Last week during Emma’s RPM session with B. they discussed interviews, the act of interviewing another person and the reasons one might interview another: for jobs, schools, etc. They discussed where an interview might take place, one on one and in person, a group interview, by telephone, over email, etc. I don’t have Emma’s permission to write about the interview she then conducted with an imaginary person, but as a result of all of this, I decided to continue with this idea of an interview in our session at home. So I asked Emma whether she wanted to be the interviewer or the one being interviewed.
Emma wrote, “I want to know what you think about autism and am curious to understand why wasted time is spent being against a way of thinking.” Later she added to that last part, “and being.” So the sentence read, “I want to know what you think about autism and am curious to understand why wasted time is spent being against a way of thinking and being.”
Whew. Talk about a great question! I told her that I believed there was so much more we do not know than we know about all neurology. I mentioned that with Autistic neurology in particular, there is a tendency to state as fact a great deal that is not fact, but is really an opinion. I told her that her writing has so completely changed my thinking about not just her, but autism in general. I talked about how people fear what they do not understand, how they make up stories and confuse ideas and opinions as facts. I discussed how assumptions are made because people like to believe they know things, even when they don’t and how people would rather believe something that isn’t true than sit with the discomfort that can come with not knowing.
And then I asked her if she wanted to know what other people thought about her question, or was this a question specifically for me?
Emma wrote that she would like to know what others think.
So I’m throwing it out to all of you… think of this as Emma’s first interview question to you.
“I want to know what you think about autism and am curious to understand why wasted time is spent being against a way of thinking and being.”
This is a great question, Emma. To me autism is a shorthand label for the several ways in which my mind works differently to that of a person who is not autistic. I view being autistic as an inseparable part of who I am, just like being a woman and being human.
I believe that people who do not understand autism and who do not make the effort to engage with autistic people see our differences, not as our own special uniqueness, but as failings to be “cured” so that we will be more like them. I oppose this because I am happy being the person I am: I do not want to be “cured” and changed into somebody else. I also believe that every person has their own set of strengths and weaknesses, and it is by communicating and working together that we can complement each others’ abilities to the benefit of all.
I’ve always been protective of my M – and as such, have shut out the larger world’s opinions. It’s not an exaggeration to say that I put on tunnel vision goggles when we go anywhere, because I don’t really care what anyone thinks about him or us – at the same time, I’m aware of the history of attitudes toward autism. I have two cousins who are also autistic, one who is in his twenties, and one who is in his 50’s – each of them has dealt with the changing attitudes of the times. The younger cousin works for a charity in MT, and was recently barred from his gym because patrons believed he was “staring” at them. I can’t even begin to describe how sad this makes me – and his family fought on his behalf, only to butt up against the prevailing attitudes.
It goes to the “othering” that happens when we come up against anything that is outside our realm of experience – and must be an innate behavioral response in some ways, but one that can be overcome by the very sort of thing that you are doing here. I share this blog every time. Someone new may look at it every time. That’s one more person who may have the light turned on in his or her soul.
I know it’s frustrating, depressing, and sometimes infuriating to be treated this way – but I have so much hope because of Emma and all the other folks who come here and put their thoughts forward. Even though I sometimes feel inadequate to the task, I know we’ll get our kiddo to this same place. The only thing I think about autism now is wanting everyone to come to that same place and have the same sense of enlightenment.
What I think about autism is that it is the way my mind and life are shaped. I am a good, strong person of value, so I think that autism is good, strong, and valuable, too. Wasted time is spent being against the way I and other Autistics think and are because people are afraid of things they don’t understand and there are still so many people who don’t understand who we really are. That is why we need to keep showing everyone our words, lives, hearts, and minds. It can be hard to show ourselves because some people stubbornly refuse to really see us and some people try to hurt us because they are still too afraid. But the more we are able to let people have the chance to know us, the less fear there will be and the less time will get wasted in being against us. It takes time and courage and patience. We can change our world, one minute at a time, one word at a time, one person at a time.
Hi Emma. My 16 year old son was my first contact with autism. Like you his first diagnosis was PDD-NOS with speech and language delay. While we were going through the diagnosis process, which lasted about 2 years for him, the one thing I knew in my heart was that if he was in fact autistic that was ok with me. When I was asked about it I would always say autism is part of who he is and I love who he is. I have met many autistic individuals through my son. All are different but so far I haven’t met one that I didn’t like. They are all young and I like children and young people. Some I have been able to connect with. Others I haven’t due to various communication issues but in these cases I know the fault is probably more mine than theirs because my husband never has a problem connecting no matter how limited language is.
