Autistic people aren’t really accepted

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firemonkey
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07 Nov 2017, 1:12 pm

Up to 70% of autistic people experience mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety, according to some research. Unfortunately, we still don’t know why autistic people are at a higher risk for mental health problems than non-autistic people. But one important factor is whether an individual’s autism is recognised and accepted by those around them. My colleagues and I recently published research that shows a lack of acceptance can significantly impact on the mental health of autistic adults.


https://theconversation.com/autistic-pe ... alth-86817


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CockneyRebel
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07 Nov 2017, 4:36 pm

I've read the article. I agree with everything that's mentioned. People who are accepted and treated with respect and seen in a positive light are less likely to develop mental health issues. The reason that many of us on the spectrum have mental health issues is because we're not as accepted as our NT counterparts, even by our own families. I remember experiencing a brush with suicide last February and March, because my mum just wouldn't accept my German helmets as a way of showing that I'm trans and I'm sick of the fact that boys and girls are still raised differently to fill completely different roles.

She also thinks that autism is a curse, so she doesn't understand why I'd want to celebrate the John Banner character, Sgt. Schultz. In her mind, being fat, German and autistic are such *gasp* horrible things. I decided to break off physical contact with her sometime last April (Autism Awareness Month), until I was good and ready to communicate with her in person again (the second weekend last September). She cut me off first on Valentine's Day last year for a few days. I still phoned her almost every day.

I didn't act on that brush because I'm Pro-Life.


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Richardf269
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08 Nov 2017, 2:11 am

firemonkey wrote:
Up to 70% of autistic people experience mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety, according to some research. Unfortunately, we still don’t know why autistic people are at a higher risk for mental health problems than non-autistic people. But one important factor is whether an individual’s autism is recognised and accepted by those around them. My colleagues and I recently published research that shows a lack of acceptance can significantly impact on the mental health of autistic adults.


https://theconversation.com/autistic-pe ... alth-86817


You're right. If your parents treat you as an idiot, you'll have self-worth issues as well as feeling worthless and have no pride in yourself. It's a common problem for most Autistics.



firemonkey
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08 Nov 2017, 3:54 am

Richardf269 wrote:
firemonkey wrote:
Up to 70% of autistic people experience mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety, according to some research. Unfortunately, we still don’t know why autistic people are at a higher risk for mental health problems than non-autistic people. But one important factor is whether an individual’s autism is recognised and accepted by those around them. My colleagues and I recently published research that shows a lack of acceptance can significantly impact on the mental health of autistic adults.


https://theconversation.com/autistic-pe ... alth-86817


You're right. If your parents treat you as an idiot,
I was never treated as an idiot. However at 9 I was told by my mother I'd never be as good as my father. This was someone she constantly argued with and eventually divorced. My mother would regularly say to me that I was an awkward baby/toddler/child etc. However I was seen as bright, and no one ever considered I might have learning difficulties despite the evidence being there. I went from a boy doing better than later scholarship students to being a mediocre/quite poor student over the course of about 9 years.


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Your neurotypical (non-autistic) score: 47 of 200
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HighLlama
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08 Nov 2017, 5:16 am

firemonkey wrote:
Richardf269 wrote:
firemonkey wrote:
Up to 70% of autistic people experience mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety, according to some research. Unfortunately, we still don’t know why autistic people are at a higher risk for mental health problems than non-autistic people. But one important factor is whether an individual’s autism is recognised and accepted by those around them. My colleagues and I recently published research that shows a lack of acceptance can significantly impact on the mental health of autistic adults.


https://theconversation.com/autistic-pe ... alth-86817


You're right. If your parents treat you as an idiot,
I was never treated as an idiot. However at 9 I was told by my mother I'd never be as good as my father. This was someone she constantly argued with and eventually divorced. My mother would regularly say to me that I was an awkward baby/toddler/child etc. However I was seen as bright, and no one ever considered I might have learning difficulties despite the evidence being there. I went from a boy doing better than later scholarship students to being a mediocre/quite poor student over the course of about 9 years.


That's terrible! I can relate. My mom thinks all my signs of autism are signs of homosexuality, and has spent years trying to convince me I'm a homosexual. She put a sign over my bedroom door that says "Precious," when I was a teenager. She thought my new step family should make fun of me with this nickname.

There are many ways we're not accepted, but one which bugs me a lot: constantly being talked over. It makes you feel like trying to connect or seeing yourself as equal is pointless (which it isn't).


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Daniel89
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08 Nov 2017, 7:44 am

I think fundamentally its because humans are a social species and people who do not fit in are outcast. If we look at other groups in society whether it be blacks, gays etc a huge part of the reason for them being more accepted is people getting to know them and see them as normal which I don't think will ever happen to people who not NT.



