group is considered controversial. It's not a case of "angry Aspies", very rarely have I "flipped out" at an NT, I can only recall it happening once.

Fair enough but as I have said I have seen it happen many times and it sadens me. Not because I feel bad for the parents getting the savaging (they will move on and get over it) but I feel bad for their kids. Every time I see this happen I see it as a missed opportunity to make a real difference to the life of an autistic child. Getting the parents on board with an autism positive message is perhaps the single most important factor in an austic kids life. Without that everything else is harder. So every alienated parent represents an increase in pain and suffering for autistic people.

Quote:
We're already incredibly moderate, we absolutely don't need to become more moderate than we are, also people should be offended by the hate speech, it's not a bad thing to be offended by it.

Sure be offended. But try and understand why people thnink what they do. It is not becasue they are bad people they are simply misinformed. So the "job" of the autism adocacy movement is really one of education. You the autistic people of the world are the teachers and we the NT's are the pupils. What I am trying to do here is to give some advice on how to be a better teacher. The kind of teacher that berates and ridicules their pupils is, I would suggest, not as effective as the one that works with them and tries to understand why they are having difficulty getting a particular concept. Also bare in mind that this education process is not compulsory and the "pupil" can walk out and leave the class any time they like.

Quote:
The next step is just ignoring what they say about us, and hoping that it will magically solve itself (that's not going to happen). When NTs are comparing us to cancer or AIDS, you can, and should point out that, it is in fact bigotry, offensive, and inaccurate. There's nothing wrong with stating that, and no, it's not an extremist view.

Indeed but there are ways and means of doing so. Attack the message but not the messanger. There is a whole world of difference in saying:
"Look I find those views to be offensive and here is why"
Than
"You are a bigot for holding those views and here is why"

One will alienate your audience the other may get the message across and change minds.

Look the facts are that we are in a marketing war. Its a war of ideas. At the moment autism speaks is winning. They are not winning because they have better ideas, they clearly don't. They are not winning because they give better advice to parents about parenting, they clearly don't. Neither are they winning because they are making a difference to autistic people. So why is it that autism speaks has 1.4 million likes on face book but the most popular autism positive group I could find had about 47k?

As a professional marketer I will tell you preciselly why. Autism speaks understands how to communicate with its target audience. It is run by parents for parents and so instinctively gets how to communicate its ideas to other newbie parents. So even with the wrong ideas, the wrong message and piss poor out comes they win the war of ideas. The way the message is presented is just as if not more important than the actual message when it comes to changing peoples minds.

Now I think that the self advocacy movement may have an inbuilt disadvantage. Autistic people, in my experience, tend to be more direct and to the point than NT's. So simply "telling it how its is" should, in the minds of many autistic people, be enough to get the message across. Tell people straight the facts and then if they don't understand they are a bigot or an idiot. Right?

Wrong. Completely wrong. Us NT's are not that logical I'm afraid. This is particularly true when high emotions are involved such as when talking about ones kids. In such situations one needs to really understand where the person is coming from, what strong emotions they may attach to ideas and then slowly introduce them to new ideas. It is a seduction rather than a gang bang. This was why I was so careful to caveat my blog post and be sensitive to parents who still have an autism negative mind set. I do not want to alienate them. I want them to listen to what I have to say and to come back for more. I want them to follow the links I gave and read the books I suggested. My blog post will not change anyone's mind straight away on its own. But it might sow a seed of doubt in their current perceptions. And this seed might grow into a tree of true understanding over time.

Please also understand that I am not telling any autistic person how they should feel about their autism or what they autism is like. I am merely explaining how communicating the ideas to NT parents might be done more effectively. I am qualified to do this because I am an NT parent. I am (or was) the target audience. I am an expupil of autism school who has graduated. I am now giving some feed back on the teaching practices at the school and about how a small minority of teachers are being ineffective.

I know of what I speak.



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30 Apr 2015, 4:21 am

myohmy075 wrote:
I enjoyed reading your blog post very much. You and I think very much alike, but I do not think it's a popular or respected viewpoint.

Thank you. And I agree. Autism Speaks is currently winning this marketing war of ideas.

Quote:
I just spent almost 24 hours being attacked on a popular website for advocating for those with autism and autism parents, as I am both, with some of what you have said in your blog post almost word for word. I was told that I "didn't get it", that I was "ignorant", I was a "troll", told to "shut up" because I insinuated that I was successful apparently, called a "psycho",

People can be dicks at times particularly when they are discussing emotionally sensitive topics. I have been treated this way on some autism advocacy sites for saying what I have said word for word in my blog!

Quote:
and because they assumed I was high functioning that I really couldn't speak on the subject because I didn't have it as bad as non-verbal autistic folks. These were from NT parents or siblings.