We believe now that my husband’s father was an undiagnosed autistic. He led an incredible life. He worked as an engineer all around the world before he married. He had a pilots licence. He made brackets for lamp posts all around Ireland for when Pope John Paul II visited us in 1979. Special brackets were needed that would hold 3 flags ( the Irish flag, the pontiff’s flat and one other that I can’t remember). Those brackets are still on the surviving lamp posts and were used recently when the Special Olympics were held in Ireland.
So in answer to your question I think my son is wonderful and he is autistic so therefore autism is wonderful too. I also think my 14 year old daughter is wonderful and she is not autistic. The world would be so much less if there was no autism in it.
As an after thought, if my son was not autistic I probably wouldn’t be reading Emma’s Hope Book and that would be my loss.
Emma, you have changed how I view autism. I have three girls that have autism, one that is non-verbal. You have helped me relax and be in the moment with my daughters. Before I was always reacting and on edge. You have taught me to look at my daughters and see them. I think my view of autism is constantly changing. One minute I dislike it because I worry and I don’t like to see my daughters struggle. The next minute I love it and I feel so blessed because it has made me a better human being and I never take anything for granted. I always thought I had to fix autism. As a parent, you want the absolute best for your children. I had this thought that autism was in some way hurting them, but I know that is not true. The only one that needs fixing is me 🙂 So, please keep doing what you’re doing, I want to come around to your way of thinking! xo
Autism to me is just another (very beautiful and insteresting, and sometimes challenging) way of being, and I have to thank you, Emma, and your mom for helping me to find that perspective. I think some ppeople are frightened of other ways of thinking and being and it is really unfortunate. If they would just let their guard down a little bit they could experience so much joy.
“I told her that her writing has so completely changed my thinking about not just her, but autism in general.”
I echo that. Fresh perspective on the autistic is emerging for me, through being exposed to what Emma is thinking and being; even at an internet distance.
““I want to know what you think about autism and am curious to understand why wasted time is spent being against a way of thinking and being.”
I think about the autistic. Autism seems to me to emerge across what you ask your question about; this “being against”. So autism is something I think will disappear as our human world stops “being against” the autistic way of thinking and being.
The autistic, for me, is a way of being an individual. I trust my senses and I trust my thinking. If others are “against” my way of thinking and being, I throw all my resource into sustaining me. If others are not against me, then we share our thinking and our being, and all goes well.
The answer to your question of “why”, is difficult to answer. People who are social rather than autistic, have their own way of thinking and being. I enjoy swimming in other people. I enjoy swimming in other people who are social. It’s only when other people are “against” my way of thinking and being, that I have to go defensive and self-protective.
I think it’s all about boundaries. Other people can find I don’t respect their social boundaries. My sensing and thinking just takes me through these boundaries; dissolves these boundaries. That makes some other people concerned about who and what I am. They may try to push me back, across their boundaries. That can hurt me, and in all sorts of ways; making me very sad.
When I’m hurt and sad, I go silent, keeping my thinking and my being to myself, until I’m strong enough again.
My sister-in-law mentioned this post a few days ago and what I thought of this reply in particular.
I would echo, Emma, your father’s summary, Time is wasted being against all sorts of things not just a way of thinking and being because people on the whole don’t seem to learn how useless this is.
For the average person which is a concept I find a bit hard difference in all varieties is a challenge too many take up by opposing. It is easier to believe some kinds of people are all sorts of things than to think more constructively about them.
As for Colin’s notion that autism would disappear if people stopped being opposed to it I can’t say I agree. As a way of thinking and being it would always be distinct enough to seem worth remarking on. I come from a culture where people might be inclined to ask for more useful information that simply that you are autistic or someone is because they will be quick to point out the variety that that it encompasses. It is more positive and accepting of autism but not oblivious to the differences and challenges for those the word partially describes.
If I were physically healthy enough to go off an be a hermit in the woods in a manner to a hermit who’s dwelling I had seen shortly after his death upstream of our home many of the things that make autism challenging that have nothing to do with how they intersect with other people and society would persist.
