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Have you ever been excluded from a club because of your autism/Aspergers?
Yes, and it's lousy 20%  20%  [ 5 ]
Yes, and I don't care 24%  24%  [ 6 ]
No 56%  56%  [ 14 ]
Total votes : 25

SlivalSchwarzman
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01 Dec 2011, 11:35 pm

At my college, there is this sorority that claims to support autism awareness.

Too good to be true? Yep. :roll:

I attempted to join it, and this is how things went:

I went to both of the recruitment meetings and tried my hardest to socialize "properly". I told them that socialization isn't my strong point, but since my brothers and I have autism spectrum disorders, and since I'm studying to be a special education teacher for children with classical autism, that I'd be a good candidate for helping them spread autism awareness.

I was told that they'd call me by a certain date if they were going to let me join.

Guess what happened? I didn't get in.

I was upset because of their hypocrisy, but my mom told me they weren't worth crying over because they were too shallow to accept someone who belonged to a group they claimed to advocate for...

I wrote a letter to the college's disability services department and the editor of the school paper, but they both ignored me...

In retrospect, I'm GLAD I didn't get into the sorority, or else they'd probably be very rude to me.


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shrox
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01 Dec 2011, 11:42 pm

Your mom is right!! !! !!



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02 Dec 2011, 1:15 am

That's awful.



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02 Dec 2011, 9:30 am

Any claim of support for thus-and-such does not imply any actual involvement.

Take a plate of ham and eggs - the chicken is providing support, while the pig is actually involved.

That sorority seems like many of the sororities from my own university days. They may claim to support Autism Awareness, but their real purpose may only be to provide a social context for as many shallow, superficial, and stuck-up Barbie clones as possible. And while their daddies may be spending tens of thousands of dollars per year to keep the little darlings in Gucchi and Prada, the entire sorority may only donate a few hundred dollars to Autism Awareness, while shunning the very people that they claim to "support". You're better off without them.


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02 Dec 2011, 9:35 am

That really sucked, SlivalSchwarzman. Them rejecting you for who you are is so bigoted of them. Your experience with that sorority kinda mirrors the bigotry that is Autism Speaks. Pay them no heed. Don't worry, you'll find better support organizations that will actually involve you.


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DW_a_mom
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02 Dec 2011, 1:19 pm

It would never occur to me to assume that someone would want to include me in their club just because I have an issue their organization officially supports. By taking on an issue they have, in a way, just drawn a line that says "they aren't like me, and they need my help."

I've spent years raising money to improve local schools, but we don't expect the kids to join the committee, it wouldn't really make sense.

In college I did volunteer work at a Down's Syndrome group home, but it wasn't like I was there to make friends (I probably should have been, but we're talking young and clueless here). I saw it as using my labor to do things for others that they couldn't do for themselves, nothing more and nothing less. The complexity of their social needs and inclusion desires would have been so far beyond me. I was still growing up and learning the world myself.

A sorority is first and foremost a social organization, a home away from home, a substitute sisterhood for people transitioning from childhood to adulthood. They take on causes to "give back," but not because any of the individuals has a particular stake in the issue. The efforts are sincere, but not very deep, and I doubt any of them have enough awareness to understand what the ranges on the spectrum are, or to wrap their head around why someone they've been told has a social impairment would even want to join their sisterhood. Their idea of autism awareness is probably does not go beyond knowing a few stats and agreeing to pass out puzzle pieces at football games.

Membership in a sorority is about putting together like with like; people who feel they have an affinity for each other, some common ground. There is a recommendation process, a legacy process, and a long set of rules on who can, and who cannot, be considered. There is also a quota and a cut off, both of which are usually out of the local member's control. It's like it's whole own world, and really difficult to step into if no one has taught you the ins and outs beforehand.

Yes, I was in a sorority, and I went through rush absolutely clueless; I just needed a place to live because the dorms were full. While it turned out fine, out of sheer luck, really; it was really bumpy; that wasn't a world my family knew anything about. In some ways, I still don't; I don't totally "get" it, and I was IN it.