Indeed. They sound like people to caught up in their own pain to see another persepctive. The maddening thing is that the autism positive perspective would alleviate their pain and the pain of their kids. Their anger makes them self destructive.

Quote:
All in all, I'm estimating that it was about 50 people in total, it may have been more, that continued to berate me all because I said that autistic folks are capable and life is just different, not impossible.

Your view and my view as a parent of an autistic child are the same, but we are completely in the minority.

In the NT community I would agree

Quote:
I would say be prepared to face a war if you try to say these things.

It is a war. But it is a war of ideas that will be won by compassion rather than anger.

Quote:
Parents apparently want to stick to the idea that their child is "wrong" and it's the worst thing that can happen and they are suffering.

Well its complicated. The very first instinct that parents have is to deny that there is anything wrong. When someone first, rather clumsily, suggested that my son was autistic I went into complete denial for ages. I really didn;t want anything to be wrong with him (remember at this time my perception of autism as that it was terrible). Most parents have a denial phase and then over time they can;t deny reality anymore and they accept the fact that their kid is autistic. Because the parents have been forced to accept something "bad" and "terrible" about the thing they have loved most they go through huge emotional roller coaster. It is almost like a grieving process. Everything you thought about how your life would be needs to be revised. Most parents will suck it up, grieve and then get on with being an autism parent but by the time this has happened they are heavily emotionally invested in the fact that they have a disabled kid. These emotionally charged attitudes can be very hard to break.

Quote:
As someone with autism, I say, don't try to tell your point of view as to why autism folks should be viewed as capable. I was so sick last night I couldn't eat and then I didn't sleep much last night.

I empathise.

Quote:
It's not worth the feeling that you are completely incapable of anything, have zero future, and you made your parents life hell as implied to you by an entire mob of people online.

The mob mentality on line is a very ugly feature of modern life. It exists in pretty much every group I have ever been involved with regardless of the topic. There is something about the aninmity of the internet that seems to allow people to behave like dicks to each other.

But I also have faith in human nature. In general people are good. Most of the problems in the world faced by minority groups are not because there is something wrong with human nature it is because there is something wrong with human education. Education is the key, tollerence, understanding and acceptance will follow naturally if we get people the right information in the right way. But key to that is the way we communicate our ideas. The way the message is presented is often more important that the message itself.



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30 Apr 2015, 4:35 am

I've briefly read your post, and it will take some time to respond to it, as it can easily be considered Shotgun argumentation.

But basically, from what I've read, you've mischaracterized the AS community as verbal abusers when it comes to explaining away the vile stigmas -- It is indeed a mischaracterization. Also you've managed to create an impossible standard for us, that no other minority needs to live up to, and are using that to point the finger at the AS community accusatorily.



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30 Apr 2015, 4:59 am

Moromillas wrote:
I've briefly read your post, and it will take some time to respond to it, as it can easily be considered Shotgun argumentation.

But basically, from what I've read, you've mischaracterized the AS community as verbal abusers when it comes to explaining away the vile stigmas -- It is indeed a mischaracterization. Also you've managed to create an impossible standard for us, that no other minority needs to live up to, and are using that to point the finger at the AS community accusatorily.

Before you do respond please re-read the bits where I clearly and specifically say that these negative actions are by a small minority AND the bits where I quite clearly state that this is a problem that exists in every minority rights movement.
Also please read the bits where I have said that engaging with the AS community is the single most important thing that I and any parent can do.

I have no problem in my my ideas and positions being criticised but please make sure you are critising my actual position rather than an imagined position.

To be cristal clear on this. I have found, in general, the AS community to be welcoming and very willing to educate. BUT a small minority are very destructive to the cause. This is not unique to autism rights by any means. The most prominent example today is feminism. A small minority of angry people have managed to alienate most men and many women from the movement. It is a movement that still has much work to do but this work has been hindered by a small group of biter and angry radical feminists within it.



myohmy075
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30 Apr 2015, 2:55 pm

I kept thinking about your blog post. I understand the knee jerk reaction to the idea of aspies being labeled hostile for lack of a better word, "angry", but I also understand your response. I do not advocate name calling, but sometimes it does get frustrating to the point of saying something that you wish you didn't. That's true of everyone, but we are representatives of our community so we are held to a higher standard.

My question though is how do we get through to NT's? If someone with autism who is also the parent of someone with autism (aspergers) is still told that they "don't get it", how do we even get through?

I just think it's possible they just don't want it any differently. It's not denial, it's almost like Munchhausen by proxy. As long as their children are "sick", "incapable", and "wrong" these parents are useful, have a depth they never had before, and are now inconsolable sufferers. They get credibility, sympathy and attention they crave, and they don't want to give that up.



evilreligion
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01 May 2015, 3:16 am

myohmy075 wrote:
I kept thinking about your blog post. I understand the knee jerk reaction to the idea of aspies being labeled hostile for lack of a better word, "angry", but I also understand your response. I do not advocate name calling, but sometimes it does get frustrating to the point of saying something that you wish you didn't. That's true of everyone, but we are representatives of our community so we are held to a higher standard.

