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Callista
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16 Feb 2010, 3:57 pm

subliculous wrote:
Callista wrote:
The "s/he will never..." reasoning is very defeatist, and often incorrect. What about, "Can s/he be happy?" This is a question that can always be answered with a yes, regardless of ability; and really, isn't this what truly matters? If you can have a life that you enjoy, that you spend doing things that are interesting and rewarding, does it matter whether you can do everything all the other kids can do?


not to NTs, because it seems most of their world consists of doing what they're "supposed" to do, not what they really want to do. people want others to conform and be as miserable as they force themselves to be.
So, they need to change that. Anyway, it's not every NT who's just focused on what they're supposed to do. Some are still into the pursuit-of-happiness thing, especially the ones who haven't gotten cynical.


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ursaminor
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16 Feb 2010, 4:27 pm

Callista, you have worded nicely what I thought when I read the first post.
It is funny to see the pattern in what is said those people will never be able to do (have relationships, get married, have children etc.) and it seems to fit in the conformity script some NTs may have programmed into their operating system.
I keep thinking: "Is s/he happy?" The things he did would probably make me happy, but no one is me except for myself, so I cannot know.
I got a bit annoyed when the parents were bothering him with stories and I could not understand why they did that, but I am a child and I do not understand their minds or the mind of any parent.
The opinions expressed in this post are mine and mine alone and they are but opinions and theories.



Janissy
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16 Feb 2010, 6:45 pm

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Over a year ago while waiting for my next gifted class to arrive, I began browsing through some of the online educational videos our school subscribes to. I found one that offered a look into the lives of four children with what was called "childhood behaviorial" issues. I watched the ADHD boy as a psychiatrist analyzed him fighting his way through homework, a girl with an "attachment to home" issue that made her fear leaving her home, a boy with Conduct Disorder who had stolen cars when he was in grade school, and an autistic boy. The autistic boy---clearly Kanner's Autism---oh sorry, that label is gone now, let's say severe autism. You know the type---worthless---no hope---no future---stupid (Hey!, that's not my opinion, that's the world's opinion). He was in his teens and had never spoken a word. All he did was jump up and down on the couch, grab for his mother, flap his hands often, and move his head so much that you would swear it would fall off. He was gone---you know "not at home" so to speak. That brain must be empty of anything worthwhile (again, not my opinion, but the world's opinion). He was so far gone he couldn't even read. Put a book in front of him and its thrown across the room. Try to read to him, and he wasn't even listening---you know, nothing going on in that brain. What a nightmare.

One day, his mother happened to have her computer keyboard on the couch where he was sitting and hopping around. He grabbed the keyboard and began typing. His mother expected to look at the monitor and see something like " hwelktn hgv;ketjo hgljg ke," but instead, you know what she saw? Intelligible typing---accurately spelled and in complete sentences. He talked to his mother for the first time---by a keyboard. When no one thought there was any learning going on in him, he had understood language for many years. But he had not been given the opportunity to talk in a way that he could talk. One must imagine what conversations had gone on around him all these years when no one thought he understood. He probably heard some terrible insulting type of comments about his severe mental state. Had it not been for the incident with the keyboard, where would he be now? But now his future is changed because of adaptation. He isn't worthless, he has hope, he has a future, he isn't stupid---in fact he is quite smart. He just needed a way to be understood by the world in a diverse way---a different way.

There are many stories similar to this one. It is far from unique. The reality is the world fails to understand what is considered different than the norm. Anything different is considered defective. But what is the norm? In our human world it is the largest group of human beings as distinguished by psychological type. And strangely, this group we call the "norm" is not as big a percentage as we think. In fact, at least one in three people on this earth has a mental condition that can be diagnosed as a disorder. Within that multitude of disorders we find autism, one of the most mysterious and least understood of the conditions. With a prevalence of approximately one in a hundred (there are of course varying estimates here), the autism spectrum should be more understood than it is. But who cares? Well I care, and you should care, but does the world care?

.