At 45 it starts to be hopeful of a day dawning where people will just understand autism as a variation of humanity that comes with challenges, some which may need support but with competencies as well and be able to reconcile the enigma of a person able to do more complicated tasks than many not being able to do some “simpler” things.
As I have not seen much forward progress on this in my lifetime and indeed an alarming slippage in the past decade or more I don’t know if that day will come. I have to hope it can as the alternative is too bleak but this starts to seems like almost some fundamental attribute of the majority of humans that they cannot reconcile people and ways of being too different from themselves.
It’s not one I am free of. I have a hard time making sense of “normal” and the behaviours that go with it especially when they seem so irrational as to ignore competencies based on something not one bit related but I do keep trying and if the same persistence could be said to exist in the attitudes of those who supply my care I would have better odds overall of my health improving.
There are times it seems however difficult that to be as I am is still a gift. When people talk at length at how difficult some experiences are for people in general that I do not have to work at at all I am grateful even if frustration at those who seem indeed more invested in opposing my way of thinking and being versus anything more useful replaces that too fast.
Thank you for asking Emma. I see autism as an extreme of humanity – people whose sensory systems work at a higher level than anyone else’s, taking in more information from the environment, which makes living in our world very difficult at times. People whose emotional reactions are more finely tuned than anyone else’s which means that they feel everything to a greater degree and that this does not only affect their own emotions but also their ability to feel and be affected by the emotional reactions of the people around them. People whose brains are working at higher level than anyone else’s so that the thinking process never stops and moves quickly from one thing to another or dwells on several things at the same time. This means that they are very intelligent, can understand and remember far more than other people, live at a high level of morality and spirituality as well as needing lots of mental stimulation to keep from being bored. In the midst of this I see those with autism as having a wall within, a wall which blocks their ability to clearly communicate what is affecting them in the moment, why they are responding as they are, how they are feeling and what they are thinking so that the rest of us who are looking at them from the outside and are not experiencing what their bodies are experiencing the same way do not understand at all what is happening and who they are dealing with, This is why it is so important to carefully listen to those on the autism spectrum when it comes to understanding autism, than to listen to anyone else. They are the only ones who can teach us. I thank you for becoming another one of my teachers. You are sharing a wonderful gift with me and with the world.
Wow, what a great question. As a dad, my son’s autism has simply made me a better father and man. It is so odd to me as well, that we cannot have a more open mind. That how something, one thing whatever it is, can have a different effect on you than it does on me. It is crazy that there is this need to all fit into one big way of life when your life is completely different than mine. It is a complete waste of time to judge someone on how they live, you may not agree with it but it does not mean it is wrong. We are all here for a reason and our uniqueness is that very reason. Great question and a wonderful post. Thanks for sharing. Hope I did not sound too crazy!!!
Emma, for some reason, many of us grow up wanting to fit in. Be the same. It makes us feel secure in where we are and where we are going. Autism did scare me at first. I worried my son would be a stranger to me, and that I would never mean much to him. I was ignorant. I didn’t understand autism. I only knew the stereotypes. It’s been a very eye and heart opening journey for me. I always loved my son, but at first I thought loving him meant fixing him to fit it. It took learning (from people like you) and many many books, lectures etc for me to think…wait a minute…Am I helping him…or myself? I changed. I can’t explain why it’s harder or easier for some, but I’m trying to share our life with my friends and family so they will be open too. My son is so funny, and smart, and loving, …and he does do things differently. He does that ‘silly talk’ you wrote about. He likes to play with things that others find odd…like cereal :)… He needs to bounce, jump, and swing A LOT. But it’s all ok. It’s who he is, and I join him and We laugh and play together. I love who he is no matter what now. He actually has a great attitude and teaches me to see the details in life. Autism doesn’t scare me anymore. But I do fear for him in the future because I know not everyone will see all the parts of who he is. But maybe, because of people like you and your mom, and others who are sharing their stories…maybe things will change faster. Different is good! I’m starting to embrace my own ‘different’ qualities. It’s nice not caring about fitting in so much. Life is much better being just you! I’m very proud of all your hard work Emma! Maybe one day my Simon will be writing his thoughts for me and all to read too :D. God Bless you sweet girl!