Absolutely spot on. And being held to a higher standard sucks hard sometimes. It isn't fair. But holding that standard is what works in the end. Calm, rational, sympathetic discussion is what changes peoples minds. You never (or very rarely) see sales people, politicians or marketing professional shouting at the people they want to convince of something because they know that this is simply bad salesmanship. As soon as you get hostile or aggressive then you loose the deal!


Quote:
My question though is how do we get through to NT's? If someone with autism who is also the parent of someone with autism (aspergers) is still told that they "don't get it", how do we even get through?

It can be very hard and it takes time. And it can be frustrating. And it will probably never happen then and there in the heat of an on-line discussion. But it might happen weeks or months or even years later. If you plug away making your points in a calm way then some may sink in and contribute over time to a real change in thinking. This is what happened to me. I remember the good conversations and to be frank just dismiss the shouty ones.

Quote:
I just think it's possible they just don't want it any differently. It's not denial, it's almost like Munchhausen by proxy. As long as their children are "sick", "incapable", and "wrong" these parents are useful, have a depth they never had before, and are now inconsolable sufferers. They get credibility, sympathy and attention they crave, and they don't want to give that up.

Well I would say that these types of parents are very rare. There is probably not an aweful lot anyone can do about that via discusion because those people are quite disturbed.

What is more common is that parents become emotionally attached to the idea of their child being "ill". This emotional attachment to ideas is a very common trait in humans and it means people will often cling to their views even in the face of overwhealming evidence to the contrary. One of the most powerful ways to build a strong emotional attachment to ideas is through shared adversity. Every religious cult practices something like this technique. And it is very powerful.

It works something like this. The news ideas of the cult are told to the recruit. The recruit and other cult members will then engage in activities that are unpleasant or hurtful. They share their experiences and discuss them in the context of the cults ideas. This sharing of adversity creates as strong emotional bond between the members of the cult and the ideas of that cult become more and more embedded in the mind of the new recruit. They form a strong emotional attachment not only to the other members who they share these experiences with but also the ideas them selves. These ideas then become immunised from the facts. Have you ever tried to reason with a religious fundamentalist? They are impervious to the facts or reason because their ideas are held for emotional reasons not rational ones.
Ever wondered why the army break down new recruits and make them do horrible things together as a unit? This is why
Ever wondered why Jehovas witnesses and mormons waste their time getting insulted on the door step each weekend? This is why. The target of the "witnessing" is not you in your house it is actually the two people on your door step. Thisn is why they do it in pairs. Normally one more experienced one and one a new recruit. After 100's of people being rude them the sense shared adversity is so string that the ideas of the cult become firmly embbed. This is why I am never rude to JW's.

So what has this got to do with parents of autistic kids? Well they go through a traumatic experience. The very firts reaction most parents have is denial. They refuse to accept the "horrible" truth that their kids have this life long "terrible" condition called autism. Remember this is how the vast majority of NT's still see autism so this is where most parents start out. Reality then does sink in normally with a formal diagnosis and then those parents suffer. They grieve and they are in pain.

Also during this time they are probably doing a lot of things wrong with their kids because they don;t know how to parent autsitic kids. The conventional wisdom on much of parenting really does not apply to my eldest. What works for my neyruotypical youngest does not work for the Bean. This was highlighted only this morning when they were squabbling over some toys. I was pre caffine and so not in the best of moods and I lost it. I shouted took all the toys away and put on my best grumpy daddy voice. My youngest did as he was told under some protest but he complied. The Bean just fought me for the toys. In my pre-coffee state I had forgotten that "big angry daddy voice" is irrelevant to the Bean because he does not register the anger. Anyway the point I am making is that most newbie parents will be doing things wrong and so this will lead to behaviour problems in their kids. This increases the sense of adversity.

So over this time most parents will reach out to others. And most will make contact with other parents on line or in the community. They will be speaking to these parents as they make the transiation from denial to accpeting the fact that they have and autistic child and this ain't going away. As they go through this painful process they will share "war stories" with the other parents about how tough it is parenting an autistic child.

Now if during this process they are recieving sympathy and support from parents with an autism negative view then those ideas will become entrenched in the same way described above for cults and the army. They will develop a very strong emotional attachment to the idea that autism is bad and autism parenting is a really hard terribel thing.

Now unpicking that emotional attachment is very hard. Once its entrenched its tough to remove. Reasoning with these people is very hard. Now it can be done but it takes a long time. What absolutely will not work is getting angry with them. If they have an emotional attachment to an idea then challenging that idea with anger or telling them that they are a bad person for holding that idea will only serve to entrench that idea more deeply. Again this fact is well known but cults the world over. The very worst thing that anyone can do if a family member becomes involve in a religious sult is to start ridiculing the ideas of that cult. It only serves to drive them deeper into that that cult and so it is with people who have a strong emotional attachment to ideas about autism being bad.