Although this story is framed as being illustrative of the importance of acceptance of people as they are, I'm getting something different from it. What changed things for this man wasn't acceptance...it was communication. If his parents had accepted him totally he wouldn't have had to grow up hearing defeatist things about him, but he would still be just as trapped and limited. Supposed he was accepted unconditionally by his family and they never said anything bad about him but also didn't give him a keyboard? He'd be just as trapped and frustrated as he was before, though he'd be spared hearing negative things. I think acceptance is important but too much acceptance can trap a person. If they had accepted him fully as a non-communicative person and weren't upset by that, he'd still be horribly frustrated because he had so much to say. I realize the keyboard revelation was an accident, but if there was complete acceptance of the "fact" (incorrect observation) that a person had no ability to communicate, keyboards might never make their way into non-verbal peoples' hands.

I think the most important thing...even beyond acceptance....is communication. I think there is an enormous amount of frustration that builds up in a person who can't communicate through usual channels and if the people around them just accept this lack of communication as an acceptable difference, the person just gets more and more frustrated. I think it is of untmost importance to not accept that people can't communicate and explore every possible avenue of communication. This changed everything for this man. It changed everything pretty famously for Helen Keller too. I think finding a way for people to communicate is more important than simply accepting them.



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16 Feb 2010, 7:08 pm

Janissy wrote:
glider18 wrote:
Over a year ago while waiting for my next gifted class to arrive, I began browsing through some of the online educational videos our school subscribes to. I found one that offered a look into the lives of four children with what was called "childhood behaviorial" issues. I watched the ADHD boy as a psychiatrist analyzed him fighting his way through homework, a girl with an "attachment to home" issue that made her fear leaving her home, a boy with Conduct Disorder who had stolen cars when he was in grade school, and an autistic boy. The autistic boy---clearly Kanner's Autism---oh sorry, that label is gone now, let's say severe autism. You know the type---worthless---no hope---no future---stupid (Hey!, that's not my opinion, that's the world's opinion). He was in his teens and had never spoken a word. All he did was jump up and down on the couch, grab for his mother, flap his hands often, and move his head so much that you would swear it would fall off. He was gone---you know "not at home" so to speak. That brain must be empty of anything worthwhile (again, not my opinion, but the world's opinion). He was so far gone he couldn't even read. Put a book in front of him and its thrown across the room. Try to read to him, and he wasn't even listening---you know, nothing going on in that brain. What a nightmare.

One day, his mother happened to have her computer keyboard on the couch where he was sitting and hopping around. He grabbed the keyboard and began typing. His mother expected to look at the monitor and see something like " hwelktn hgv;ketjo hgljg ke," but instead, you know what she saw? Intelligible typing---accurately spelled and in complete sentences. He talked to his mother for the first time---by a keyboard. When no one thought there was any learning going on in him, he had understood language for many years. But he had not been given the opportunity to talk in a way that he could talk. One must imagine what conversations had gone on around him all these years when no one thought he understood. He probably heard some terrible insulting type of comments about his severe mental state. Had it not been for the incident with the keyboard, where would he be now? But now his future is changed because of adaptation. He isn't worthless, he has hope, he has a future, he isn't stupid---in fact he is quite smart. He just needed a way to be understood by the world in a diverse way---a different way.

There are many stories similar to this one. It is far from unique. The reality is the world fails to understand what is considered different than the norm. Anything different is considered defective. But what is the norm? In our human world it is the largest group of human beings as distinguished by psychological type. And strangely, this group we call the "norm" is not as big a percentage as we think. In fact, at least one in three people on this earth has a mental condition that can be diagnosed as a disorder. Within that multitude of disorders we find autism, one of the most mysterious and least understood of the conditions. With a prevalence of approximately one in a hundred (there are of course varying estimates here), the autism spectrum should be more understood than it is. But who cares? Well I care, and you should care, but does the world care?

.


Although this story is framed as being illustrative of the importance of acceptance of people as they are, I'm getting something different from it. What changed things for this man wasn't acceptance...it was communication. If his parents had accepted him totally he wouldn't have had to grow up hearing defeatist things about him, but he would still be just as trapped and limited. Supposed he was accepted unconditionally by his family and they never said anything bad about him but also didn't give him a keyboard? He'd be just as trapped and frustrated as he was before, though he'd be spared hearing negative things. I think acceptance is important but too much acceptance can trap a person. If they had accepted him fully as a non-communicative person and weren't upset by that, he'd still be horribly frustrated because he had so much to say. I realize the keyboard revelation was an accident, but if there was complete acceptance of the "fact" (incorrect observation) that a person had no ability to communicate, keyboards might never make their way into non-verbal peoples' hands.

