Responding gracefully to constructive criticism

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Mona Pereth
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07 May 2021, 5:24 pm

BeaArthur wrote:
I do have a bit of constructive criticism for you though, Mona. You very frequently have a well conceived, thoughtfully laid out teaching or didactic piece to offer us poor unfortunate aspies.

Ugh! It sounds like I've been coming across to you as condescending. I'm sorry if I come across that way, which is certainly not my intent. I'm not sure how best to fix that, if indeed that's how I'm perceived. This is something I'll need to think about, I guess.

BeaArthur wrote:
I'm not sure how many people follow you into another thread, or go to your blog or website with all the fixes. The fact is, all this just rubs me the wrong way. I wouldn't be surprised if it affects other people similarly. I have not accepted you as a professional whom I want to follow,

I'm not a professional and I don't claim to be one. Rather, I am a fervent advocate of building the autistic community. (Here I mean "community" in the sense of organized subculture, analogous to the LGBTQ+ community and to various disability communities, e.g. the blind and deaf communities, that are much better-organized than the autistic community.)

Based on my knowledge of the history of various social movements, I believe that building a much bigger and better-organized autistic community is a necessary step toward a more autistic-friendly world. Advocacy groups like ASAN have an essential role too, but they are nowhere nearly enough.

For a list of some of the many kinds of groups I think we need, see Longterm visions for the autistic community.

In order for the community to be built, some of us have to self-train in leadership skills. To that end, I've founded the Autistic Peer Leadership Group, whose meetings have rotating leadership, to give all of us chances to practice leading the group. There are no professionals involved in leading that group, but it is my hope that we can, together, develop an effective self-training program, using already-existing tutorials on leadership skills.

Besides our autistic peer support / self-help group and the Autistic Peer Leadership Group itself, the groups we intend to create include career-oriented groups, pertaining to specific categories of professions / occupations / jobs, and hobby-oriented social groups revolving around specific hobbies. So far we've created one group of each of these two kinds, plus two groups for discussion of societal/political matters.

BeaArthur wrote:
I come here partly for support and partly for the occasional perspective I may have not experienced on my own - not a reading list or a complete curriculum on reforming myself.

My website does not contain a "complete curriculum on reforming" oneself. On the contrary, in the more autistic-friendly world I hope to help build, some of the ways in which autistic people are currently pressured to "reform ourselves" would no longer be necessary. For example, we would no longer be expected to imitate NT body language.

However, even in the most autistic-friendly possible world, there are some social skills we would still need. I call these the "autistic-friendly social skills," as distinct from blending in with NT's. These same skills are also essential to the community-building project, which is why my website has pages about them, and is also why the topic-oriented meetings of my autistic peer-led self-help/support group tend to focus on this particular set of skills.

Incidentally, I should also say that I'm a big believer in self-help groups. I've known a bunch of people who have been involved in, and who swear by, various 12-Step programs, which are "forever nonprofessional." My peer-led self-help/support group is not a 12-Step program, but it is my hope that we can eventually develop a self-help program of our own that can be replicated by other groups.

I do believe that professional psychotherapy is valuable too (I'm seeing a therapist too), but I think it's best to avoid leaning too heavily on our therapists. I think a combination of professional psychotherapy and a non-professional peer-led support/self-help group would probably be best for many of us.

As for my website, I aim eventually to make it a comprehensive resource site for autistic adults in the NYC area, including lists of local autism-aware psychotherapists, social workers, professional-led groups, and other assorted services of various kinds, as well as autistic peer-led groups, including both the groups led or facilitated by members of the Autistic Peer Leadership Group and other autistic peer-led groups as well.

Thank you for your feedback. I hope I've clarified my aims and motives.


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- Autistic in NYC - Resources and new ideas for the autistic adult community in the New York City metro area.
- Autistic peer-led groups (via text-based chat, currently) led or facilitated by members of the Autistic Peer Leadership Group.
- Longterm visions for the autistic community


BeaArthur
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07 May 2021, 9:14 pm

Well, you would have, but I stopped reading at your first hyperlink to more of your wisdom. You obviously don't "get" me, and I don't "get" you. But carry on, build a community out of people who don't do well in groups, one day you'll be famous.


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Mona Pereth
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08 May 2021, 1:15 am

Actually the first hyperlink wasn't to anything of mine, be it wisdom or foolishness, but to the website of ASAN (the Autistic Self Advocacy Network), which I am not personally involved with.

The remaining hyperlinks went to details and examples of the kinds of things I'm currently involved in and/or that I aim to accomplish.

So you didn't need to click on the links to get the gist of what I was saying. They were there for the sake of those readers who would be interested in the details.


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- Autistic in NYC - Resources and new ideas for the autistic adult community in the New York City metro area.
- Autistic peer-led groups (via text-based chat, currently) led or facilitated by members of the Autistic Peer Leadership Group.
- Longterm visions for the autistic community


Mona Pereth
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Joined: 11 Sep 2018
Age: 62
Gender: Female
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Location: New York City (Queens)

08 May 2021, 2:31 pm

BeaArthur wrote:
But carry on, build a community out of people who don't do well in groups, one day you'll be famous.

Groups of autistic people already exist. That, in and of itself, is nothing new. For example, most major cities already have at least one autistic/Aspie peer-led support group.

There are also some larger, more complex organizations of autistic people, such as ASAN. There are even a few autistic-led organizations that manage to hold annual conferences, which are both socially and logistically much more challenging to organize than the smaller, simpler kinds of groups I've been building.

I doubt that very many of even the best leaders among us can handle the politics of a large organization. But I hope networks of smaller groups, centered around leadership self-training groups, will be feasible for more of us.


_________________
- Autistic in NYC - Resources and new ideas for the autistic adult community in the New York City metro area.
- Autistic peer-led groups (via text-based chat, currently) led or facilitated by members of the Autistic Peer Leadership Group.
- Longterm visions for the autistic community