What can work over time is sympathising with them. Then showing them calming why you think differently and how that thinking may be of benefit and use to them. Let them know that you have found an autism positive mind set useful because it has allowed you to understand x,y or z about your kids and then that mean you could improve their lives. The job is to present an alternative way of thinking without demanding that they think it OR without judging them for thinking differently. This way the ideas you present may be taken on board and considered. Overtime this may affect a real change.

Also remember that in any on-line discusion hundreds or thousands of people may be watching. The person one is arguing with is not the real audience. So my advice is keep it calm and civil at all times even when dealing with foaming at the mouth anti-vaxers (my personal pet hates). Remember that people may be watching and reading. As soon as you loose it you loose. But that is also true of your opponent. If they start flinging the insults at you then you have won in a way. Most people reading what is going on will have more sympathy with the calmly rationally expressed ideas than with the person flinging the insults. Every time some hater starts accusing me of not getting it or being irrational or being a terrible person or some other insult I smile because I know I have just won. Now I am not suggesting that one deliberatly goad anyone into making insults because most people reading will see through such obvious tactics. Just calming politely wear them down with rational arguments. Take the time to show you understand where they are coming from and that you are disagreeing with their ideas not them. Do this an even if the person you are talking to is not affected the people watching might be.

Now I appreciate that some of this might seem "slippery" or even disingenuous to many autistic people. Many autistic people are very direct and to the point. Its a trait I quite like personally but most NT's are more fragile than me. Most are more emotional creatures. And so effective communication needs to take that into account.



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01 May 2015, 4:14 am

evilreligion wrote:
I've written a piece about my journey from the "Autism Negative" to "Autism Positive" attitude.
As the good folks here at wrong planet were a big part of that journey I thought I would share. I have put this in the activism section because I think changing parents and other NT's attitudes is perhaps the most important part of activism. All the while autism is viewed as "brain damage" autistic people will always be seen as less than NT's. Also while this attitude persists in mainstream society every parents who finds out their kid is autistic has to go through a painful process and much sadness because in their minds they have just been told something devastating. The sad thing is that this pain is not necessary because it sin't devastating!

https://autisticbean.wordpress.com/2015 ... ight-path/


I will read the link a bit later, since I am getting tired and probably cannot focus on a whole blog....but I'd say I do agree its not the devastating, doomful death sentence some parents seem to think it is if they hear their kid has 'autism'. And I think much of the issue is how society as a whole treats autism, I am sure a good majority of us would function better if we had more sort of acceptence/support than ostracism, treatments designed to try and mold us into neurotypicals and things like that. Also more awareness, I severely struggled growing up and may have benefited from some understanding that perhaps my neurology was a bit different than most people and thus I might have some problems they don't have as well as some rather odd traits that aren't so detrimental even if they are odd. But the constant ostracism and bullying sometimes even with teachers in on it or looking the other way(yeah not a good feeling to know you are alone with that and nowhere to turn for any real safety when you're a little kid) I actually receive certainly did not benefit me.

Also though while it is wrong to see autism as brain damage....there are people with brain damage, and they shouldn't be considered less than neurotypicals either, but I am sure you where not meaning to imply that but the wording looks like it could be taken that way just not sure if you where aware.


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01 May 2015, 11:51 am

Questions to evil religion and others.
We have seen extraordinary change in wars of ideas on several different topics the last few years.
1. Gay marriage/Transgender understanding/rights
2. In the case of something bad happening to a suspect particularity black suspects in interactions with police the mainstream has seemingly gone from the black suspect is probably guilty to the police are probably guilty

As for the merits of these changes we have other threads for that. What do these changes mean for the Autistic rights/neurodiversity movement?

A. None: it will succeed and fail on it's own merits/branding
B. Good: Domino effect of sorts, once the mainstream has massively changed it will be easier to get them to change again.
C: Bad: Change fatigue/Backlash - People frustrated by losing the war of ideas on these and other issues will say enough is enough or our movement will just get lost in all the hubub about these other issues.


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evilreligion
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02 May 2015, 9:01 am

ASPartOfMe wrote:
Questions to evil religion and others.
We have seen extraordinary change in wars of ideas on several different topics the last few years.
1. Gay marriage/Transgender understanding/rights
2. In the case of something bad happening to a suspect particularity black suspects in interactions with police the mainstream has seemingly gone from the black suspect is probably guilty to the police are probably guilty

As for the merits of these changes we have other threads for that. What do these changes mean for the Autistic rights/neurodiversity movement?