I think the most important thing...even beyond acceptance....is communication. I think there is an enormous amount of frustration that builds up in a person who can't communicate through usual channels and if the people around them just accept this lack of communication as an acceptable difference, the person just gets more and more frustrated. I think it is of untmost importance to not accept that people can't communicate and explore every possible avenue of communication. This changed everything for this man. It changed everything pretty famously for Helen Keller too. I think finding a way for people to communicate is more important than simply accepting them.


Relevant revelation topic

The leitmotif of communication was also apparent in the biography of Temple Grandin just broadcast on HBO. Excellent analysis, Janissy.


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16 Feb 2010, 7:14 pm

Very good insight into this Janissy, thank you for taking the time to carefully look at this story and analyze it. That definitely gives a much different perspective of it---communication versus acceptance. One of things I love about the WrongPlanet is that I am always being shown different ways of looking at things I see in the world.


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16 Feb 2010, 7:17 pm

Communication and understanding it variations and its dynamism etc - not just between the illusory ASD/NT dichotomy, but amongst all human beings, is one of THE MOST IMPORTANT things we can keep at the forefront of our minds.

One of the best things I have ever learned as an ASD person, is the reality of the dynamic and fluctuating state of meanings, semantics, communications and exchanges. If I at least try to be aware of this, it helps me to travel a bit more smoothly through the world. It does not mean i have to abandon my ASD perspective. It means I can stop requiring or demanding others to HAVE TO adhere to my take on things, which may be more fixed, more literal and more detail oriented.



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16 Feb 2010, 8:35 pm

That is great thinking Millie---communication and understanding sounds like a necessity of the human race---diversity. I am challenged when it comes to the meanings, semantics, communications, and exchanges you mention. Some of my therapy touched upon this, and it is difficult for me. I have tried to relax on expecting people to adhere to my way of thinking---especially after my diagnosis of AS. The world just needs to be more tolerant of its diversity.


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16 Feb 2010, 11:10 pm

Yeah. If you can't communicate what you want, how can you make decisions for yourself? Communication should be the #1 priority for the education of every autistic child. It doesn't have to be speech; and in fact, I think the refusal to consider alternative communication can be one of the worst things you can do to a non-verbal child. Assuming the child cannot communicate and cannot learn to communicate is just a total betrayal. No parent or teacher has any business assuming that he cannot learn to read, or cannot learn to use a communication device; or assuming that if he doesn't learn to speak it's no good teaching him to do anything else.

I do not think that acceptance is complete without trying to teach communication. If you have a kid who you know is probably not going to be able to be independent, it's awfully easy to infantilize him and make all his decisions for him. If you don't recognize that a person has a mind, and you don't want to hear what's in that mind, then you're not even approaching acceptance. Part of respecting your child as a person instead of some extension of yourself is to ensure that he learns as much autonomy as he can possibly learn--and for that, communication is essential. Autistic people who do not communicate do not exist. Even when words are not possible, a person's behavior can show what they are thinking. If you don't listen to that, then you're not accepting them for who they are.


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17 Feb 2010, 12:45 am

Acceptance, tolerance, wellbeing generated by the prevalence of such attitudes and consequent behaviours .........that is everybodies birthright and one to be openly claimed.

Always it seems some humans will find a way to discriminate against another. Funny that this be so... where is the progressiveness in human evolution ( assuming 'progressive ' means enlightened by the evidence)?

Why did the boy's/man's parents take so long to let him 'communicate'?

I agree with all others here re: the bilogical and adaptive value to our species to be embracing differences..as long as no-one's intent is to harm self/others/ things or other life forms.

And I have never seen myself as disabled....dumbfounded by others ignorance (and my arrogance!) but never disempowered by being me.