Forget the membership. But if you have a chance to continue a dialogue with any of the people you met, maybe you can teach them what they need to know to make their stated advocacy actually mean something.

And sorry for your bad experience. It isn't easy to forget all the ways we get rejected in life, and you've probably got lots more to come, if your life ends up looking anything at all like mine. But ... You do learn to deal with it, and realize that all those people have done is told you what you would have eventually figured out: as a pair or a group, you don't have much in common. Better to spend time with those with whom you DO connect (even with AS, connections happen. It just takes longer, and the pool is smaller).


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jackbus01
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02 Dec 2011, 2:52 pm

DW_a_mom wrote:
It would never occur to me to assume that someone would want to include me in their club just because I have an issue their organization officially supports. By taking on an issue they have, in a way, just drawn a line that says "they aren't like me, and they need my help."


They do?!

DW_a_mom wrote:
I've spent years raising money to improve local schools, but we don't expect the kids to join the committee, it wouldn't really make sense.


I strongly disagree. Kids might have some insight and what is wrong with their school. I would argue that getting input from all sides (parent, students, and teachers) would make the most sense. I guess it would depend on the age of the kids though.

DW_a_mom wrote:
In college I did volunteer work at a Down's Syndrome group home, but it wasn't like I was there to make friends (I probably should have been, but we're talking young and clueless here). I saw it as using my labor to do things for others that they couldn't do for themselves, nothing more and nothing less. The complexity of their social needs and inclusion desires would have been so far beyond me. I was still growing up and learning the world myself.


It sounds like it was just a job to you. What was your motivation to work with persons with Down Syndrome?

DW_a_mom wrote:

A sorority is first and foremost a social organization, a home away from home, a substitute sisterhood for people transitioning from childhood to adulthood. They take on causes to "give back," but not because any of the individuals has a particular stake in the issue. The efforts are sincere, but not very deep, and I doubt any of them have enough awareness to understand what the ranges on the spectrum are, or to wrap their head around why someone they've been told has a social impairment would even want to join their sisterhood. Their idea of autism awareness is probably does not go beyond knowing a few stats and agreeing to pass out puzzle pieces at football games.


Yeah, I never understood the purpose of sororities or fraternities either. If they don't care about autism then why would they be so interested in autism awareness. It does not sound very sincere to me.

DW_a_mom wrote:
Membership in a sorority is about putting together like with like; people who feel they have an affinity for each other, some common ground. There is a recommendation process, a legacy process, and a long set of rules on who can, and who cannot, be considered. There is also a quota and a cut off, both of which are usually out of the local member's control. It's like it's whole own world, and really difficult to step into if no one has taught you the ins and outs beforehand.

Yes, I was in a sorority, and I went through rush absolutely clueless; I just needed a place to live because the dorms were full. While it turned out fine, out of sheer luck, really; it was really bumpy; that wasn't a world my family knew anything about. In some ways, I still don't; I don't totally "get" it, and I was IN it.


I have yet to meet someone that understands it either. It just seems very pointless to me. If it were a type of club binded by common interest, I could understand, but that is not the case.

DW_a_mom wrote:
Forget the membership. But if you have a chance to continue a dialogue with any of the people you met, maybe you can teach them what they need to know to make their stated advocacy actually mean something.

And sorry for your bad experience. It isn't easy to forget all the ways we get rejected in life, and you've probably got lots more to come, if your life ends up looking anything at all like mine. But ... You do learn to deal with it, and realize that all those people have done is told you what you would have eventually figured out: as a pair or a group, you don't have much in common. Better to spend time with those with whom you DO connect (even with AS, connections happen. It just takes longer, and the pool is smaller).


What I have learned in social situations is that it is actually not necessarily a bad thing to be rejected. If someone doesn't want you around, then it is probably best to move on to other things. I would argue that it would be worse if you were accepted and then didn't fit in.



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02 Dec 2011, 6:15 pm

i find this kind of thing disgusting. was it an "autism speaks U club", and at which university?



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02 Dec 2011, 7:11 pm

jackbus01 wrote:
DW_a_mom wrote:
It would never occur to me to assume that someone would want to include me in their club just because I have an issue their organization officially supports. By taking on an issue they have, in a way, just drawn a line that says "they aren't like me, and they need my help."