A. None: it will succeed and fail on it's own merits/branding
B. Good: Domino effect of sorts, once the mainstream has massively changed it will be easier to get them to change again.
C: Bad: Change fatigue/Backlash - People frustrated by losing the war of ideas on these and other issues will say enough is enough or our movement will just get lost in all the hubub about these other issues.

hmmmm good question

I think there is a definite and undeniable trend towards acceptance of all types of difference. This has been going on for the last 200 years or so since the enlightenment and I don't see the general trend abating now. Once we freed ourselves from the dogmatic and authoritarian systems of religion and government of the past this is an inevitable trend. The internet and other improvements in global communication mean that people all over the world now can communicate directly with each other and share ideas. As we all become more familiar with people from different cultures, races, sexualities and other differences that familiarity tends to eliminate prejudices. When people see that we have far more in common with each other than any minor difference it becomes harder and harder to "other" people that are different and hence prejudices naturally tend to fall away.

Now the rate of progress in different areas of prejudice has varied. Gay rights has had a phenomonal success in recent years and even an opitimist like myself has been pleasantly surprised with the rate of change. I'm not saying its "Job done" yet but 20+ years ago when I was a teenager the thought of legal gay marriage being a reality was somewhat of a pipe dream and yet here we are. In my country, the UK, we have legal gay marriage now. The US is getting there and the only reason you are lagging behind is because of the relatively more powerful influence of religion in America but the mommentum is so great that its really not going to be long before gay marriage is universal in the US. This gives me hope, great hope for humanity!

That being said there are still some dangers ahead. I don't think that progress in areas like autism rights will stop but it could slow if these dangers are not addressed. Looking at another area, feminism we can see what some of these dangers might be.. Feminism had great and rapid success from 1900 to about 1980. Most of the major battles were won certainly from a legal and legislative perspective. But since then feminism has, in my opinion, lost its way. Sadlyh we are now seeing a backlash against feminism and many men and women distance themselves from the term. Feminism has become a dirty word in many circles.

The reasons for this are that the feminist conversation has to a great degree be hijacked by a radical wing which are spouting nonsense. In third wave feminism we see mainly a bunch of white, middle class women finding offense at pretty much anything. There is a strong anti male rehetoric and the "problems" they tackle are mainly first world problems of little significance. Sadly this means the real issues still facing women are largely unadressed by modern feminism and instead the focus is on trivialities and in many case completely bogus issues.

Feminism going off track is part of a wider issue of Social Justice Warrior nonsense. Largely this has been fueled by the internet with technology now enabling, for the first time in history, any moron with a compute the ability to reach a wide audience. SJW's have infected almost every aspect of rights movements and their overly PC obsession with taking offence at anyone and everything has created a backlash from normal sensible people. So we see crazy SJW feminists spouting nonsense and then Joe public hears their crazy clap trap and then thinks that all feminism is like this. As such they turn off from the message, distance them selves from the cause and so progress stalls. I mean look at the "issue" on the internet in modern feminism, its computer games. Really? Seriously? Computer games its pathetic. No wonder feminism has become a dirty word.

This whole phenomona over overly PC, easily offended, social justice warrior nonsense could potentially derail any other rights movement, including the autism rights movement. The problem is that as soon as you adopt this holier than thou attitude and start calling everyone who disagrees with you a bigot you immediately start to turn people off from the message. People do not like being preached to and they certainly don't like being told that they are all bigots, sexists, ablists or whatever. If you are alienating the very people you need to change then its never going to work!

If we look at the real success stories like gay rights we can see a consistent, sensible and rational argument throughout. At no time has there really been a signifcant radical element in gay rights telling everyone that they are all nasty hateful bigots. Instead we have had a largely civil debate of ideas over time with good activism focusing on the real issues and the necessary legislative changes. This has changed Joe publics attitudes and the battle is being won. Similarly first and second wave feminism focused on real inequalities and changing legislation rather than prattling on about non issues like sexism in computer games and during that sensible phase it won all of its victories.

So I don't think the public will tire of change but there is always a danger of a backlash movement if the conversation gets to focused on trivialties rather than the actual issues. If actual issues are highlighted then once they understand them the public will mostly be sympathetic. People are, for the most part, good. Human beings don't like it when their fellow humans are treated unfairly so when genuine issues are exposed most people will get on board and support the changes required to redress those inequalities. But if a movement gets hijacked by SJW types going on about how offended they are by this word, or that book, or this computer game or whatever then Joe public will not really get what the problem is and the danger is that they will then reject other calls to address real issues.

Money

One other major concern I have for progress in autism rights is that unlike gay and womens rights some off the changes that need to be made in society will actually cost some cold hard cash. Womens rights and gay rights don't cost anyone anything. They are largely free. Autism rights, on the other hand, will cost money. Specifically the changes that need to be made to the education system that will allow autistic people to access their right to an education effectively are going to be expensive. At the moment public education is largely homogenous and teaches all kids the same way. Teaching neurodiverse pupils properly will require differentiated teaching methods and this will cost. So, unlike ay and womens rights, there will be a cost associated with this change.