Reblogged this on Opposite Ends of the Spectrum and commented:
Ok really she makes us “smart” ppl look like idiots
To me autism is a diff way of thinking…something that despite intelligence and openness to learning will always be beyond my reach 😦 ppl like you and Henry, Ido and ibby tolerate us and our billion questions..i wish it wasnt so. I wish we could intuitively get it but we dont…
And it’s just as frustrating for us Emma …we want to get it..we really do and you want to tell us just so aggravating on both sides
wonderful question! First of all, I think may do not know what to think at all! Autism is very perplexing to them and they just do not know how to approach such a thing and how an individual on the spectrum thinks :). As far as wanting to abolish Autism well I think we as a society have been forced to conform to a way of thinking and being because of fear of existing outside of the norm and then the fear of being outcast because of it. Fear is a powerful thing and can control the minds of many and this is why so many are against it, it shakes their foundation and makes them afraid. Also society has gotten caught up in the whole ‘my child is broken’ or ‘my child is sick’ trap and are taking actions based on this. It’s going to take many individuals like yourself Emma, to speak up and out about who you are and how you think to get the world to change their minds, please keep up your awesome amazing work!
People have no idea about autism and there is a great fear for the unknown because of the language used to describe it within the medical community. The brain is a wonderful landscape, but our understanding of it is so minimal than anything outside of what we know is considered odd or abnormal. Those who live with autism or have loved ones who happen to have this condition are grossly misunderstood. It is not a disease; it does not make them “damaged” or lesser humans. We just have to be willing to walk a mile in their shoes with the understanding they have a different perception of reality and it is a valid one. Love them for who they are, for all the great things they can achieve and for the moments we share together.
Hello Emma. Thanks for your good question! I have the same question that you do, so I’m in school studying the way people see autism, the way they try to help, and the way they try to teach autistic people. I see a lot of wasted time and money, and things that make me very sad and angry. but I have to keep reminding myself that many people simply aren’t well-educated about autism. They see something different, and they see autistic people struggling, and they want to change it, fix it, and make it better. But they don’t know how, and they don’t realize that the problem isn’t in the autistic people; it’s in the way our social world and our physical world are set up.
These people might be well meaning, but they don’t know how to question their own ideas about what “normal” is, and their help tends to cause more problems than it solves. They tend to place autistic people and autistic ways of thinking in a “how can we solve this autism problem” category, instead of thinking “How can we make autistic people feel comfortable, and welcome, and loved?” “How can we learn to listen to autistic people and value their ways of thinking and being?”
I see some changes happening, and there are some very good researchers who are working to challenge the old ideas about autism. There is still a lot of money and energy going into fighting autism and changing autistic people, but there are also a lot of people who are finally listening to autistic people and learning to ask better questions, and offer better support. Thanks for asking your good question!
These are great questions! It’s good to be pushed to put into words my general feelings about autism. I had no experience with autism until my son was diagnosed, at about age 3 and a half. At that time he didn’t talk much, but my husband and I always said when we described him to friends or doctors: it’s so clear that LOTS is going on in his head, and he is so interested in everything around him. So when we found out more about what makes him tick, it didn’t change what we knew about him–his intelligence and good nature–it just helped us figure out what kind of school he should go to when he started kindergarten. All this to say, we had a positive start to the idea of what it means to be autistic. But since then, I’ve read so many terrifying things. It seems to me that all the drama stems from fear. I think we NTs are afraid of people and ideas we don’t easily understand, and we react badly to the idea that we are the ones who might have to adapt. It’s easier to say “we have to get rid of this” than it is to look deep into another person and come to a relationship on terms other than our own.
Emma, thank you for sharing your thoughts with all of us. You are changing the world!
Thank you for your interesting question. My daughter Nikki has been living with her autism since day one. And I have been living with her autism since she was seven years old. She is adopted. All I know is that I love her and want to help her in any way that I can. She is 40 years old now, and she is a blessing in our lives. She types a little using facilitated communication. your blog has given us hope that she will eventually be able to share her feelings and thoughts. She speaks much more now than she did when she was little and her spoken language is getting more expressive. Still, she doesn’t yet tell her feelings in typing or in speech. She has a lot of behaviors due to her feelings. Your mom has helped me know that this is the reason for the behaviors and so I am learning to wait and be quiet and patient. You and your family are helping us see autism in a different and better way.
Hi Emma and Ariane!
I’m a mother of a 3 year old autistic girl and like your blog very much.