They do?!


Not to say it is right or wrong, but it is one common way of looking at it. I'll discuss further when I answer another question below.

Quote:
DW_a_mom wrote:
I've spent years raising money to improve local schools, but we don't expect the kids to join the committee, it wouldn't really make sense.


I strongly disagree. Kids might have some insight and what is wrong with their school. I would argue that getting input from all sides (parent, students, and teachers) would make the most sense. I guess it would depend on the age of the kids though.


To start with, we're talking little kids. Secondly, we did seek their input. But seeking input is differently from asking them to engage in running fundraisers, allocate the raised funds, and decide on what enrichment specialists to hire. The job of the committee was to make it all happen, not just chat about what would be nice, and what would not be. The kids don't have the skills for that.

Quote:
DW_a_mom wrote:
In college I did volunteer work at a Down's Syndrome group home, but it wasn't like I was there to make friends (I probably should have been, but we're talking young and clueless here). I saw it as using my labor to do things for others that they couldn't do for themselves, nothing more and nothing less. The complexity of their social needs and inclusion desires would have been so far beyond me. I was still growing up and learning the world myself.


It sounds like it was just a job to you. What was your motivation to work with persons with Down Syndrome?


Mostly the fact that someone asked me to, and I felt that nice people did these sorts of things when the need was there. I did grow up knowing a child with the condition, but she wasn't my friend. In my eyes, she was a sweet child who could not understand the same things I could or do the same work I could do. I can't say I understood her beyond seeing the obvious, that she was sweet and naturally happy, able to enjoy simple things that those of us trying to be "mature" felt we shouldn't. At that age I didn't see the value of less than obvious gifts in quite the way I can at this point in my life.

And I think my thought process there would be typical for someone who hasn't been super close to someone differently-abled; in my day, kids like her were shipped off to special schools or institutions; there was very little mainstreaming. Today's kids have a better chance of actually understanding the value of unique gifts, because they grow up with much more diversity of all types, but I would still doubt that young sorority women would be likely to have enough depth of understanding of differences to welcome someone with AS into their sisterhood unless they happened to connect in spite of the AS.

I would guess that those young sorority women think they are raising awareness about the type of autism that steals normal little children from their families, leaving behind ghosts (the Autism Speaks image). That is what gets advertised the most, unfortunately.

Sorority membership is about picking people you will be friends with. ALL my life long college friendships formed in the sorority. I don't have a single one that formed because of a class or activity. These weren't the women I was choosing to do work or advocacy with, even though we did a good amount of both, these were the women I was choosing to share housing and socialize with.

I'm not going to say it is right or wrong; I'm just saying what "is," to explain how, most likely, the concepts of advocating for autism awareness, and who should be members of the sorority, were not linked in any way for those young sorority women. If someone wants to get in, they play the social game and build friendships, and find out if any of mommy's friends are alumni able to write rec letters. Thinking that having AS is an asset just because the group does AS advocacy work seems like a total dead end to me, there is no connection there to anyone else.

In response to the title of the thread: I don't think lies have anything to do with it. It's a gap in understanding what the group's main mission is.

A quick google shows that Autism Speaks is the philanthropy partner for one of the national sororities: http://admin.utep.edu/Default.aspx?tabid=68604. Another article shows a sorority doing a little fundraising because the issue is closer to home: http://www.ntdaily.com/?p=8604. In both articles, it's really about fundraising; that is the kind of philanthropy sororities do. It is a vital cog in the non-profit funding and (highly generalized) awareness wheel, but not anything that addresses the issues most members here really care about, or that even starts to try to bridge the communication gap between NTs and Autistics.


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Last edited by DW_a_mom on 03 Dec 2011, 1:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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02 Dec 2011, 8:04 pm

DW_a_mom wrote:
jackbus01 wrote:

It sounds like it was just a job to you. What was your motivation to work with persons with Down Syndrome?