Now I think a compelling argument can be made that this cost is actually an investment that will reap rewards in the future. Getting that 15% full time work figure for autistic adults to a much higher rate will increase productivity and tax revenues over time. There will be a return on the investment in improving education and working environments for the neurodiverse but that is a long term project that will need an investment up front before the rewards can be reaped. With the typical political life cycle of a government being 4-5 years the decades of investment needed may be problematic as gathering the political will to make those investments may be hard. But this is the type of conversation we all need to be having now. This is what we need to be pressuring our respective governments to do now.

So I guess what I am saying is lets learn from the suceses and failures of other movements. I think the tide is with us but how well we ride that tide will depend very much on how we communicate with the public. The change will happen in time but the way we approach it now will make the difference between it being 10 years, 20 years or 50 years. Let aim for 10!



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02 May 2015, 10:27 am

Evil Religion, I really liked your blog post.

myohmy075 wrote:
My question though is how do we get through to NT's? If someone with autism who is also the parent of someone with autism (aspergers) is still told that they "don't get it", how do we even get through? 

Probably the best thing you could do, is stop saying stuff like this:
Quote:
I just think it's possible they just don't want it any differently. It's not denial, it's almost like Munchhausen by proxy. As long as their children are "sick", "incapable", and "wrong" these parents are useful, have a depth they never had before, and are now inconsolable sufferers. They get credibility, sympathy and attention they crave, and they don't want to give that up.


There may be some parents who have Munchhausen by proxy, but I think they are pretty few and far between. This is the exact mentality that got me away from the neurodiversity movement, and the sad thing is, I was already on their side…until I talked to them and they convinced me that I shouldn't be on their side (as soon as you start losing people's support, that should be a hint that you're doing something wrong). They held an event which was supposed to draw in supporters, so we went, and first, I was told that my son is mentally retarded not autistic (the evidence does not support that claim), then came the insults about my mothering abilities, etc..

I think you should base your argument on why people should listen to you, not why people are idiots for listening to someone else. Your argument should be primarily about the MERITS of YOUR MOVEMENT. Why should I vote for you, NOT why shouldn't I vote for them. Offering something like, "We will accept your child and they will be comfortable here so their anxiety will go down and they will behave better and you can relax" will win over a lot of parents. On the other hand, "You went to an Autism Speaks Walk? No wonder your kid's mentally retarded! This is your fault, and you probably enjoy having a f****d up kid! You support genocide! YOU'RE BASICALLY HITLER!" is not.

You may think that all of those things in the "what not to say" example are true. And they may be. But if you have someone who took the time to come speak to you, it means they value your input. The best thing you can do is offer them something (acceptance of their child, for instance) and show them how right you are, by demonstrating it. Show them why you are better than the opposition by actually being better.

I still support neurodiversity in principle, but the way it's being executed (at least where we live) is AWFUL.


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02 May 2015, 11:46 am

While I think "angry aspies"/branding is a legitimate issue, the much greater issues revolve around internalization of ableism/mainstream beliefs. I have seen many posts not only with the normalization is good, I am "wrong" view but even people who have nuerodiverse beliefs having moments doubting their diagnosis, wondering if their Aspie/Autistic identity is just a result of them fooling themselves or using it as an excuse.


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My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person. - Sara Luterman


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02 May 2015, 1:03 pm

evilreligion wrote:
The whole thing? Or just the angry aspie bit?

Both, as it sounds like a call for moderation, and a misrepresentation of what's going on.



evilreligion wrote:
I am not calling for any moderation of the message we want to get out BUT I am definitely calling for some moderation in the way that some parts of the autistic community convey that message.

No ["angry Aspies"] IS happening. It absolutely is I have exprienced it first hand on multiple occassions and seen it happen to other parents on dozens of occassions.

No, the AS community, is actually quite the opposite to how you're describing them here. AS people are actually quite timid, and don't at all like to even get into a confrontation. Mainly because of the experience that my-my pointed out is quite common. It's incredibly rare to have an AS person, even object to being dehumanised, most will be silent about it.

I've even had situations where, people in my crew have started to explain something, only to stop and go "Oh, and Moro knows the rest."

If you dare to be thought of as anything other than inferior, and even slightly suggest so, people jump straight on that, with a vengeance, and treat you absolutely horribly. That's why many do not speak out about the dehumanization, etc.

Calling for some sort of moderation, is the most ridiculous nonsense I've seen in a while, and I've seen a lot of nonsense. AS people are incredibly moderate, incredibly timid, to the point where we say nothing, and THAT, is the part that's heartbreaking. What we need is the exact opposite of more moderation.