Emma, Just writing to say I think you are asking a very good question. Recently I ask it myself more and more strongly. But the more I learn about all this, the stranger it gets…
A big part of the answer is probabely – fear of the unknown, misunderstanding, worrying about functioning difficulties or rejection, etc. But I think you ask this question because you sense there’s something more here, connected to wider questions, and I feel the same. I think if we’ll manage to put a finger on it we can learn a lot. I guess we’ll all keep trying and see what comes up…
Adding, if it wasn’t clear, that personally I’m really sad and mad at what autistics go through in our current society. It’s painful, unreasonable and unfair. The time and effort I spend just trying to protect my kid from well meaning professionals and others – it’s crazy, draining, and makes me think a lot what exactly is going on here.
Which is why your question is so very good, and also brave. I wish the answer was all nice, but it probabely isn’t. But I do think the world is changing for the better.
Thank you for asking such an interesting question. Well, really 2 questions. I hope it’s ok that I answer them separately.
For the first question, “what you think about autism,” I have to say that I am still thinking about it alot. For many years, I knew nothing except for the horrible messages of some large parent organizations. As a disabled person myself, I knew that talking about other disabled people in that horrible way was wrong, but I didn’t have any direct information from Autistic people. Then I was in Boston a few years ago and met Shain, who was my first Autistic friend. Shain introduced me to many Autisic peoples’ blogs. I started reading the blogs and the book Loud Hands.
Then last June I met Ibby, Zach and Alyssa. We spent alot of time together at a conference and became friends. They showed me how cool it is to be Autistic. Alyssa and I played word games with her favorite word “ladle”. Zach showed me how to understand really hard concepts by explaining them to me in ways that I could understand. And Ibby taught me about emotions and compassion. They all were completely different than what I expected Autistic people to be like. So even though I’ve only met a few Autistic people, I read alot, like your blog, and am trying to learn more everyday.
For your second question “why wasted time is spent being against a way of thinking and being”. I think about this alot because I love history and I read alot about the histories of people with different disabilities. One common thread is that people who are different always face discrimination. Sometimes that means taking away their rights, giving them inferior services (like education), putting them in institutions, and lots of other really awful stuff. There are some books about this if you are interested.
I am older than your parents and I have been disabled all my life. That whole time people have fought against disabled people’s way of thinking and being. It was important to me to find people who love and accept me just as I am. And also to find people who will fight back against these injustices.
I am really glad you asked these questions. I learn alot from you and other Autistic folks – who also ask me questions all the time.
Dear Emma, its wonderful to see how you grow into a curious person. Let me tell how valuable you are Not just to Ariane, but for many others like myself. Your curiosity enriches our world and makes it a better place. You wondering how people think and how to make their thoughts better in search for love actually makes me a better man. Thank God for putting such a wonderful light in your Heart. Because dear Emma, you aré that light. Curiosity is the sun that shines your mind. Thank you for making this world a better place for many.
The way I so often see it used, autism is a quick little diagnosis to describe a handful of “clinically significant” differences. It’s one word, it sums up a teeny tiny piece of a person, and provides an explanation for anything that might be seen as out of the ordinary (as in the story in which your mother wrote about being at the grocery store with you — she defended you, and informed the rude stranger that he was, in fact, being rude, but someone else might have just said, “she’s autistic,” and left it at that — something that I don’t at all condone.)
But to me, autism is a way of existing. Autism is a word that describes my incredible boyfriend. It’s a word that allowed him to finally understand why he wasn’t like so many other people. It’s something that changes the way stimuli are received, and allows for a new and different understanding of the world. And that is why I am right with you, Emma, in not understanding why we waste so much time trying to change it. How much more beautiful could the world be if we took a step back and, instead of avoiding differences, integrated differences in such a way that we can understand one another more clearly, and look at our world in a new light? It makes absolutely no sense to me that we reduce a person to just a diagnosis. As I said, my boyfriend can be described using “autism.” But that tells you almost nothing about who he is as a person. It tells you that he’s different from what is considered “typical,” and it might help you understand some things that he does, but it doesn’t describe his compassion, his talent, the way he brings light into every life he touches. There is no way any of those things could be isolated and separated from autism. I can’t find the parts of him that are autism and the parts that aren’t. It’s an integral part of him; it just isn’t the only part.
I hate the idea of forcing someone to conform to standards that don’t make sense to them. It’s a waste of time that we force so many people on the spectrum to act “typical” when there is nothing wrong with who they are as an “atypical” person.