Mostly the fact that someone asked me to, and I felt that nice people did these sorts of things when the need was there. I did grow up knowing a child with the condition, but she wasn't my friend. In my eyes, she was a sweet child who could not understand the same things I could or do the same work I could do. I can't say I understood her beyond seeing the obvious, that she was sweet and naturally happy, able to enjoy simple things that those of us trying to be "mature" felt we shouldn't. At that age I didn't see the value of less than obvious gifts in quite the way I can at this point in my life.

And I think my thought process there would be typical for someone who hasn't been super close to someone differently-abled; in my day, kids like her were shipped off to special schools or institutions; there was very little mainstreaming. Today's kids have a better chance of actually understanding the value of unique gifts, because they grow up with much more diversity of all types, but I would still doubt that young sorority women would be likely to have enough depth of understanding of differences to welcome someone with AS into their sisterhood unless they happened to connect in spite of the AS.

I would bet anything that those young sorority women think they are raising awareness about the type of autism that steals normal little children from their families, leaving behind ghosts (the Autism Speaks image). When they think of autism, they might think of a child they went to school with who sat alone doing his or her own thing while making odd movements, but they aren't thinking of that shy and quiet young girl they worked on a science project with. I would be surprised if any of them picture someone they might be friends with, when they hear the term "autistic."

Sorority membership is about picking people you will be friends with. ALL my life long college friendships formed in the sorority. I don't have a single one that formed because of a class or activity. These weren't the women I was choosing to do work or advocacy with, even though we did a good amount of both, these were the women I was choosing to share housing and socialize with.

I'm not going to say it is right or wrong; I'm just saying what "is," to explain how, most likely, the concepts of advocating for autism awareness, and who should be members of the sorority, were not linked in any way for those young sorority women. If someone wants to get in, they play the social game and build friendships, and find out if any of mommy's friends are alumni able to write rec letters. Thinking that having AS is an asset just because the group does AS advocacy work seems like a total dead end to me, there is no connection there to anyone else.

In response to the title of the thread: I don't think lies have anything to do with it. It's a gap in understanding what the group's main mission is.

A quick google shows that Autism Speaks is the philanthropy partner for one of the national sororities: http://admin.utep.edu/Default.aspx?tabid=68604. Another article shows a sorority doing a little fundraising because the issue is closer to home: http://www.ntdaily.com/?p=8604. In both articles, it's really about fundraising; that is the kind of philanthropy sororities do. It is a vital cog in the non-profit funding and (highly generalized) awareness wheel, but not anything that addresses the issues most members here really care about, or that even starts to try to bridge the communication gap between NTs and Autistics.


This is probably the most depressing thing I have ever read......especially this:
When they think of autism, they might think of a child they went to school with who sat alone doing his or her own thing while making odd movements, but they aren't thinking of that shy and quiet young girl they worked on a science project with. I would be surprised if any of them picture someone they might be friends with, when they hear the term "autistic."

Maybe that child who sat alone doing his or own thing and making odd movements, did not like being the outcast who no one would talk to unless it was to pick on them......yeah I was that child. And why should people who are part of an autism awareness group ever want to be friends with any of us weirdos? that would just be socially unaccaptable I guess.



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02 Dec 2011, 8:11 pm

Yes, and I'm glad.

Any club that won't let you join because you don't like crowded clubs, lots of alcohol, and casual sex should be renamed The Fucktard Society.

I remember sitting on a park bench getting ready to cry because I'd blown my chance to learn to be "normal."

Then I thought, "Wait a minute. I was bored. Why do I want to learn to be boring?"

I walked away laughing.

I am SO better off without them.

When you're a cause, not a person, you are better off without them too.


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02 Dec 2011, 8:29 pm

Any club that would insist on me becoming a member is not a club that I would want to join, anyway.

Groucho Marx wrote:
"I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member!"


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02 Dec 2011, 11:04 pm

Sweetleaf wrote:
[

This is probably the most depressing thing I have ever read......especially this:
When they think of autism, they might think of a child they went to school with who sat alone doing his or her own thing while making odd movements, but they aren't thinking of that shy and quiet young girl they worked on a science project with. I would be surprised if any of them picture someone they might be friends with, when they hear the term "autistic."