Especially so if the person is being nice to you but saying horrid things, even I have quite a difficult time just talking on the subject to someone that's ignorant but not willfully so, this "angry Aspies" business is simply a complete myth.

Even if AS people fail miserably, and say something stupid like "Oh, you're just a dumb s**t head." That should absolutely be applauded, because that's someone that AT LEAST is making an attempt to counter the spread of the vile stigmas, rather than just sitting on the side lines, as it were. What we don't need, is for that attempt to then be berated as alienating people, it's very counter-productive. That's not going to get people to stand up for themselves and counter the vile stigmas, they're just going to become even further terrified of reprisal and hateful vitriol.

There shouldn't be an expectation of perfect flowery language, with pure Vulcan temperament. It's such a grandiose expectation that's simply not in the realm of realistic, and arguably, not an accurate human representation.

What we need, is to get people used to the idea of saying "f**k you" to people that speak horribly to them. And, also, to get over the idea that saying "f**k you" to them, makes them an awful/hateful person, or something of an "angry Aspie" as you put it. It doesn't, it's quite a normal, and very human reaction to someone that's being incredibly arrogant, willfully ignorant, belligerent and treating you absolute s**t, and there shouldn't be an obligation at that point, to respond to them with such flowery language.

What we don't need, is for AS people to simply say nothing, to just shut up and bow their heads. Tolerance of intolerance, is cowardice. It would be one hell of a breakthrough if all the AS people being silent, were finally able to tell one of these people "f**k you", and that's a good thing.



evilreligion wrote:
if you want to change peoples minds that anger need to be curbed. Or at least channeled correctly.

The reason that I call for this is because the "angry" language is alienating and will simply drive parents away and they will then get their information from autism speaks.

It not only weakens the argument but it makes that person hostile towards the cause and drives them away to find their information else where..

When a person is attacked as a bigot and told they need to "shut the f**k up and listen" as has literally happened to me then 9 times out of 10 that person will react negatively. Fight back and then after a short few rounds of escalating abuse will bugger off to another website to get the information they want.

It is the NT's that need to get this message.

You could flip out back and call them a bigot. But then you have lost that person forever.

Instead I would suggest considering where they are coming from as a person. Try and understand why they think the things they do and then work with that knowledge to challenge those assumptions. This is how you change peoples minds. Shouting never works.

But try and understand why people thnink what they do. It is not becasue they are bad people they are simply misinformed. So the "job" of the autism adocacy movement is really one of education. You the autistic people of the world are the teachers and we the NT's are the pupils. What I am trying to do here is to give some advice on how to be a better teacher. The kind of teacher that berates and ridicules their pupils is, I would suggest, not as effective as the one that works with them and tries to understand why they are having difficulty getting a particular concept. Also bare in mind that this education process is not compulsory and the "pupil" can walk out and leave the class any time they like.

You seem to be focused on some sort of outreach for curebies where you try to change their minds, that's never going to happen, and I have to ask why you would want to go in that direction?

If someone changes their mind or "evolves their position" as Obama would put it, sure I've no problem with that. But I simply would not be comfortable being in the same room with one of them, let alone being expected to, or have to gently explain that we're not inferior to them, no way, no how. No, I don't want to hang around them. You can, but I'm not. We don't need some sort of outreach initiative for people that do have those desires, I don't see how that's going to work when they can so easily just ignore it. What we need, first and foremost, is some standard of protection against these people, or at the very least, some form of investigation.

And really, why would we want people like that on our side? It's like you said, assumptions. They have something they don't understand completely, a blank spot in their knowledge database so to speak. They then make an assumption, then because something is wrong with them mentally, they use fallacy to conclude that the assumption is factual, essentially filling in the blanks with rubbish. So in reality, it's not as simple as changing their minds on the one issue, but more a significant problem that they have, that's potentially volatile, even dangerous. So why would we want people like that hanging about the AS community?

This business of reaching out to them, and gently trying to change their minds, it's an incredibly unrealistic expectation, that no other minority group is expected to conform to.

Yes we do need a way to educate people to not be prejudiced and discriminatory towards AS people, particularly in the workplace, but trying to change the minds of the most bigoted and the most hateful, with such pure language and kind persuasions is simply not going to work.

It's not a situation where they come to us, asking for firsthand experience and information, but rather, they think they have all the answers, and want to spread the vile stigmas around. That's why it's so important to speak out against it, to stop the spread of the vile stigmas. Studies have shown, for example, that even if the content of an article is entirely factual, people will end up believing the top commenter that seems the most credible, that has the most likes for instance. That's why it's so important to refute the nonsense, not try and win people over, but to debunk the BS. I don't care about changing their minds and "winning people over", sure it's nice when someone does get it from time to time, but stopping the spread of the vile stigmas is far greater than having people like you. That's why we need more people fighting and battling for acceptance, not less.



evilreligion wrote:
Getting the parents on board with an autism positive message is perhaps the single most important factor in an austic kids life. Without that everything else is harder. So every alienated parent represents an increase in pain and suffering for autistic people.