B. :)



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17 Feb 2010, 12:59 am

glider18 wrote:
That is great thinking Millie---communication and understanding sounds like a necessity of the human race---diversity. I am challenged when it comes to the meanings, semantics, communications, and exchanges you mention. Some of my therapy touched upon this, and it is difficult for me. I have tried to relax on expecting people to adhere to my way of thinking---especially after my diagnosis of AS. The world just needs to be more tolerant of its diversity.


it is very true. I struggle as you do, Glider. BUt I am better than I was when younger, and I am better than 15 years ago.
it is interesting to watch how my sister is interacting with her autistic son. She is following a program in the home based on a few of Gutstein's ideas, and it centres around the reduction of the verbal from the parent, and more slowing down and more silence and peace - thus giving her son the peace and the quiet and the context in which to communicate more effectively.
One of the views is that this approach slows everything down so that our brains (which struggle with the multi-tasking of human communication - words, facial expression, body language etc.) can just focus on the unspoken forms of the communication and begin to understand and absorb them, learn them and use them.
My nephew - who is verbal - might come in and start talking about his latest special interest of and he might ask for an outfit to put on to help him do some miming (which he does a lot.) Rather than use the verbal, she will use body language and facial expression slowly, and this is how he is learning more about some effective communication strategies beyond the verbal realm. She will NOT use words, which is what he relies on mostly, as so many of us do who are able to speak but struggle with the non-verbal forms of communication in day to day interactions.

Others who cannot speak require other strategies.
But it is all about hearing and listening and finding the appropriate ways to hear and receive the communications of someone on the spectrum - wherever they may reside.

and in saying that, also want to learn more about how I can be respecting of others in this regard too.



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17 Feb 2010, 5:02 am

Who are we to pass judgement on the Human Race?



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17 Feb 2010, 7:42 am

Bonny wrote:
Why did the boy's/man's parents take so long to let him 'communicate'?


If my memory serves correctly, (the video is on our server at the school where I teach---and we are still out of school for snow---so I will check when I get back) the video was done around 1994. It was considered that he was incapable of understanding most things. So basically, due to his severe autism, people around him thought he was not even comprehending words. So no thought about him communicating was even considered. It was by accident that he got ahold of the keyboard. It was at the sofa where he was, and he took it and began typing. The family was shocked. I will find out what he typed, I can't remember right now. I will give better details when we get back to school---which looks to be tomorrow.

By the way---great comments everyone. I have enjoyed reading the posts.


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18 Feb 2010, 3:51 pm

Rakshasa72 wrote:
Who are we to pass judgement[sic] on the Human Race?


Well... we're members. I don't think there is any better qualification.

In the interim, allow me to pass judgment on your spelling :)


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18 Feb 2010, 5:47 pm

No we're not, we're Homo Aspergian, much better than humanity.

For those of you who can't comprehend humour, that was a joke, made at the expense of Aspie supremascists (spelling?).

Communication is of the utmost importance. Without it, people are unable to make the decisions which affect their lives. Orson Scott Card had 2 different types of alien beings - the ones that you can communicate with, and thus make peace, and the ones that you can't, and thus aqre doomed to be at war with. Until someone can communicate, all effort beyond the basics should be directed towards establishing communciation.


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18 Feb 2010, 9:22 pm

Asp-Z wrote:
OP, I couldn't agree more with that. So so true. I just wish more people would realise it.

About the whole prenatal testing thing, I can't believe it's legal. They're basically saying that people who have conditions have no right to live... Like Hitler with the Jews. The stupid f'ing idiots calling themselves scientists that do this research are the ones who don't have a right to live.

After all, Bill Gates and Einstein have/had traits. We don't know if they certainly had anything on the spectrum, but we know they had traits, and we must not forget that a diagnosis is only based on traits; there's no autism brain test. Now imagine a world without Einstein and Bill Gates. Odds are you wouldn't be on this site right now, you might not even have a computer. Remember Gates made the OS for the first IBM computer.

And who do you think wrote the program you're viewing this site on? Someone with a logical mind who's good at computers, that's who. Like me, and many many others on the spectrum. Same goes for your phone, your Xbox, your TV, even the firmware on the chip that makes your digital clocks work.

BitTorrent, the world's biggest filesharing network, was created by Bram Cohen - an Aspie, too. The "filesharing is stealing" crap aside, it also has many legitimate uses and has made Bram Cohen a millionaire too.

We have an importance in the world. It's as simple as that. If you're gonna start wiping us out, you might as well do the same for all other minorities - it's just as bad.

If autistic people didn't exist chances are we'd all either be speaking German or not exist (if you don't have blonde hair/blue eyes), since Alan Turing, the man who helped crack the Enigma Code, was autistic.