Maybe that child who sat alone doing his or own thing and making odd movements, did not like being the outcast who no one would talk to unless it was to pick on them......yeah I was that child. And why should people who are part of an autism awareness group ever want to be friends with any of us weirdos? that would just be socially unaccaptable I guess.



Remember this: just because I'm putting that thought inside the head of someone who would chose to join a socially focused group organization (ie a sorority) does not mean everyone has those thoughts. Only a fraction of all college students have any interest in Greek life, and I think that having an interest in Greek life tends to indicate a certain socially and exclusive group oriented personality to start with.

What kids know about AS and how they perceive it is all changing, and fast, but yes I have also assumed that the current crop of college kids is ahead of the changes my son has benefited from, where the AS kids are understood and integrated.

And ... I've gone back and edited that paragraph in the post where I first wrote it. I think I wrote a lot of things in this thread without thinking them through thoroughly, and I'm not sure all I wrote is correct, or even my opinion of what might actually be. Sometimes I just run off, and it seems logical in the moment my fingers are flying, but later review leaves me uneasy.


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03 Dec 2011, 1:43 am

DW_a_mom wrote:
Sweetleaf wrote:
[

This is probably the most depressing thing I have ever read......especially this:
When they think of autism, they might think of a child they went to school with who sat alone doing his or her own thing while making odd movements, but they aren't thinking of that shy and quiet young girl they worked on a science project with. I would be surprised if any of them picture someone they might be friends with, when they hear the term "autistic."

Maybe that child who sat alone doing his or own thing and making odd movements, did not like being the outcast who no one would talk to unless it was to pick on them......yeah I was that child. And why should people who are part of an autism awareness group ever want to be friends with any of us weirdos? that would just be socially unaccaptable I guess.



Remember this: just because I'm putting that thought inside the head of someone who would chose to join a socially focused group organization (ie a sorority) does not mean everyone has those thoughts. Only a fraction of all college students have any interest in Greek life, and I think that having an interest in Greek life tends to indicate a certain socially and exclusive group oriented personality to start with.

What kids know about AS and how they perceive it is all changing, and fast, but yes I have also assumed that the current crop of college kids is ahead of the changes my son has benefited from, where the AS kids are understood and integrated.

And ... I've gone back and edited that paragraph in the post where I first wrote it. I think I wrote a lot of things in this thread without thinking them through thoroughly, and I'm not sure all I wrote is correct, or even my opinion of what might actually be. Sometimes I just run off, and it seems logical in the moment my fingers are flying, but later review leaves me uneasy.



Well a lot of that does reflect how things work, I just find it sad I guess but stuff like that does certainly happen.......But yeah I figured this was more based on what you've observed then anything else.



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03 Dec 2011, 2:51 am

I think the way NTs look at people with disabilities they are doing charity for. They see us as subordinate human beings. They dont think they could look at us as equals to them. They do the charity to get "points" there community so other NTs will think highly of them and think there such generous human beings. A lot of them dont really have there heart in with the cause.

Its like, "oh you poor thing, can I help you"
vs. wanting to truly associate with you and get to know you and treat you as an equal

Its something that makes the NTs feel good about themselves cause there so damn generous.


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03 Dec 2011, 8:56 am

Ai_Ling wrote:
I think the way NTs look at people with disabilities they are doing charity for. They see us as subordinate human beings. They dont think they could look at us as equals to them. They do the charity to get "points" there community so other NTs will think highly of them and think there such generous human beings. A lot of them dont really have there heart in with the cause.

Its like, "oh you poor thing, can I help you"
vs. wanting to truly associate with you and get to know you and treat you as an equal

Its something that makes the NTs feel good about themselves cause there so damn generous.


That is so true. It this case "Autism Awareness" was just a random "good cause". I also agree that sororities/fraternities cater to very extroverted people. Extroverted persons are at a disadvantage because they seek many superficial relationships and are more interested in scoring social "points" instead of thinking deeply about an issue. There is great irony about an organization not accepting an AS person while at the same time pursuing "Autism Awareness".