I'm sorry to be the one to tell you this: But, what you're talking about, is extremely naive, and not at all possible. I myself come from an abusive household, as many Aspergian have, obviously, and it's not a case of explaining it properly and politely then all the problems go away. And I feel sorry for people that do stick it out through the abuse, and constantly try to remove the stigma within their own family. And before you say it, no it's not the method, or Aspergians angrily explaining things, that's not the problem here, some people simply don't have the capacity to understand. For some, we just have to wait until they die out. It's unfortunate, but the best option available in order to escape the abusive/toxic environment, is to sever ties, even if they're family.



evilreligion wrote:
One will alienate your audience the other may get the message across and change minds.

They've already alienated themselves from the community, it's not any particular thing that the AS community has done to make them full of hate.



evilreligion wrote:
As a professional marketer I will tell you preciselly why. Autism speaks understands how to communicate with its target audience. It is run by parents for parents and so instinctively gets how to communicate its ideas to other newbie parents. So even with the wrong ideas, the wrong message and piss poor out comes they win the war of ideas. The way the message is presented is just as if not more important than the actual message when it comes to changing peoples minds.

Now I think that the self advocacy movement may have an inbuilt disadvantage. Autistic people, in my experience, tend to be more direct and to the point than NT's. So simply "telling it how its is" should, in the minds of many autistic people, be enough to get the message across. Tell people straight the facts and then if they don't understand they are a bigot or an idiot. Right?

You seem to have the notion that we're heavily dehumanised, because a few bad AS apples are messing it all up, and if we just stop shouting and being angry everything will be fine. That's not the case. The blame is entirely on groups like Speaks.

It has nothing to do with poor communication, but everything to do with numbers and credibility. The reasons everyone compares me to cancer and AIDS, isn't because some Aspergian yelled them away and they got the wrong information, but because of the spread and prevalence of the vile stigmas. Lets say the for arguments sake, that every single AS person, has immaculate communication skills, what changes? Nothing, that's what changes. Speaks and friends will still be there to happily dehumanise.

It's not a case where they come for the information and get put off by "angry Aspergians". You explain something to them, very politely and they tell you they already understand, and that the AS community is just terribly misinformed. So before the conversation has even started, the problem is not with the AS person, but the spread of the vile stigmas. And 10 times out of 10, they tell you have no idea what you're talking about, do a google search and link whatever bias confirmation they can find, and confidently tell you that the reason you don't understand is because of your Asperger's, or because your intellectually disabled, or because you "have" a disorder, or because you've lost your marbles. Nothing to do with being angry, but a credibility issue, where they see us as inferior, and thus lacking credibility to hold any kind of understanding on the subject.

Yes there are people that "get it wrong", but aren't doing it in a malicious way, or it's unintentional. There aren't people that berate and harangue them with all sorts of vitriol, it's just not happening. As I've mentioned AS people don't want to get into arguments. Well, except for me, perhaps.

No, you never say "this person is a bigot" that's ad hom autofail. But making note that what they just said is indeed bigoted and hateful speech, is a valid way to refute the vile stigmas. If someone is being as belligerent and arrogant as possible, that works in my favor, I can point to that to refute their attack. These people, they're not interested in knowledge, or hearing what others have to say, they want to be "right" and continue to spread of the vile stigmas. I really don't care to have these people on board and happily knocking about the AS community, I care about stopping the vile stigmas and gaining true equality and peerage. There's nothing wrong with pointing out the horrid bigotry, in order to refute and stem the progress of the vile stigmas.



evilreligion wrote:
To be cristal clear on this. I have found, in general, the AS community to be welcoming and very willing to educate. BUT a small minority are very destructive to the cause. This is not unique to autism rights by any means. The most prominent example today is feminism. A small minority of angry people have managed to alienate most men and many women from the movement. It is a movement that still has much work to do but this work has been hindered by a small group of biter and angry radical feminists within it.

This isn't really an accurate comparison. Within feminism, you have people going around accusing every man and his dog of rape, people protesting for extra judicial justice, and spreading the idea that we live in a "rape culture". Then there's the accusations of misogyny over things like what sort of t-shirts you wear, and also constantly trying to vet and veto entertainment like video games, because it will, apparently, turn people into misogynists (no citation yet). Point being, that in the western world, feminism already won, and people generally treat women fairly, so feminism isn't needed anymore. So that's why current renditions look absolutely appalling. We on the other hand, aren't going around and accusing people of rape, or other crimes. We don't want to ban things like GTA, or control what clothes people wear. We just want parity and peerage, and to be considered valued human beings, not some genetic mistake that needs to be eliminated, I don't think that's a big ask.