Esmerelda Weatherwax
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08 Nov 2017, 7:53 am

firemonkey wrote:
Up to 70% of autistic people experience mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety, according to some research. Unfortunately, we still don’t know why autistic people are at a higher risk for mental health problems than non-autistic people. But one important factor is whether an individual’s autism is recognised and accepted by those around them. My colleagues and I recently published research that shows a lack of acceptance can significantly impact on the mental health of autistic adults.

https://theconversation.com/autistic-pe ... alth-86817


Excellent piece - thank you so much for linking to it here. And for the validation, since I believe that depression, isolation and withdrawal are perfectly reasonable responses to rejection and abuse.

One thing "pinged" for me while reading. I read a lot about resilience a few years ago, about how some children can overcome horrendously abusive childhoods and manage to become sane, balanced adults in spite of - not because of - their parents, etc.

It seems to me that the key there was also acceptance - if those kids had anyone at all, a teacher, a coach, an aunt or uncle - who saw them clearly and loved them, gave them a feeling of being both seen and safe, this became a "sea anchor" and they could better survive the emotional turmoil their family created.

But IIRC, most of these kids moved into a generally accepting and welcoming world as adults - and adult Aspies not only don't get that, we seem to lose what little "official" support we did have as we become older (and more perceptive / experienced? Hence intimidating?).

I was lucky enough as an adult to work for several people who didn't merely accept me but actually affirmed my Aspie-related talents, but they generally changed jobs within 1-2 years. The one truly accepting place where I worked eventually succumbed to an externally imposed, very thuggish culture, and decent managers fled. The validation those decent people gave me probably saved my life later on.


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lostonearth35
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08 Nov 2017, 12:50 pm

Autistic people really aren't accepted, and it's impacting their mental health...

They call that news? :roll: Well here's another breaking news story: I draw cartoons! :mrgreen:



xatrix26
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09 Nov 2017, 4:41 am

firemonkey wrote:
Up to 70% of autistic people experience mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety, according to some research. Unfortunately, we still don’t know why autistic people are at a higher risk for mental health problems than non-autistic people. But one important factor is whether an individual’s autism is recognised and accepted by those around them. My colleagues and I recently published research that shows a lack of acceptance can significantly impact on the mental health of autistic adults.


https://theconversation.com/autistic-pe ... alth-86817


Thank you for this article sir and for addressing Autism in adults! Please pass along my thanks to your colleagues as well as I believe you have all hit the nail on the head.

:D

And finally an article directed solely at Autistic adults instead of just children like it always is. I hope you and your colleagues can dispel the myth that Autism is something that simply goes away with adulthood which it most certainly does not. As everyone in these forums can certainly attest to as well as I.

I have struggled greatly in my adult life for acceptance and every workplace I go to I can't find it. My concrete proof is that I've being fired 9 times, suspended 3 times and I've quit more than 30 jobs to avoid being fired. All because of typical Autistic social difficulties.

Now if that isn't hardcore proof of an Autistic adult not being accepted (by NTs) then I don't know what is. And as a result my anxiety has skyrocketed as well as my depression and my OCD and ADHD have become much more pronounced and sometimes intolerable.

I and many other Autistic adults in these forums are living proof that the above-mentioned article is absolutely real and undeniable.

Bravo sir and thank-you!


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xatrix26
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09 Nov 2017, 4:46 am

Esmerelda Weatherwax wrote:
firemonkey wrote:
Up to 70% of autistic people experience mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety, according to some research. Unfortunately, we still don’t know why autistic people are at a higher risk for mental health problems than non-autistic people. But one important factor is whether an individual’s autism is recognised and accepted by those around them. My colleagues and I recently published research that shows a lack of acceptance can significantly impact on the mental health of autistic adults.

https://theconversation.com/autistic-pe ... alth-86817


Excellent piece - thank you so much for linking to it here. And for the validation, since I believe that depression, isolation and withdrawal are perfectly reasonable responses to rejection and abuse.[/size]


Indeed Esmerelda! :D


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Esmerelda Weatherwax
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09 Nov 2017, 11:27 pm

Hi Xatrix - thanks. Thanks also for reinforcing the point that autism doesn't magically evaporate at age 18, or 22, or... 62... Everyone here knows this - we're living evidence - but NT world seems hellbent on avoiding the fact.

I've observed that human, mostly NT, generosity is often extended more easily to those people or groups the generous party finds least "threatening" - autism is just one area affected by that. An autistic child isn't going to object to being patronized, objectified, commodified, because most children, NT or autistic, can't detect those things, can't articulate them. But an adult... well, now.


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CockneyRebel
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10 Nov 2017, 12:19 am

The more I think about it, the more I think an all autistic nation is a good idea.