Note: I am very worried that this is going to come across as me viewing autism negatively or saying that it’s irrelevant. I just want to say that none of that is my intention and if it comes across in that way, I am very sorry.
Emma, here is my simple answer to your question about “why wasted time is spent being against a way of thinking and being.”
Because most people are idiots.
Myself included. “idiots” is merely another label, or course, and as such, it is ultimately just another word on a very long list of categorizations intended to “other.”
I will now (idiotically) expound on my statement, attempting to use that label (idiotically) to describe that same label in some sort of useful (yet idiotic) manner–which I have (idiotically) labeled ISD: Idiot Spectrum Disorder.
Idiot Spectrum Disorder is a devastating condition that affects 80-90% of the human population. At this time, there is no precisely known cause of ISD, nor is there any reliable cure. Genetic predisposition, cultural conditioning and environmental toxins may all play a role in this tragic condition, but the best we can do now is analyze the symptoms and attempt to categorize the various manifestations of idiocy:
There are many subcategories of idiots on the spectrum.
“Delusional idiots” are ego-based consciousness forms who believe themselves to be intelligent (“know what’s what”). This presupposition leads to many dangerous and/or harmful conclusions. They think they “know what’s best” for themselves and others. They marshal “facts” and “logic” to support their analysis and conclusions, even though the “facts” are unsupported by a thorough understanding of whatever issue is being examined, and their “logic” is self-supported by the same delusional thinking. They will argue, intimidate and bully those they wish to convince of their “correctness” (inluding everyone) because they are so convinced that their opinions are the “truth” and therefore others will suffer greatly if they don’t comply with their directives. Delusional idiots can be very dangerous because they have also a delusional sense of superiority fueled by the misperception of their not-so-intelligent intelligence. While often classified as “high-functioning” (usually self-diagnosed), psychopaths and fascist leaders are prime examples of delusional idiots at the most extreme range of the spectrum.
NOTE: I count myself primarily in the “delusional idiot” subcategory, substantiated by data indicating that I have thus far been unable to convince more than 1% of those I have come in contact with that I am even half as intelligent as I think I am.
“Culturally conditioned idiots” are those who identify themselves as “members” of a “society,” which can be further (and endlessly) subdivided according to nationalistic identification, ethnic or racial groups, religious affiliations, political agendas, or an ingrained suspicion and hatred of anyone who “just doesn’t seem right” and meet the necessary requirements for clan membership. These idiots can be identified by symptoms including: inordinate respect and even fondness of authority and authoritarian symbols, groupthink, social climbing, snark, gossip, assuming their “proper” roles and “position” within the society, compliance, blind obedience, flag-waving, jingoism, patriotic fervor regardless of any wrongdoing of their society (“my country, right or wrong!”), unquestioning acceptance of patently ridiculous mythological explanations of observable conditions, reliance on rules and dogma as a substitute for personal integrity and ethical morality, pronounced lack of empathy and compassion for “outsiders” or those marginalized by their society, unwillingness to entertain thoughts, opinions and feelings that do not comply with the accepted group tenets, mob mentality, genocide, homicide, torture, lynching, playground bullying, and passionate constituency of pundits and TV/radio talk programs, partially those of the “call-in” variety.
“CCIs” typically get their marching orders from delusional idiots.
“Apathetic Idiots,” also known as “couch potatoes,” comprise the “low-functioning” subcategory of ISD. They often tend to have co-morbid diagnoses of CCI, yet are far less threatening because they lack the ambition, energy and initiative to actively comply with the combative directives of DIs or CCIs. AIs tend toward LCD (Lowest Common Denominator) lifestyles that require the least amount of effort on their part, in terms of physical labor, mental analysis and ethical behavior. If any actions suggested by DIs or CCIs interfere with self-interested predilections, they will typically be ignored, disregarded, or occasionally acknowledged with stock phrases such as: “Absolutely. I’ll get to that right after Duck Dynasty.”
Interestingly, many, if not the majority of individuals (italics emphasized) diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) fail to exhibit symptoms of ISD, even though the label Idiot was once used as medical term defining those who were unable to effectively express themselves through spoken or written language.
So my dearest Emma, that’s my answer to the “why” question. As to what I think about autism: I believe it is a higher form of intelligence, and likely the next phase of human evolution. I think you are the smartest, kindest, and most wise person it has ever been my privilege to know and love.
You’re a cool dad.
🙂 I love being a dad. I have 2 amazing children and an amazing wife. I’m a lucky guy.