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xatrix26
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10 Nov 2017, 1:05 am

Esmerelda Weatherwax wrote:
Hi Xatrix - thanks. Thanks also for reinforcing the point that autism doesn't magically evaporate at age 18, or 22, or... 62... Everyone here knows this - we're living evidence - but NT world seems hellbent on avoiding the fact.

I've observed that human, mostly NT, generosity is often extended more easily to those people or groups the generous party finds least "threatening" - autism is just one area affected by that. An autistic child isn't going to object to being patronized, objectified, commodified, because most children, NT or autistic, can't detect those things, can't articulate them. But an adult... well, now.


Very well said Esmerelda. It would seem that NTs can't resist the temptation to be patronizing to someone who they may think is Autistic or at the very least, mentally handicapped. And it is that detection of condescending behavior that irks us both in the extreme, if I might be so bold as to speak for you. We may be Autistic adults but NTs don't realize that we have feelings too and we're not stupid. We can tell when we're being easily dismissed.

That condescending and patronizing behavior is clear evidence that acceptance is far off and out of reach for NTs towards ASDs like us.

Hmmmm, gee, maybe that's why I can tolerate NTs in only small doses and for short periods of time...


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10 Nov 2017, 1:06 am

CockneyRebel wrote:
The more I think about it, the more I think an all autistic nation is a good idea.


Like the Alt Right idea of an Ethnostate the Alt NT Neurostate ha ha.



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10 Nov 2017, 1:58 am

"Autism is a lifelong neurodevelopmental condition which affects the way individuals process the world; autistic individuals show differences in their social communication, social interactions, sensory sensitivities, along with restricted and repetitive interests and behaviours (APA 2013). The prevalence of comorbid mental health conditions in autism is strikingly high. For example, Eaves and Ho (2008) found that 77% of young autistic adults in their sample had additional mental health diagnoses, including anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder. Other studies suggest that the prevalence of depression in autistic individuals is around 34% (Stewart et al. 2006). Anxiety is also frequently found to be higher in the autistic population than within the non-autistic population (Gillott and Standen 2007), alongside a higher prevalence of social anxiety disorder (Maddox and White 2015). Difficulties with mental health are consequently thought to contribute to a poorer quality of life in autism (Robertson 2009)." - excerpt from the OP link

I have noticed from WP over the years that younger people overall are unhappier than the older members, particularly males in their 20s, and as most research on autistic people is skewed age-wise to exclude people who are in older age groups, it's hard to say what the actual incidence is for the whole of the AS population.

The other complicating factor in the research is that samples are drawn from diagnosed people, and as women are more often misdiagnosed as not AS because of professional ignorance, how this biases the percentages found is unknowable, but they are missing from these studies in some number.

However the impression on WP is that the unhappiest are young males is a more general fact, and given that the majority of the AS population are not young males, the percentage found in these studies won't be very reliable, though typically biasing methodological factors are ignored in the conduct and discussion of AS research to a large extent.

The other factor that is missing from the research is a comparison sample of young NTs, it would be useful to know that (we live in very anxious times) and I would guess that depression in young people generally is now higher than in more stable eras when young people faced less hardship, competition and other pressures. It is getting harder to be a young person, whether AS or NT, though minorities tend to have a tougher time of it.

I feel fortunate to have had an easier time to grow up in and to have been a young person when life was far more equitable. Now in my advanced years, I am more resilient, confident, happier and skilled at coping that at any younger age; part of that is the principle of "you know better you do better", the experience you gain over time and learning what works, what doesn't. The pressure on young people today is immense, and it must be a factor in the findings, not just AS, though I have no doubt that the way they are treated does contribute to a higher incidence of despair in the AS population.

What I liked about the article is that it was not written in a patronising way, did not use "othering" language nor was it embellished with denigrating myths. It was respectful, and so few are. Big tick for that.



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10 Nov 2017, 3:30 am

sometimes tagging is rather detrimental, most if more
the dismissal of nt-disarray, the willfull blind eye, to futher the reign of the one-eyed king?

existential angst, clinging to others even if it drowns them, chattering through every possible moment of silence,
the constant worries what others think, worries about rankings, positions,
silencing thoughts and doubts,
that's a hard life too

the hive-mind utterly depends on installing the highest levels of fear, constantly

"It is in relation to the concept of the devastating awareness of meaninglessness that Albert Camus claimed that "there is only one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide" in his The Myth of Sisyphus. Although "prescriptions" against the possibly deleterious consequences of these kinds of encounters vary, from Kierkegaard's religious "stage" to Camus' insistence on persevering in spite of absurdity, the concern with helping people avoid living their lives in ways that put them in the perpetual danger of having everything meaningful break down is common to most existentialist philosophers. The possibility of having everything meaningful break down poses a threat of quietism, which is inherently against the existentialist philosophy. It has been said that the possibility of suicide makes all humans existentialists." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Existenti ... te_note-28