I don’t know either. I guess people’s inability to see beyond appearances and what they are used to expect. Detachment. Professionals not knowing enough. Maybe, above all, it’s just easier and more straightforward to “manage and train” then take time and patience to understand and communicate in a different manner 😦 . What do I think about autism? I think it changes ways of communication but the person is the same as we all are.
Hey Emma! I’ve been thinking about this for a few days. I think it comes out of fear. People have an innate tendency to shy away from, and be afraid of, that which they don’t know. The majority of people don’t GET autism. So, their conclusion is twofold. One, that if the majority of people aren’t autistic, it must be a not so great thing, and autistics would be luckier if they were typical. And, they conclude that since they don’t understand it, it can’t possibly be an okay or even good thing. Me, I disagree with those conclusions, and I’m blessed to work with many others who GET it also. But people are scared. And ignorant.
I have Aspergers. But this would be the first time I’ve actually had to think about my thoughts on Autism. My version of it is a way of perceiving the world. When I was a child my memory was eidetic, but very many things in the world change constantly. Particularly people, who are inconsistent. It didn’t seem worthwhile to put so much effort into learning them when they would change the next day.
So I ignored people and focused on learning things worth learning; things that once learned would keep on being true for all time and were concrete enough to be building blocks I could frame my mind around. Whether other autistics like science for the same reason, I’ve no idea. But I detested learning something only to have to re-learn it the next day and keep making addendums and appendices to say “Actually this is only the way they’ve behaved today. Doing the exact same thing tomorrow will make them indifferent or angry”.
I’ve never discussed if anyone else has social difficulties for the same reason; consciously choosing to write off paying attention to people’s behaviour as it seemed to consist of useless and self indulgent activities. It seems to be you have to focus everything on humanity and its interactions and be NT.
Second part, Why wasted time is spent being against a way of thinking and being.
It isn’t wasted time for them. For an NT, social dominance is of vital importance to their self identity. It’s the game they play all day long, who’s in and who’s out, who’s their friend and who they can bully safely because they won’t fight back. Choosing who is an outcast is an act of power, and asserting that power makes you dominant in your social circle.
When they point autistics out as different, it makes categories of Them and Us. There’s a huge, huge biological drive making people (females particularly) want to be a part of the Us. Fitting in is safe. Being excluded can get you beaten, raped and killed. From an evolutionary standpoint, they make their own position in the herd more secure by forcing weaker members to the edge. It means that if predators come along, the ones on the edge will be attacked, not the ones safe in the center.
Also they are using hating you to set an example to other members of the herd not to cross them. The more viciously they attack you, the less willing anyone will be to stand up to them. It’s like the mafia – you do not get involved, because they are willing to go to lengths of maimings and killing over trivial issues. NT girls will torment and humiliate an autistic girl as a way of warning their friends what could happen to them if they don’t follow their lead.
So that’s it in a nutshell – it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them and what they hope to gain. Your suffering is just an incidental byproduct.
Simple, dear (meant with concern and a measure of affection)
People like you and I have our minds focused upon truth. It means we see the real, and we are literal in thought and being. It is not bad to be as we are, for it was not our choice to be so.
Most people, however, have their minds focused upon power. This means that they seek to have dominion over everything. Because of this, they are not literal, but magical – in that they believe that they can control everything they see and know of – and therefore, the ‘truth’ is whatever they wish it to be. In fact, for many of them, the mere fact that they wish a matter to BE so is what Makes it so.
I hope this makes sense to you. Many people have written on this matter, and most of them do better than I do. An example would be a book by George Orwell called 1984
The tablet played up again… Stinks…
The line I’m reminded of from that book is “2 + 2 = 5″. It means ” the truth is what I say it is (reality is meaningless to those who center their lives around power) and that strictly because I said it was true.”
There is much else in that book that relates to how power tends to assail truth, but it would be best to form your own understanding – in your own words, or perhaps in pictures if you think that way. I say that because I often think in pictures, for words – my second language – often are inadequate.
If you’re not inclined toward ‘a stuffy old deceased Englishman’ ( attempt to be funny!) you could try something ‘on-line’ – http://www.slowginonline.com. There is quite a lot there, and I am working on more as my health permits.
There is one line, however, that fits in with Orwell’s book: “those in authority define truth.”. It took a very long time for me to see that, along with much else.
I hope you are well, and do well.